Having done a couple of reviews under my new system, I’ve seen a few issues with it that have bothered me and I need to figure out a way to tweak it to work better. I do think it does what I intended in the sense that the final rating is more than just a blanket, subjective opinion. It is a result of a more thought out analysis based on what I consider important in a book. At the same time, I feel like any book I attempt to rate under this system is going to hit an SPA of 3 or very close. That kind of defeats the purpose. At least from one side.
One of the things that I am liking about the new system is that it forces me to break down different aspects of a book and look at those aspects individually. I think this helps me be able to really identify what I liked and didn’t like about a book and why, which is something I’ve struggled to articulate at times. At the same time, that separation has made it kind of difficult for me to actually get some of my thoughts written out because it may not fit specifically in an area or I feel like that thought applies to or ties into more than one area and I end up repeating myself. I can also easily see where I just don’t have anything to say one way or another about a particular area, so that section gets neglected.
That separation also made it incredibly difficult when I wrote the review of an individual book to turn that into a solid, concise review that I could then post on Goodreads or Amazon. I did rethink that as I was working on the last review. I ended up turning the Personal Opinion section into more of an overview of the entire book regardless of what I’d written in the other sections so that may have solved that issue.
I have considered just listing the sections with a number rating for each and a single summary for the whole, maybe under that Personal Opinion section, but I’m not certain I won’t lose out on some of what these sections are doing for me. Maybe some sort of a blend of the two where I write something if I feel needs to be noted or highlighted?
My biggest issue though, is the final SPA rating. The way I’ve set this up, it doesn’t actually represent my overall, final opinion of what I read. Not exactly. Especially not if every book is going to hit around the 3 mark. I honestly expected that my averages would still fall in the range, or very closely to that, of my original rating scale, but with a slightly more honest way of coming up with that rating. Part of the issue is that every section, as it stands now, is weighted equally and I don’t know that it deserves it. I currently have 10 sections I am evaluating, so… the cover rating for example, holds the same weight as the Plot or Believably sections. For me, the cover isn’t as important a factor to me when it comes to liking a book or not. I think it is worth talking about, but it shouldn’t have a huge impact on the final rating.
The Peeve Factor section is one that I find incredibly important when a book pushes my buttons. But if a book doesn’t have any of those issues for me, does it deserve a 5 star rating that is weighted equally to the other sections when in the end I really wasn’t a huge fan of the book? Or that I didn’t feel like it played a part one way or another?
Do I pick and choose the sections that go into the SPA but still give separate ratings for those other sections as a kind of additional rating, say for the cover? Do I get more complicated and do some sort of weighting system? The last thing I want to do is turn this process into something so convoluted that it takes a master’s level math degree to figure out.
I think that for the most part, I like what I’ve got going, but it still needs some adjusting. I’m just not certain how I want or need to adjust it. Thoughts and suggestions more than welcome!