Can Everton Jones find out how his father stole Emperor Bokassa’s diamonds and, more importantly, where he hid them; before the world and his brother get there first?
Click on the picture link in the sidebar to read an extract of my first novel, which was published by Paradise Press in August 2012.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Stars in their eyes.

Authonomy has star-ratings now. And, apparently, they do carry some weight. In particular, they count towards the weekly chart. On returning to promoting my book, I went laboriously through my old reviews and rated every one. In return, I got a good number of ratings back in a short time and even rode up almost to the top of the weekly chart for a brief moment of glory!

Most books seem to be rated at four stars, even extremely good ones and extremely bad ones. Which is a bit odd, until you look carefully at the rules and think about how people will inevitably use them. Authonomy has given this some thought too but, as might have been expected, have not considered everything. Their concern seems to be that, because the star-rating is secret, users will seek to abuse it either by one-starring every book except their own, or six-starring books to encourage the author to help their book in some way (backing or starring in return). So they say that consistently rating at the extremes of the range will lead to a single star being upgraded to a three and a six star rating being downgraded to a four. This doesn’t take the venal practices of many authonomites fully into account.

Firstly, what if I tell someone I’ve given them six stars but then secretively only give them four (or even one)? Then consider that we tend only to review and star work which we like, and so would naturally be giving high ratings anyway? I’m currently only backing work I expect to rise a long way, so these will naturally be rated with six stars. If I continue doing this, I’m actually hurting the books’ star-ratings since authonomy will downgrade my six to a four. The four that most books seem to be rated at. Perhaps that’s why?

I couldn’t resist the temptation, during my starring expedition, to hurl a single star at authors who didn’t have the courtesy to read my book after I’d read theirs. Once I’d finished, and thought about the full implications of the rules, I went down to the graveyard and rated some long abandoned books with fours and fives, to make my distribution of stars more even, in the hope that the ones and sixes actually stuck. Incidentally, if I’ve actually told someone the rating I gave their book, that’s the actual rating I gave. If I rated their book poorly, then I didn’t tell them, in case they rated my own book down in response.

All in all, it now looks like a colossal waste of time and effort. The progression of a book is much more strongly determined by its longevity on good shelves than by its star rating. They are all the same anyhow.

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