The book content ratings on this website are used with permission from My Book Ratings—a community website with ratings submitted by authors and readers.
From their website:
Anyone who has read a book can submit a rating for it. Even if a book has previously been rated, we still want to know how YOU rate it. Rating a book is as simple as answering guided questions about the book’s content.
I encourage every author and reader to submit books to My Book Ratings for a rating. I’ve done it. It takes about 3 minutes. (Here are step-by-step instructions for rating a book. This is the FREE rating. I don’t expect you to pay have a book rated. When you click Submit a Rating, it will ask if you’re a reader or the author. )
If you want more information on what each of the rating levels mean, click here to go to their Why Rated Books page.
This is NOT Censorship
This is in no way intended to be censorship of books. I will never say that a book should not have been written or published. Writers are free to write as they wish, and readers are free to read what they wish. The purpose of adding the ratings is to aid book buyers in making a more informed decision.
Even though we are all LDS readers, we don’t always agree on what is appropriate reading. By having a clearly defined and consistent rating system, it allows readers to better connect with the type of book they enjoy reading.
That said, however, there are still some books by LDS authors that won’t be on my site. Books that get an Adult or Adult+ rating may not be included here—depending on the reasons for that rating. Books that receive these ratings will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by me. I am most likely to say no to explicit “onscreen” sex and extremely graphic violence.
Readers who enjoy these ratings are welcome to look for books at My Book Ratings, which you may sort by rating level.
A Few FAQs about My Book Ratings
Q: What are content ratings?
A: For our purposes, content rating specifically informs readers about possibly objectionable content in the areas of language, kissing/sex, violence, and drug/alcohol use. It has nothing to do with the quality of the writing or the subjective enjoyment of a book.
Q: Why is a content rating important?
A: Although all the books on this site are written by LDS authors, there is a wide variety of content within these books. In fact, books that actually have LDS-specific content are the minority.
Some of my site visitors have purchased a book because it was on this site, assuming the author shared their opinion on appropriate content. Sometimes they have been disappointed; other times offended. It is the reader’s right to decide how little or how much they want in various content areas. A content rating helps match readers with their preferred reading content.
Q: Why are you using My Book Ratings for content ratings?
A: For a rating system to work, it needs to be clearly defined and objective. That way, a book will get consistent ratings no matter who rates it (ex: May contain up to a total of 40 swear words [no F-bombs].) Most of the rating systems I’ve looked at are subjective, leaving gray areas and room for surprises (ex: Minimal swearing).
The My Book Ratings system is simple and easy for authors and readers; it’s also easy and fast for me to grab their ratings and put it in my spotlight posts.
Q: Are the ratings on My Book Ratings accurate?
A: For the most part. Since it’s a community website, anyone may submit a rating—which hopefully will be accurate. If you see a book you’ve read and disagree with the rating, you’re welcome to submit an additional rating. In fact, the more ratings for a particular book, the more accurate they will become.
Q: If I’m an author and want my book on your website, do I have to have a rating from My Book Ratings?
A. Beginning September 1, 2017, if you complete any of my forms (for a Free Spotlight post, or to participate in the Monthly Giveaways and Reading Challenges) you will be asked to include the link to your book on My Book Ratings. (Here’s the link to start the process.)
For a period of time, I may add books that don’t have a rating until word gets around that this is an expectation for inclusion here.
Q: Can I just tell you my book is clean, or the rating I think it has?
A: No. I want these ratings to be as objective as possible and the only way to do that is to use a rating system that is clear and consistent. This one is.
Q: Does a rating with My Book Ratings cost money?
A: No. It costs you nothing and it takes very little time and effort on your part to get your book on the site. There is an option to pay MyBookRatings.com to rate your book for you, but this is not necessary for my site. The FREE option is perfectly fine.
There WILL be readers who go to My Book Ratings specifically looking for clean books. There may also be readers who go to that site specifically looking for LDS books, and My Book Ratings has a category for that. Having a book rating there helps you. It gives readers one more place to find you and your books.
Q: Can you do the rating for me?
A: No. I post 500+ books on this site every year. I’m an avid reader but I can’t read every book that’s posted here. If you’re an author, you should know better than anyone how to accurately rate your book. But if you really don’t want to, My Book Ratings has a paid service where their readers will rate the book for you.
A Few FAQs about My Book Cave
Q: What is My Book Cave?
A: My Book Cave is an ebook promotional company. They send announcements of book sales to subscribers. Because My Book Cave also feels a content rating is important for matching readers with books, they developed My Book Ratings.
Q: I heard My Book Cave does not promote LDS books. Is that true?
A. It depends. I went straight to the source and asked them. In summary, this is what they told me:
- Books with LDS content comprise a very small niche market. (I know this to be true because I’ve had 30 years experience in the publishing field, with the last 17 years focusing on LDS publishing.)
- In fact, this niche is so small that there are not enough subscribers to My Book Cave that want LDS-themed books to make it worth the time and effort for My Book Cave to curate a list for that niche—or any religion-specific list. (I know this is true too, based on years of marketing and promotion in this niche.)
- It is not cost-effective for My Book Cave to target LDS readers at this time. (I can’t fault them for this. They have to be able to make money to cover their time, expenses, and growth.)
- If My Book Cave thinks your LDS-themed book has a wider audience than LDS readers, they have and will continue to consider including it under one of their other categories.
Q: This doesn’t seem fair. I’m an Indie and I try so hard to let people know about my book, but none of the big email lists will promote it.
A: I totally understand. When I was a small publishing company, the biggest challenge I (and other small presses) had was simply letting readers know our books existed. If they contained LDS content and weren’t picked up by Deseret Book, they didn’t get any traction at all.
This is why I set up Storytellers in Zion (previously New LDS Fiction) and why I do all that I do online to help LDS authors. It’s still a labor of love on my part. My reach is small compared to larger genre categories, but it is tightly focused on the LDS writing community and the readers who want to support it.
That is why I have a Special Offers segment of my newsletter. In the past, I have promoted books for a small fee as part of my various reading challenges. Starting September 1, 2017, this will be open year round. (And yes, you will need to have a My Book Ratings for your book to participate.)
Q: Do you have a financial stake in My Book Cave and/or My Book Ratings?
A: No. I subscribe to MBC because many of the authors I enjoy reading use them to promote their ebooks. I submit ratings to MBR because I read a lot and I want to be helpful to others.