A few days ago, I was looking through reviews on Goodreads for a book I was reading (I like reading reviews for books as I read them), and I noticed that the book’s author had given it a star rating. Five stars, of course. It seemed a bit weird, but I didn’t really give it any more thought.
Until I was reading reviews for another book, and the author for that one had done the same.
And then another.
Maybe it’s being weird, but this bugged me. It just didn’t seem right that the author of the book was allowed to give it a rating and have it counted into their overall star rating. Obviously, they’re going to give their book five out of five stars, and for some books, they have so many ratings that the overall affect is probably fairly minimal. But it’s still being factored in, and something about that just doesn’t seem right.
We already know that the author thinks their book is good. If they didn’t, it wouldn’t have gotten published, and they wouldn’t have a book to review. And therein lies a problem: they can’t be impartial. They’ve slaved over this book, worked their behinds off to make it happen. They’re rating their effort and work, not necessarily the book.
If I were to do something like that in my field of work, I’d end up in the middle of an ethics debate. It’s comparing apples and oranges, and it’s not an ethics issue unless the author is making fake accounts to rate their book. But it still seems weird.
And it looks weird too, if I’m being honest. Whenever I see these author ratings, regardless of what I thought of the book, I can’t help but lose some respect for that author. I automatically assume they’re arrogant, because why else would they have the audacity to rate their own book. And if I haven’t read the book already, it turns me off of picking it up. Did the author rate their own book because they’re desperate for their book to look good, or because they think the wrote the best book out there?
I get that you’re proud, I know that you worked hard. But so do many other people. Doctors can’t give themselves glowing reviews, retail stores don’t promote employees just because the employee thinks they’re wonderful, a pizza place doesn’t get business because the owner thinks it’s the best place in town. They let their work or their product speak for them. So why shouldn’t it be the same for a book?
There are lots of ways to toot your own horn without giving yourself a perfect rating on a book. And there are so many people out there who would be willing to read and review your book, and give you an impartial, honest review.
Maybe I’m just being fussy and judge-y. But this has been irking me for a few days now, and I wanted to throw it out into the blogosphere and see what others thought about this. So please let me know what you think about this in the comments below!