Should Authors Rate Their Own Books In Social Media?

I’m a frequent visitor to Goodreads. Lately I’ve noticed a sharp increase in authors rating their own books (with the maximum rating). It’s a strange phenomenon, in my opinion. How do you feel about it? Should authors rate their own books? Is it a useful publicity tool or rigging the system? Does one vote really make that much difference, either way? Am I reading too much into a tongue-in-cheek gesture?



Filed under Audience Participation

10 responses to “Should Authors Rate Their Own Books In Social Media?

  1. I have mixed feelings about this…

    On the one hand, an author is a person who has read the book and, as such, should have free reign to rate that book on sites like GoodReads. Sure, okay.

    On the other hand, if the book’s very new and the author’s five-star rating is the only rating, it creates a deceptively high rating.

    On the OTHER HAND (probably the most important hand), anyone using GoodReads ratings to make decisions about what books to read should use their judgment about those ratings. If a book has four stars but has only been rated by 2 people (possibly including the author’s 5-star review), is that as strong a recommendation as a book that has four stars and has been rated by 1,056 people? I’d say no. Even if the author hasn’t rated her own book, I’d say the second book has the higher recommendation.

    And honestly, looking at much of the rating that goes on at sites like GoodReads and Amazon, I really take the ratings with a huge grain of salt. And since I’m already taking the ratings with a grain of salt, I guess I don’t care if the author wants to give all his books a five-star rating!

  2. Good point about the ratings often being deceptive. If Amazon’s taught us anything, it’s that reviews are easily manipulated. Or, if not manipulated, highly personal. Just look at books that are commonly read in schools – the number of disgruntled students giving one or two stars can easily throw ratings off. Still, even when I know that, I can’t help but judge the book a little based on the rating. I’m working on it. 🙂

    • Argggh, one of my pet peeves is people giving books low ratings on Amazon because of things like the book took too long to get to them. One person gave Sid Fleischman’s excellent book THE TROUBLE BEGINS AT EIGHT one star because Amazon had recommended it to him and he didn’t realize it was a children’s/teen book. *headdesk*

      So that is why I really seriously take Amazon reviews with a grain of salt. However, even for me, it’s hard to resist an automatic reaction when I see that visual of three stars or two stars (or five stars) and it probably colors my perception of the book even though I know to take these things into account!

  3. I think it’s tacky on the author’s part.

  4. Hi! I followed the link from 100 Scope Notes here. Great question! It’s a double edged sword. I understand the desire for authors to promote their work. Indeed, many don’t get the promotional support they need for their books to succeed and many worthy books go underappreciated each year. So I’m sympathetic.

    That said, personally, I don’t pay much attention to the numbers of stars any book I read or am interested in reading gets. At best, I might take a glance and occasionally, if I’m ambivalent about a book, I might read other reviews more closely. The previous commenters make good points about the ease with which the ratings can be skewed.

    My comments are turning into a blog post, so I’ll stop. If I do turn my thoughts into a post, I will link back to yours. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts.


  5. Parker Peevyhouse

    There’s already enough self-promotion on the web. Rating your own book seems a bit egotistical.

    This reminds me of a galley I got of a recent lead title–the cover was plastered with quotes about the great quality and importance of the book. All of the quotes were attributed to employees of the publishing compnay. (“Stunning!”–Joe Smith, Art Director). I thought it was so hilarious!

  6. I’d be far too self-conscious to rate my own book. That just seems weird.

  7. Sometimes you need to seed the ratings to get participation. It doesn’t bother me at all; I expect it.

  8. I would expect an author to promote their book and feel strongly about its strength/value … but the author shouldn’t be the first and only vote for the book.

    Like Brenda, I really don’t rely on the stars or ratings … I’m always looking to see if any of the reviewers I trust have read and reviewed it. Don’t look at their stars, just their content.

  9. I’ve played with the idea of rating my own book, but I’ve always managed to talk myself out of it. I mean, I LOVE my book (Keep Your Ear on the Ball, Tilbury, 2007), and I KNOW it has a lot of merit, but rating it on amazon seems kind of pathetic. Plugging it here… slightly less pathetic.

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