I want to explain the basis of my standpoint.
It seems to me that many authors assimilate legality and ethics when, clearly, they are not the same. Without going any further on definitions and theoretical analysis and transferring this notion to our topic, I say: Yes, self-rating is available on Goodreads (so, it’s “legal”) but, is it ethical? I don’t think so.
Just like I don’t believe in the infallibility of Goodreads and its policies; Goodreads is not God. Nor authors are divine incarnations; particularly, they don’t have the gift of ubiquity: they cannot be both reader/reviewer and the author of a book, they’re either one or the other.
The 5-stars-rating that an author gives its own work will be inexorably biased, be it so much for author’s self confidence in their work as to for an interest in projecting an positive image of a book to stimulate its sales, or its diffusion if it’s a free read.. Keeping in mind that obviously the star rating is the first reference for a reader in search of opinions, is hard to see self-rating like an ingenuous or bona fide act.
Now, it could be alleged that if authors rate openly their own work, and no through sock puppets, that behavior would not be unethical.. I disagree, I think that at most we might speak about unethicalness degrees but it would continue to be unethical.
Furthermore, the author’s confidence what you’re talking about like reason for self-rating it could also be understood like a denial a priori of any negative feedback. Besides, what better display of self confidence than to accept that ponder the merits of a book is a readers’s prerogative?
I want to end up quoting author Adrian Howell, in my opinion he has synthesized the convergent reasons why an author should refrain from self-rating:
«First off, I don’t think self-rating my works are going to boost my sales in any meaningful way. Second, many readers probably do think that authors rating their own books is unethical, and I wouldn’t want to risk that image. Third and most importantly, I want an honest appraisal of my works, and rating my own books would mess with the numbers».