I’m delighted to welcome to the blog, author Rita Brassington. Rita’s debut novel was published in November 2015 and has been described in HEAT magazine as a ‘Top-notch domestic thriller’.
The Power of the Star Rating
Before TripAdvisor, or even the internet, you booked a hotel and hoped for the best. The star rating was the quality standard, budget or boutique. Fast-forward and the golden five-point rating is on everything, handing power to the consumer, rightly or wrongly. I phone my broadband provider? I get a text message asking me to rate my customer satisfaction, one to five stars. ‘How satisfied were you with your service today?’ From electricity to movies to books, everyone has an opinion, and they are actively encouraged to provide it. And do I listen to the opinions of people I’ve never met? Absolutely.
Whether it’s book reviews or holiday recommendations, it’s a powerful tool in weeding out the real stars from the more tainted ones. But is it such a good thing? A few bad reviews on Goodreads and good authors could feel the unnecessary need to publicly defend themselves to the world. That’s not to say there isn’t room for constructive criticism too.
I get it. Personal recommendation counts for so much and is a vital tool, but it also needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, whatever the slant of the review is. After all, cumulative star ratings are just statistics that might not stand up to scrutiny when they’re dissected for what they truly are, someone’s personal opinion. On the other hand, non-stop five star reviews from family and friends of a debut author will eventually fall down when put in front of a ‘real’ audience (unless you’re a literary genius). Critical reviews help the reader too, and some might choose to buy a book based on those negative critiques, too see if they agree.
I’ve had one star reviews. I think most authors have. It’s a hard pill to swallow when you first read one, your hard work publicly berated by a few lines of someone else’s opinion, but then I’ve learnt valuable lessons from the words of others. If I was only seeking praise, I never would have let my book loose on the world. I’d be kidding myself if I thought everyone would like The Good Kind of Bad, but if I can learn lessons for the next book, understand the world of the story outside my head and in someone else’s, well, that’s insight I could never achieve on my own. It boils down to how constructive that constructive criticism really is. ‘This is shit,’ will only ever make me cry*.
(*not real tears)
I have a thick skin, and I won’t deny there’ll always be a little prick on the surface, possibly a little blood now and again, but not a whole limb chopped off if I read a critical review. I don’t like every book I’ve ever read, I’ve not finished every book either, but if I’ve not finished reading, I can’t possibly be qualified enough to give it one star. I will never know what happened. Did the story suddenly become the best book I’ve never read? I’ll never know. I’m not qualified enough to judge a book by its cover and first few pages.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but then, no one said you had to listen to it, good or bad. After all, I’d much rather cause a reaction in someone than none at all.
About the book:
Secrets don’t stay secret for long…
She spent her whole life being the perfect daughter, the perfect girlfriend, and was all ready to become the perfect wife.
But after ditching her fiancé at the altar and escaping to Chicago, she marries smouldering stranger Joe Petrozzi three weeks after meeting him in abar. At least this time, there’s no chance of cold feet.
Married life starts out great: there’s the new job, a gorgeous, enigmatic husband and money’s not an issue.
So what if she’s kept a few secrets from Joe – like where all her money came from. Joe’s been keeping secrets from her, too.
But his might just get her killed.
About the author:
Rita Brassington grew up in Staffordshire, UK, before studying at UCLan, Durham University and the Maastricht Centre for Transatlantic Studies, The Netherlands. She currently works in the field of forensics and also loves cocktails, and cake. Preferably together.