Monday, August 19, 2013

HTR Trail Guide: Our Star System (NOT the Solar System--You Get the Idea!)

Part of our job at Hunt to Read is to quantify feeling.

We make no secret that our authors and publishers enjoy using the site so much because of all of the great feedback that our users give them in the form of ratings.

To make things easier, we've implemented a 1-to-5 star rating scale, so as to quantify the feeling readers experience when they see a cover or read a blurb.

Why five stars? I suppose it seemed like all of the other cool kids in the book business were doing so--who are we to argue?!

With so many of these rating systems floating around, we wanted to have a reference guide available so that folks had some kind of a way to figure out what we had in mind when we came up with the system.

As an aside, I'm not a huge fan of grade inflation when it comes to rating things. I came to this realization about ten years ago, when my brother and I must've watched nearly every movie that was released over a single summer, and came out of most of them, looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, and said almost simultaneously, "Eh, B-plus."

We shortly realized that every movie we saw couldn't be a B+! If we were being honest about our grading scale, those movies should have all been in the C-range.

So with that in mind, here's a look at the five star rating scale we had in mind:

Five Stars:
Outstanding work. This aspect of the book is really well-done.

Four Stars: Good work--no problems here.

Three Stars: Eh, it's okay. Not great, but not terrible.

Two Stars: Could use a bit of improvement--not my favorite.

One Star: It's...uh...what? Wow, that's bad.

Also, please keep in mind that authors and publishers don't see user names when you rate something; you can rate away knowing that your feedback is safely anonymous. If you make a comment on a book, we show your user name to avoid petty, anonymous attacks on books, that really serve no purpose toward furthering either the sense of community we're trying to build on the site, or the book's placement in our algorithms.

Remember, our authors and publishers do make decisions about their books based on this feedback. As I mentioned last week, I've already changed the cover on one of my books because of the feedback I received on Hunt to Read, so your honest feedback is appreciated, even if it stings a bit--I'd certainly want to know if a cover or blurb of mine needed improvement sooner rather than later.

And, as always, the more books you take the time to rate, the more points you earn, which (fingers crossed) should be able to unlock free books here shortly, and a lot of other cool stuff and privileges down the road.

Thoughts or questions on the scale? Leave them in the comments.

Other than that, as always, Happy Hunting!


D.J. Gelner is the Co-Founder and CEO of Hunt to Read. Contact him directly at

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