I love reading almost as much as I love writing and I do a ton of book reviews. Because I have been through the gauntlet of bringing an idea to life, I know that every book requires a great deal of work. When I do a book review, I keep this in the back of my mind, so even if I don’t particularly care for the story, I can focus on the positives.
I decided recently that I needed a system that would not only streamline my review process, but also help me to remain as objective as possible. I realize that ratings are ultimately reflective of the reader’s likes and dislikes, but sometimes I find myself in the position of reading a genre am not necessarily a fan of. I feel this system I am about to share helps me to rate the books fairly no matter the story or genre.
My rating system is set up for 10 points, but you can easily adjust it for a 5-star rating by cutting your score in half and rounding up or down. I have 10 criteria that I have listed on a worksheet, and each of those criteria are given a score of .1 to 1. They are:
Cover – Style/Color/Theme
Formatting – Justification/Flourishes/Spacing
Editing – Typos, punctuation, sentence structure
Blurb – Does it sufficiently describe the book? Or misleading?
POV – Is it consistent? Does it switch with sufficient transition?
Character Depth – Is character realistic?
Character Motivation – Does character’s motivation make sense? Is it explained?
Character Description – Is character description adequate? Can you visualize their qualities?
Plot – Does the plot move along, or does it lag in any areas? Any holes or things that don’t make sense?
Impression – Based on this book, would you purchase more from this author?
If you feel that this rating system will help you with your reviews, I have provided a copy of the document that I developed. Feel free to use it or pass it along to other reviewers who may find it helpful. I would like to add that I will only post reviews that I rate between 3 and 5 stars. Anything less than that would, more than likely, be the direct cause of poor editing or severe plot holes. I feel in these rare cases, the direct contact with the author with some constructive criticism is much more helpful to them than posting a negative review.
Authors truly appreciate feedback and I hope that you will consider leaving a review the next time you read a book that you feel others will like. I would love to hear from you if you feel this tool has been helpful, just make a comment here or shoot me an email. Happy reading (and reviewing) everyone!