Being a reader and a writer my opinion started off mixed. Even my gut reaction couldn’t make up its mind! First, no. Then, yes. And then back to no and so on.
However, after some thought, and some searching through book reviews on Goodreads, I noticed more and more how authors rate their own books. Probably unsurprisingly, they rate their writing five stars.
It seemed weird and a bit tacky. It started to bug me. Why would an author give his novel anything less than five stars? Now, with books that contain thousands of reviews, one rating may be mitigated. But what about novels with less ratings? How can readers take reviews and ratings seriously, if authors are able to review their own work?
Authors can’t be impartial when it comes to their work. They’ve slaved over their novel. Worked their butts off to make their book happen. Whenever I see that an author has rated his own work, I feel turned off. The writer loses credibility to me, regardless of how interested I’d initially been in the book’s premise. I ask myself, “Did the author rate his own novel because he thinks his writing is the best out there, or because he’s desperate to make his book look good?”
Most writers don’t have the luxury of writing full time and living solely off their writing. Most have to work very hard to get their books noticed, and that’s after they’ve written, revised, been beta read, rewritten, and edited some more. Writers deserve breaks, especially when they’ve got a fantastic book on their hands. But nearly every writer will tell readers their book is the next big thing—it’s all about self-promotion and many authors—most people—aren’t good judges of themselves.
For myself, my work has had plot holes and unrealistic character reactions that would have gone unnoticed if my writing hadn’t been workshopped. I edit novels, and most times, there are significant flaws with those books. This all occurs before being published, but the principle remains the same. Authors are too close to their own work. They see their work through rose-colored glasses, and while those glasses may be flattering, they’re not always honest.
What do you think? Should authors rate their own books?
(Photo courtesy of Zach Dischner.)