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Book Blogging 101 - Should I set up a Rating System?

Spawned from the Big Sis, Little Blog program, Book Blogging 101 was born. Do you have a question? Leave it in the comments section or email me parajunkee at gmail dot com

Q. Should I Set up a Rating System?

To answer this question, Parajunkee's View has brought in back-up. Please welcome to PJV my BBB (Best Blogger Buddy) Emily from What Book is That?  If you like this post, please support her blog by becoming a follower.

Book Blogging 101: Establishing a Rating System

One of the ways to make your blog unique is through the rating system you use with each book you review.  There isn't a set or expected way to rate books, but here are some common ways to do it:

-Assign a letter grade to the book (this is the one I use)

-Star system (5 being the best, 1 being the worst.) Many people personalize the graphic they use to reflect their blog design or the theme of their blog.  I've seen skulls, zombies, bats, butterflies, cupcakes, hearts, mushrooms, you name it.

-Math! Some people use fractions to express their opinion of a book (out of five, out of ten, etc.) I've seen bloggers who rate a book across a certain number of categories, tally the scores, and figure a percentage!

-Nothing! Some people opt out of a rating system entirely.

That's all well and good, but, you might be asking, who cares? Why should I bother with a rating system? Isn't that just more work?

Well...yes and no.  Sure, it's an added element to put in your reviews, and if you tend to free-form your reviews and just write what you think when you think it, then quantifying your opinions like this will be different from what you're doing now. 

On the other hand, and here's the part where I reveal a secret to all of you, I (and I'm sure I'm not alone on this one) tend to skim reviews.  I read the title and author and, if it's a book I've read or am interested in finding out more about, I check for the "last word" to find out whether or not the blogger liked the book.  From there, I decide whether I want to read the whole thing.  I'll be honest, having ratings that are graphically displayed or easy to understand (a letter grade, numerical score, or pictoral rating) are a lot more likely to grab my attention and make me want to read the entire review.  From there, it's a hop, skip and a jump away from me subscribing to your blog and becoming a regular reader and commenter.

Does it matter whether the review is positive or negative? Honestly, not so much.  If I LOVED a book and I see in my skim of another review that the blogger gave it one star out of ten, I'm going to read that review and see where the difference of opinion lies.  If I hated a book and someone else loved it, there's room for discussion there too.  Bottom line: having a visible, visual rating system is a way to grab attention for your reviews.

What rating system you're going to use is a personal decision, but above all else, be consistent.  I decided to use letter grades because they're kind of a universal way to express either success or failure, but you can use anything you want.  Just pick it, stick to it, and use it consistently, and your readers will be able to tell easily whether you liked the book you're reviewing or not.

Show off your raters...or post a follow-up. Leave the link here.


Lynette said...

I'm old school. I just use a grade system. It's the high school dork in me! LOL!

My 5 Monkeys(Julie) said...

great topic and i do the 1-5 but there are times I would like to rate it abc..

Larissa said...

Great post! I have to agree with everything that has been said... I do also skim reviews and having a rating for the book, does help in making me read it or not...


Cleverly Inked said...

Odd one out here...Great topic. I choose not to do it.

Stella (Ex Libris) said...

Great post Emily, and I completely agree with you! I find a rating system indispensable, because just like you, at first glimpse that's what I look for and then decide whether I will read the review in detail or just skim through it.

Twimom227 said...

Thanks for the great ideas. I put a link above to my rating scale - I do stars (in my case they are "seastars." I use my scale each time to really try and indicate how I feel about the book. I too glance at the rating before I read the review, so I want to make sure my rating reflects my feelings and the review.

I just wrote a post about using a rating system on Monday... Here is the link if you are interested:


April (BooksandWine) said...

See, I don't use a rating scale. I can't really boil down my feelings about a book to stars or whatever, because there are so many factors. And honestly, when I see the pictures I skim the review too, however, I read the reviews without pictures, because I want to see their reaction. I don't really subscribe to blogs I don't want to read so rarely have the skimming problem, I guess you could say.

Mama Hen said...

As a teacher I use the good old abc and 123 rating! You have a new follower! Come and visit Mama's Little Chick.

Mama Hen

Mel said...

I have been thinking about this a lot lately. For a long time I have use Goodreads 1-5 rating system, but lately I have been thinking about revising that. The Goodreads system rates how well I liked the book, and that is very much a matter of personal taste. I would like to add a rating to my reviews that takes into account the quality of the book. I have run into a couple of books where I didn't like it for personal reasons, but it was exceptionally well written. I have always liked how VOYA magazine has listed their reviews with a Quality rating and a Popularity rating, and thought that was very useful. I, too, sometimes skim reviews, so I do like to see a rating system.

Erika said...

Can you tell me more about the Big Sis Little Blogger program? I keep hearing good things about it.

I have mixed feelings on rating systems. I see the pros and con in them though! Thanks for talking about it!

Missie said...

Do you ever run out of super cool ideas?! You're awesome! Thanks

Nikki-ann said...

I don't rate books I review, but I hadn't really thought to do so. I'll give it some thought now, thanks :)

Anonymous said...

When reading a review I definitely look at the rating. Sometimes reviews are not clear. If I see 4 stars or a B as the rating I get that the reviewer liked it clear and simple.

Stephanie G

Lyndsey said...

I use my own system. Heaven (for good books), Hell (for bad) and Purgatory (indifferent to)...hence the name of my blog lol.

Emily said...

Thanks for the good vibes everyone!

Lyndsey- I think that's the first time I've seen that particular rating system. Very unique!

Wings said...

Hey hun, i haven't been over to your neck of the woods in a while, how you been?

hehe, thanks for making me feel better...i skim reviews all the time, especially ones that I've already read on other sites or if i've already bought the book. I like when people have a rating system.

Mine is just simple and it's based on what I felt at the time...I never really saw it as more work, just stick a number out of five hehe.

Honestly...i prefer ratings on reviews...because it kind of concretes the opinion for me.

btw you have an award at my blog

MamaKitty said...

I'm big on ratings. Sometimes I'm too busy to read the reviews (I hate being that busy!) and having a number/letter/symbol grade on it makes it easier for me.

I just moved my rating system from my sidebar to it's very own page. I'm trying to make my blog more professional & pretty (which is a reason I'm so thankful for the Blogging 101 posts).

Steph said...

I am already a follower. Thanks for taking this on. Come on over:Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust

Anonymous said...

I wish I'd seen this a few weeks ago. I polled my readers to see if I should institute ratings I had a couple people actually say no, which surprised me. I wound up adding ratings, just so you know. :)

Fiction Fool said...

As a complete newbie to the blogging world, I am very grateful for your sage advice. It's been extremely helpful!

My anxious life said...

So many Blogging 101 posts! I will be spending all of today going through these posts!


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