I’m noticing a trend. No matter what site I go to, even the Foodnetwork sites, more people are leaving ratings but no review. I know that writing a review takes time and thought. But many times when I see a 3 or a 4 rating, I wonder what didn’t quite work for the person who left it. And many times, I can’t guess what fell flat.
I’m a huge fan of The Kitchen every Saturday morning. If it’s on, I”m usually watching it. And a chef shows how to make a dish, I go to print the recipe because it sounds good, and I see that it has a three star review. I click on the review, and there’s nothing but a rating. What does that mean? Does it mean something in the recipe didn’t work or that the reader doesn’t like poblano peppers? Or onions? I can never tell.
When I first started writing, more readers shared a review, and I read all of them. I might or might not agree, but the reviews made me think. Maybe I should make the pace faster, add more or less description, whatever the readers liked or disliked. I took it seriously. When I get three stars, I’m not sure what to think. What worked? What didn’t? Or was this a reader who gave mostly three stars unless the book wowed them? So, the reader liked it but wasn’t wowed.
Ratings are odd. People leave them on FoodNetwork when they haven’t even made the recipe. I’m not complaining. I’m sure happy to get any feedback from writers. But ratings give me a hint of how the reader felt. Reviews give me information and ideas to take into consideration. BUT, I know everyone’s busy these days. So I’m just happy when a reader takes the time to read my book and give me feedback. I’ve just been surprised how much feedback has changed so quickly. More ratings, lots fewer reviews. It’s been interesting.