In Writing

Have you read John Green (author of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS)’s new book?  No?  Well, you’re not alone, because it hasn’t been written yet and certainly hasn’t been published.  Last November, John Green posted on Tumblr that he was writing and the book would not be out “next year” (meaning 2015).

That does not stop it from having a 4.23 (out of 5) rating on Goodreads, the social networking site for readers.  It is listed as “Untitled” with no description, but 244 people have given it a rating and 102 people (as of this writing) have written a review.

Now, lest the hate mail start coming, let me come right out and say: I love John Green’s writing.  I liked LOOKING FOR ALASKA best of all, but have read THE FAULT IN OUR STARS more than once fondly.  This is not about dogging John Green fans.  This isn’t even a Goodreads lament.  It’s just that I know a whole lot of authors really stress their Goodreads ratings, particularly when they (we) first start out, so I find the fact that an unwritten book has ratings to be a great reason why we should chill out.

I have known more than one person who has explained that they use the rating star system as their own virtual bookshelf: one star for “to-read,” two stars for “to be published in 2016,” and whatever other things they want to keep track of.  Little do they know that authors are looking at those ratings, wondering what on Earth could have caused a reader to give a one star rating to a book that’s not even out yet.

Am I stoked to know that John Green has a new book coming out?  Absolutely.  Will I decide its merit based on its Goodreads star rating?  No.

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