Tuesday, 5 January 2010

The ratings system

For every one of the 100 books I hopefully read this year, I'm going to give a rating out of 10. But then I thought, if I'm going to give ratings, it would probably be best to offer some guidance as to what rating means what.

Let's get one thing clear straight away. I'm a tough marker. In my eyes, if you're going to use a system from 0-10 then, for god's sake, use the whole range. Take advantage of the options that are available. Not that critics who constantly award 7/10 or 8/10 for mediocrity annoy me or anything...

In my ratings, 5/10 is average, and if you're going to the trouble of coming up with an idea for a book, finding a publisher (and an agent as well, probably), writing thousands of words, going through the draft and editing process (hopefully), designing and approving an image for the cover, acknowledging all those who have assisted in the book's birth, putting the printing presses into action and then going through any promotional gubbins, then at least make it worth the reader's while.

I don't profess to know much about the publishing process, so the above is probably just a small illustration of the logistics and time involved in getting a book onto the shelves of a bookstore - or, increasingly, onto the shelves of a giant warehouse before it's sent out through the post by an internet retailer. All I'm saying is, try to make it worth the effort.

Anyway, throughout this year, my ratings will be based on the definitions below.

Rating definitions

0/10 - Not only a waste of time, a waste of the planet's resources

1/10 - An abuse of the invention of the printing press

2/10 - I wish the Luddites had won. Just awful

3/10 - Grim going

4/10 - Below average. Got through it, but didn't really enjoy it

5/10 - Average. Must do better

6/10 - Enjoyable, and passed the time

7/10 - Very enjoyable. A good book

8/10 - Very good. A real treat

9/10 - Unputdownable. Hard to find any areas for improvement

10/10 - Fan-bloody-tastic

I presume most of the books will fall between 3/10 and 8/10, but I'm not going to be afraid of using the outer extremities if I feel the need. Hopefully, there will be more in the higher range than the lower.

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