Pay It Forward Indie Book Challenge — HOW I JUDGE!

As some of you will remember from one of my previous posts, for 2016 I challenged myself to read books that appear to be written by independents who, like myself, are also suffering from lack of reviews on Amazon. As a quick recap, my criteria for which books I plan to read this year is as follows:

  • Genre specific –supernatural, fantasy, science fiction-esque, horror, and/or adventure
  • Current rating –very few or no reviews at all
  • Number of publications –authors with no more than five titles under their belts
  • Cost –less than $10
  • Medium –mainly e-books

I just finished reading my first book for this challenge, and I realized that before I can write my review I need to establish how I plan to review these books.

Judging Star System

Amazon allows customers to rate products on a 1-5 star system. You cannot award half stars, though. Their scale is as follows:

5 stars – I love it
4 stars – I like it
3 stars – It’s okay
2 stars – Don’t like it
1 star – Hate it

For basic products, this rudimentary system works. For my purposes of reviewing and rating indie books, I would make these changes:

Rating-5-Stars5 starsBrilliant beyond words! Why don’t they have a publishing contract?!?!
4 starsNicely written and totally worth recommending to everyone
3 starsSome flaws but still a good story
2 starsInteresting ideas that didn’t totally come together
1 starForced myself through this crap so you don’t have to

Beyond the Star System

When I’m reviewing a book, I judge it based on several factors:

Overall Story – Did the plot makes sense and did the action of the plot cycle tie up all the loose ends?

Character Development – Were the characters dynamic or cardboard? Did their actions make sense to support the overall story?

Grammar and Technical Issues –Did the book go through a professional-level editing process, or did the writer just slap words on a page?

Distractions – Did the world of the novel keep me engaged, or did inconsistencies and badly explained plot devices take me out of the action?

As I review books this year, I’ll include my star ranking and my thoughts about these four factors. I’ll make sure to link back to this article on every review so people know how I’m judging.

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