In exactly one week, advance reader copies of my debut novel, Beasts of Burdin, are going to be sent out to book reviewers. That means people who read books for a living, or at least a very passionate hobby, are going to be flipping through the pages of something I created. Me. A high school dropout who manages a pizza place. Damn. So yeah, I’m scared shitless. This seems like a good time to talk about my personal ratings system and what I’m expecting from the whole reviewing process.
I rate my books on a five star scale and everything I’ve read I’ve rated on Goodreads if you’re curious as to my tastes in books. (You shouldn’t be. I have awful taste. Just kidding. I read awesome books, usually) If I start a book and its just something I can’t get in to by no fault of its own I don’t rate it. If I step out of my comfort zone and don’t like it, it’s not the books fault, it’s mine.
*1 Star – I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone. Not only can I not think of anything nice to say, I can only think of terrible things so I’m just going to keep mouth mouth shut and let this one, lonely star speak for itself.
**2 Stars – It could have been better, but I’m not pissed for having stuck with it. It wasn’t great, but it had enjoyable aspects.
***3 Stars – This book was completely average and I don’t mean that in a bad way. There is nothing wrong with average. It just means I enjoyed it as much as I would a normal book. A Knight’s Tale is an average movie and I will sit down and watch it every time it’s on TV.
****4 Stars – Now were cooking with something slightly more combustible. Four stars means I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it to a friend in need. Four star books have something that really makes them stick out from the crowd.
*****5 – Holy shit I can’t believe I just read that. Best. Book. Ever. That’s my five star. My favorite books of all time fall into five star territory. It’s where the best of the best reside.
That’s not how everyone feels, but it’s a system that works for me. Now, what does all this mean for Burdin? Am I going to be hurt if someone rates Burdin one star? Fucking of course. I worked hard on this book and it means a lot to me. Am I going to be mad at a reviewer for giving it one star? Fucking of course not. People have opinions and Burdin isn’t for everyone. Neither is anything. Ever. There is no one media that all human beings agree on. I even know one guy who doesn’t like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. One guy is all that stands between RHCP and universal love.*
Am I going to jump up and down if someone rates it five stars? Damn straight I will. I worked hard on this book and it means a lot to me. If someone else appreciates my story that much I will be honored. I will also be honored by every single reviewer who writes one word, good or bad, about my book. They took the time from their life to swim around one of the many stories in my head and that means a lot to me. Reviewers: I thank you, for better or worse.
I don’t expect to change the world with Beasts of Burdin. You’re not going to change your religion or have some life changing epiphany about how the world works. If I did my job right you will close the book and say to yourself, “Huh, that was fun” and that’s all I’m aiming for. If that means one, three, or five stars, so be it. I’m just happy someone read it.
*Not actually proven, just a theory I’ve been working on.