Opinions on Blog Tour “3 or More” Review Stars
Somehow this idea came to me after reading this post about how to ruin a blog tour as well as the comments.
One thing a reviewer mentioned was that nearly all tour organizers now require 3 star ratings at minimum. If you rate below 3 stars, your review is asked to be held until after the tour is over. If this does happen, most tour organizers replace these legitimate and honest reviews for a promotional, unoriginal post.
I have a few thoughts on this, but first I want to share a comment from the above mentioned post that was from a publisher:
I think it’s a bit weird to give bloggers a set star limit. As long as they’re thorough in explaining their ranking, honestly, a 2-star could help as much as 4-star. It lets readers know what’s in the book. Authors want the *right* readers to find their book. If a reviewer hates the book because it had a happy ending, and says so, then readers who also hate that won’t pick it up, and readers who don’t mind that or like it will still pick it up. On a recent tour, one of our books was given a 3-star ranking on Amazon and Goodreads, and the review sounded really positive. It was a great review! I wouldn’t have wanted that person to hold it till after the tour just because she doesn’t hand out stars like candy.
I couldn’t agree more with this publisher rep. Sales come from authors’ books finding the right readers. For example, I’m not going to pick up a memoir about any war. Ever. It is just too much for me to handle on a personal level. But if it is more than just a memoir focused on the war, and it goes beyond just the war and is written with a style that incorporates more of the culture of the time and what I consider true elements of literature, then I think I would be the right reader for that book.
My opinion on the “3 stars or more” blog tour policy is that it is unfair to a reviewer. Oftentimes as reviewers we are asked to select 2 or 3 dates for the tour, and we typically wait weeks to find out our assigned date. We have schedules as well as the tour organizers, and we are holding dates for ONE post because most tour organizers require reviews to be the top post of the day. We are working our schedules completely around one review, and then to have the audacity to ask that it be postponed (sometimes up to an entire month!) is unfair. I kind of see it like a slap in the face: thanks, but no thanks! In the past I have declined tours because my dates were still up in the air and I didn’t want to run the risk of having a conflict because I had several review tours in one month.
This ratings policy also brings up a very ethical line that’s being straddled in the blogging world. We all state some form of the FTC policy on our blogs somewhere – sometimes in our review policy, a side button, or at the bottom of each review. If you are participating in a review tour, and you review the book at 2 stars, and are asked to take down or hold the review…I feel that means the author/publisher IS paying for reviews indirectly.
This is one reason I do not rate books on my blog. The other reason is sometimes I feel like changing the star ratings later, so I simply do a one-and-done on Amazon and Goodreads. I don’t want to be caught up contemplating changing a previously reviewed book’s star ratings. Instead, it is an official record in my mind on a sliding scale with my review content as an estimator. I feel this is more authentic than reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, etc. because of the feelings about changing star ratings….and because we probably all have come across or heard of at least one author boosting his/her star ratings in an unsavory manner on these sites.
This also leads to why I do not like to read hit mainstream new releases – the ones you see EVERYWHERE. I do not like the hype. I do not let myself get caught up in the OHMYGODTHISBOOKISSOINCREDIBLY AWESOMEYOUMUSTBUYITANDREADITNOW-ness because I know that for blog tours we can sometimes be too giving…and all you see is the “good” measured by the star rating instead of the actual review. The lesser star ratings never show their faces in the light of day during a review tour due to this policy based entirely on ratings instead of the quality of the review.