All my dreams have now come true, my prayers have been answered, the good lord took pity on me and granted me this one desire – to see my books achieve the absolute average rating on Goodreads. Three point Oh!
Some time ago I built a web-site that automatically assigns random ratings to random “things” it scrapes off the internet, including businesses, products, places, people, concepts and ideas. What happened is math – the law of averages. Almost everything circles the three point oh drain given a large enough sample size. I’m not saying the exact same thing happened here with Goodreads, but it does seem that there is a law of averages that applies in certain cases – when random people randomly read random books and rate them it should be no surprise that the extreme reactions balance each other out.
I’m also not implying that there are an equal number of die-hard Trump and Bernie supporters and the end result is likely to be Hillary. Or am I?
Anyway, my theory on Goodreads is that single-issue candidates – er, I mean authors who write to specific genre standards – are likely to have higher or lower average ratings based on how well their books meet the expectations of the specific genre readers they target. The people who like to read 17th Century Highland Scottish Romance novels are not a random representation of the general reading public. They’re rating of your version of such a novel will be highly reflective of the perceived quality of that work within that scope. Within micro-genres it is not at all unusual to find average ratings trending either to the 4’s or the 2’s.
Politicians know this very well, and play to a targeted audience. You’ll often find Bernie on college campuses, Trump at NASCAR rallies and Hillary in African-American churches.
My books don’t meet the expectations of the readers all that well. This is clear. Most of their average ratings are between 2.9 and 3.2, and the aggregate had been hovering just below 3.0 for years. I wondered if it would ever reach that perfect middle. It may only last a day, so I’m celebrating while I can.
Thanks to all the raters, even the haters. A see-saw is a useless toy when only one side is occupied.