When I read, my No. 1 consideration is story concept. Is this something I want to read about? Is this something that I find interesting and will entertain me? If so, then I will read the online reviews submitted by people who have already read the book. Do they like it? If so, what do they like about it? If they don’t like it, are the reasons sensible? Those reviews will lead me to my next step: yes or no.
I will then dive in – or start a queue of books TO read. I typically read one book at a time, and when possible, read one e-book per day (or at least a good chunk of one). I’ve also started listening to audio books while I’m on the track and trails, so I guess that means I’m absorbing two books at a time.
Next up, writing style and mechanics are important to me. Nothing irks me more than for there to be grammatical and/or spelling errors, or inconsistencies in a book. Or all of the above. It’s very distracting.
These are some things to keep in mind when perusing my reviews. Typically I will indicate if it’s a writing style or mechanics issue for a poor review, and thus you can weigh your opinion accordingly.
How do I select my star rating? Originally I was selecting it based on the 1-to-5 scale where 5 was reserved for what I considered outstanding, must-read material. If I rated a book a 4, it would imply that the book was what I considered really good, but perhaps it had a bunch of distracting errors or was a good read, but maybe not an exceptional over-the-top, deep thought-type storyline…or maybe just a “B” grade, but definitely worth reading. And so it went from there. Now, however, after discussing the Amazon rating scale with a fellow writer, a 5 implies that I recommend the book – from there, you can read through my review comments to pick out the innuendos, pros, cons, etc. A rating of 4 means I’m indifferent (but likely still recommend it); a 3 would probably mean it doesn’t really matter and is entirely up to you; and anything lower than that, I wouldn’t recommend.