With so many self-published books on the market today, many new authors are wondering how to get those elusive five star ratings. We've all been through it at least once. We submitted our book for review expecting accolades and instead the review we got back was as tepid as warm soup. How did that happen? How could the book you poured your heart and soul into only rate three stars? Worse! How could it possibly have received only two? The following are just some of the reasons why your book failed to impress a reviewer.
1. You Did Your Own Cover
I don't care if you think your book cover looks fantastic. I can still tell you did it in Word or on CreateSpace! And if I can tell, so can everyone else. And do you know what your homemade cover says to the world? It says, "Don't read me, because if you think the cover is bad, wait until you look at the inside." A bad cover also says you really don't care enough about your book to put your best foot forward. The best book covers don't make those kinds of announcements. And if you think a book isn't judged by its cover, you would be wrong. Here at Interviews & Reviews we actually rate you on your cover. We look to see how inviting it is and when the story is over we look to see how well it matched with your theme. But we don't just look at the front cover, we look at the back cover as well. Which brings me to my next point.
2. Your Back Copy is Not Interesting
What is the first thing a person does after they see the front cover of your book? They turn it over to read about it. If you had a great front cover you've already intrigued them, but the picture on the front isn't enough, you have to grab their attention with your back copy. This is your "elevator speech" so to speak. You have thirty seconds to get me excited about your book. Ready...set...go...!
3. You Didn't Invest in an Editor
Want to announce to the world that you're an amateur? Just get your mom, dad, friends and family to "proofread" your book. Don't bother paying the big bucks to a professional editor who can make your book shine. If you don't invest in an editor you might as well stop writing your book right now. Here are just a few of the things a good editor does for you:
This is just a snippet of what a good editor can do. Make your book shine inside and out. Invest in an editor!
4. Character Development
Why is your main character a Disney-type princess in the first three chapters and then turns into a shrew, then back into a little darling, and then stays that way with no explanation whatsoever for the rest of the book? Are you trying to confuse me on purpose? If your characters are doing something out of character and are not well developed your rating will go down. Before you start your story, flesh out your characters!
5. Plot Holes
One minute the story is swimming along nicely and then suddenly the reader feels like Alice falling down a very deep hole. What happened? The author failed to tie up loose ends. Again, this is where an editor comes in handy. Also this is where Beta-readers can help you out too.
6. Lack of Citations and Research (for Non-Fiction Books)
Non-fiction books still need good covers and editors, but one of the problems I often run into is the lack of citations and that it's poorly researched. Again, this is where the right type of editor is invaluable. Non-fiction books can be anything from memoirs to Bible Studies. At Interviews & Reviews we look at how well-researched the topic/theme is and if all citations are present. A book that is not well-researched and presented will be evident by the lack of citations. If the book is a "how-to" book, we will look to see if it lives up to its claims.
These are just a few of the reasons why a book can get a lower star rating. But I believe the two most important reasons for lower ratings are a poor book cover and lack of an editor. Invest in these two things and you are well on your way to attaining a five star rating.