You Asked and LitRate is Listening

August 2, 2014 Fun Questions 21

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Join me every Saturday as I ask a Fun Question that’s been on my mind. I’ll give you my take, but I really hope you’ll jump in with your answers too, since I’m really curious to know what my fellow readers and bloggers think! So today’s question is…

For this week’s fun questions post I’m doing something a little different. I invited Ashley from NoseGraze to share a bit about LitRate. This is a relatively new project that Ashley and her husband – who most of us know of as the Coding God – are working on and that I’m extremely excited about. Just the prospect of a site where the developers actually care about my opinion and what I need/want is so exciting. But to know that the project is the hands of someone that has already proven herself to the blogging community to be not only extremely gifted and generous with her talents, but also a good businesswoman who provides incredible support for the products she sells…that gives me the confidence to support the project.

But what is LitRate all about? Read on for an exclusive look from Ashley about what LitRate could do for you.

You Asked and LitRate is Listening

by Ashley from NoseGraze


Before launching the Kickstarter campaign for LitRate, I did a lot of research. I had to figure out what people didn’t like about Goodreads (and similar sites) and what they were looking for that they didn’t already have. If my husband and I are going to build a “better Goodreads”, we have to really listen to what people want and put those ideas into action.

One of peoples’ biggest complaints about Goodreads is that their thoughts go unanswered (either permanently or for months/years). LitRate will only be successful if we learn from Goodreads in this sense. They have a very corporate feel where ideas can take months and years to be implemented. In order to show you how dedicated LitRate is to YOUR ideas, I’m going to show you some of the features (inspired by you!) that we hope to add to the site.

Half stars!

I’ve read the reasons Goodreads has for not implementing half stars, and I still think they’re silly. I know exactly how important half stars are to some bloggers and how frustrating it can be to sit there and decide whether you should round up or down. Not on LitRate! I want half stars, you want half stars… WE’RE GETTING HALF STARS!

Save reviews as drafts

Inspired by: 13 Things I Wish Goodreads Did Better {Discussion}

The ability to save your review as a draft so you can work on it, take a break, then continue working on it before you publish it. Heck, I just had another idea while writing this: what about scheduling reviews? Don’t get your hopes too high on that last one yet because I haven’t consulted the mighty Coding God yet, but OMG THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!!

Private reviews

Inspired by: Private notes, private reviews and private shelves

Goodreads has made it very clear that the ability to post private reviews is not in their “roadmap”. But it’s certainly on LitRate’s!

When publishing a review, you’ll have three options:

  1. Make the review publicly visible
  2. Only you and your friends can see your review
  3. Only you have access to your review

These three levels of privacy and visibility give you complete control over who sees your content. This also gives more freedom with what they put in their reviews. If they want to get all mean and ranty in their review, they can just make it private. Then no one will see it and there’s no harm done! But, most importantly, the review is still there. You still have a record of what you wrote and what you thought about the book.

Customizing your ‘dashboard’ and site experience


There are two parts to this point. One of them I can guarantee. IT WILL HAPPEN! The other one will take a bit of fiddling and experimenting with before I can 100% guarantee it, but I’m hoping. 😉

First, LitRate will have colour schemes. Goodreads has a very neutral colour scheme to it. Other than maybe saying “it’s boring”, there’s not much to complain about in the colour department. But when mocking up some initial LitRate designs, I didn’t want to go with neutral. It didn’t excite me. But if I picked a bold colour, I knew some people wouldn’t like it. What if I pick something too girly or too masculine and accidentally alienate an entire gender? Ahhh! So, colour schemes were born.

With the help of our backers, we plan on creating at least 10 different colour schemes for the site. Think like the WordPress admin panel. You can have purple and green, or grey and red, or brown and green, or blue and red, etc. This is the first step towards allowing users to turn LitRate into their own personal space. Pick a colour that resonates with you. That will really make LitRate feel like home! If you want to design a LitRate colour scheme you can! It’s limited to 10 spots, but if you choose the $100 or more reward option, you can design your very own colour scheme for the site.

Second, I’m hoping to give users the power to customize their dashboards (the homepage a logged in user sees—with the activity feed, the book they’re currently reading, reading progress, etc.). In her blog post, Cee complained about the Goodreads Reading Challenge discouraging her:

I get incredibly distressed when I see that I’m like nine books behind the challenge. I try to avoid looking at it when I go to the site, but it’s hard. Best way to avoid looking it is to not go on the site. 😛Cee from The Novel Hermit

Well, what if you had the power to remove or hide that challenge if you wanted? Think of it like configuring widgets in the WordPress/Blogger admin panel. You can choose which items you want to appear in your sidebar and in what order they want to appear. If you find the reading challenge distracting or discouraging, you can remove it! Or if it’s really important to you, drag it straight to the top.

What else? LitRate is ready for YOUR ideas!

Ultimately, we want LitRate to be very intimate and community-based. We want people to be able to share their ideas and see them implemented, rather than feeling like they’re filling out a comment card for Amazon that will go straight into the bin. If you have an idea that isn’t listed in this post, we want to hear it! Let us know and we’ll jot it down and try to fit it into our development plan. 🙂

If you’re excited about these ideas, please consider backing our Kickstarter campaign. LitRate cannot exist without your help! We have to raise $16,000 in order to get the site off the ground. But with enough backers, we can and we will make this happen!

Thanks so much Ashley! Anyone else as excited as I am?

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About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

21 Responses to “You Asked and LitRate is Listening”

    • Berls

      Yay! I’m glad – I think it’s going to be amazing! I wouldn’t support just any project that sought to be better than Goodreads, but I really believe that Ashley & Coding God have what it takes to do just that – especially because they are so involved in the community and interested in getting our feedback. Hope you’re able to support it – even if it’s just with a few dollars or even by spreading the news (I know not everyone has the funds).
      Berls recently posted…Sunday Post | 52nd EditionMy Profile

    • Berls

      Me too Julie! If I could lay down more money I totally would – I just know Ashley & Coding God will make this site so much much better than everything else. I think they’ll make their goal, though they are about a day behind the target of $500/day. That can be recovered. I hope 🙂
      Berls recently posted…Sunday Post | 52nd EditionMy Profile

  1. A Voracious Reader

    I’m all for it! There are pros and cons to Goodreads and BookLikes. If we could marry the sites and have them produce an offspring then that might be just about perfect. Baby LitRate are you the one? I’m looking forward to finding out.

    Frankly, I would switch to BookLikes completely now, today, if their database was better (much much better) and they had buy links. I hate finding a book I like on there and there’s no button for me to click that will take me to a buy site.
    A Voracious Reader recently posted…Saturday ShortsMy Profile

    • Berls

      I would too Carol, but it’s missing a few features I like about Goodreads. I actually use Goodreads, Shelfari, and Booklikes together to get the perfect experience. *sigh* That’s why I really want LitRate to work! I think it will be better because I know Ashley & Coding God will listen to us, plus they are making sure to do it right with a solid database.
      Berls recently posted…Sunday Post | 52nd EditionMy Profile

        • Berls

          Not a lot LOL. Mainly it’s the bookshelf on my dashboard – I love the way it’s a reading timeline with the books I plan to read on the left, the books I am reading in the middle, and the books I have read on the right. I can easily scroll through and see what I read last week. And I would love it if I could have the left side setup according to my calendar so I could see the next book up right there, but they don’t have that (at least that I know of). Plus, since Amazon bought Goodreads, Shelfari has slowly disintegrated from non-interest (also owned by Amazon). Oh and I love that I can not just list how many times I read a book, but the exact dates I read it each and every time.
          Berls recently posted…#COYER-SV Update | Can you believe it’s August?My Profile

  2. Angie F.

    My biggest issue with GR’s look–and A LOT of other sites–is that the whole thing is blinding white plus some other light color (beige, orange, blue, etc). This really hurts my eyes and makes me want to spend less time there. Any site that lets me change to something darker (black or grey is ideal), I change it! Amazon recently updated their look (again!) by making the top bar dark gray instead of white, and just that little change helped immensely! This is one thing I like better about BookLikes too, since their dashboard has darker colors.

    I am getting more and more excited about this! 😀
    Angie F. recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #141My Profile

  3. Bea

    As far as color schemes go, I know that many goodreads users have problems with the existing scheme due to vision problems so I hope that will factor into your color choices. I love the private shelves and reviews, those could be very useful.

  4. Stormi

    I think it’s great that Ashley is trying to do LitRate and I hope her and her Husband can get it started. Wish I could support them but totally without a job right now but rooting for them!! 🙂
    Stormi recently posted…New to Me Read-a-thonMy Profile

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