Let’s talk about anything bookish!
Happy Monday, Wormies! Welcome to another bookish discussion! Today is special because this topic is one that was requested by an author who comments a lot on my blog! Full disclosure, I do not know the author personally and have only interacted with her through my blog and I have also never read any of the books she has written.
She asked me to comment on authors responding to positive book reviews, but I decided to discuss both positive and negative reviews and book reviews as a whole.
Before we get started, I want to let everyone know that I personally have not been attacked by an author before. However, I also know of other bloggers who have been attacked and have had bad experiences with authors, their posse and their fans. So, I do count myself lucky. I also want to say that I don’t really post controversial reviews on my blog (to my knowledge). While I also write DNF to 2-star reviews on my blog, I have kept my reviews objective and centered on why I didn’t like the book. In fact, I have written negative reviews on books by my favorite authors, so I think I am fair in my review practices.
Should authors respond to reviews?
I’ve seen this over and over again, stressed out by a lot of authors and reviewers – book reviews are NOT for authors! And while I think that is true, I also think that reviews do help authors either to improve on their craft or even to use fan favorite characters in another book or series. And let’s face it, authors will never know who the fan favorites are without knowing what the fans are saying, right? Also, how can an author improve if they never hear any constructive criticism about their book?
But let’s face it, not all authors react well to criticisms at all. In this case, an author should NEVER ENGAGE with the reviewer giving a bad review of their book. This just brings a lot of problems for the author. The book blogging community is really small. Heck, Book Twitter is very quick to stand up in arms and defend the community. With Social Media and everyone gaining easy access to authors, it’s just a slippery slope that I think authors should not cross.
I’ve stopped reading an author because of the authors’ disdain for non-professional reviewers. In fact, this author has sent their massive following to harass and threaten those reviewers. Those old Amazon threads were just full of…. let’s just say I should not have gone down that hole.
On a positive note, I try not to involve myself in this sort of drama, so I really don’t know a lot of authors that have been responding this way. The ones I know have only been the highly publicized ones, or the ones receiving a lot of backlash.
Should authors respond to POSITIVE reviews?
As a book blogger, I love tagging authors when I give a 3.5-5 star review of their book. This is especially easy on Instagram. Have I had authors who respond to my glowing reviews? YES, I have! All of the responses have been really great for me as a blogger. It makes me feel like what I do does have an importance in the grand scheme of things – especially since I am not a well-known blogger. It also means that these authors have taken the time to either read my review, re-Tweet my post, or even respond with a “Thank you so much” or “Glad you loved it!”
Honestly, it gives validity to what I am doing, even though I am doing this for fun.
Most of the time, author responses have been on Twitter and Instagram. I don’t think I’ve had an author actually comment on a review of their book on my blog. I honestly can’t comment on that and I’m not sure what I would feel about it. I guess it depends on what they say.
Coincidentally, I discussed this with my husband earlier this week when I posted a short review of a book on my Instagram. In that review, I mentioned that my husband was not amused when I told him that the name of the dogs’ name in the book is Pierre (husband’s name is Pierre, by the way). The author actually made a funny comment about it and I thought that was great! I mean, I love that the author took the time to read the caption in my post!
Should authors respond to NEGATIVE reviews?
In this case, I guess it depends on the response. I have seen authors respond to negative reviews of their books in a positive way.
An example would be an author who responded in a funny way to a negative review of her book. Or a really well-known NYT Best Selling author who took a negative criticism and actually responded by saying she will change that part of her book (I cannot verify if this was changed since I got a copy of the book prior to the author responding to the review). Or how about that author who said that the best review she read was a 6-page negative review of one of her books?
But these responses are few and far between. I’ve seen authors respond really harshly to a 3-star review. Heck, we all know about that author who stalked a reviewer because of what she perceived as an attack on her. I’ve seen authors throw hissy fits and sicced their fandom on a reviewer who wrote a negative review of her book. I’ve seen reviewers and bloggers being bullied because of negative reviews. Yeah, it doesn’t look good on the author at all.
In fact, I have stopped reading authors who show disdain on negative reviews of their books in public.
I also do not tag authors when I write negative reviews of their books. I feel like that is just so tacky and inciting a response that you do not want. Even if the author has been known to be very nice, I just don’t tag them when I review their book. If they come across by review by accident? I do hope they do not engage.
But how should an author react?
I’m not an author so I’m not exactly the person to give out advice on how they should react. But I understand that authors are human, too. Of course, they feel protective of the work they have slaved away for YEARS before it got published. I understand that. But I also understand that not everyone will love all of the books.
I also understand that a negative review can make someone buy your book. Heck, I’m one of those readers who read both negative and positive reviews of a book to gauge if I will like the book or not.
DO NOT ENGAGE. A lot of authors have given this advice to other authors. It just does not end well for you, and really, it’s not a good business decision.
Heck, complain about the review to your friend, spouse, family, significant other, or whoever. Curse the blogger or reviewer. Cry. Be mad. But do so in private. And just DON’T ENGAGE.
What do you think about authors responding to either a negative or positive review of their books?
How do you think authors should react?
If you think authors SHOULD respond to negative reviews, let me know why you think so.
AND AS ALWAYS, PLEASE BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER.