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Authors On Reviews

Authors On Reviews: To Comment Or Not To Comment

I have seen some discussions about this online and authors get really confused. Inspired by the 3 Stars Rating Event, I decided to create this as an opportunity for us, book bloggers and reviewers, to write our opinion and let the authors know what we expect from the authors when we post a review of their book(s). 

Should Authors Comment On Reviews?

Some big publishers out there used to -and some still- instruct their authors never to reply to a review. Why? Because there have been some terrible experiences with authors taking a harsh position towards the reviewer. Publishers don’t want their names to be associated to this type of mess, so to prevent that from happening, I believe that was the action they decided to take.

No matter the rating, as long as they reviewer was respectful, I believe a polite “thank you for your time” email is always the best approach to authors – especially those who don’t know much about the place the review had been posted. Now if you know the blog’s readership and the blogger, you can have the liberty of leaving a comment and engage a further discussion.

If you can’t contact the reviewer directly, you can always contact the website via email and tell them to please thank the reviewer for you – they will receive your kind note.

And you can always develop a relationship with the blogger for future events by contacting them. Even a simple “thank you” is good enough.

In Doubt – ask before commenting! And if you don’t have something polite to say, then stay quiet!

I believe that a note through Goodreads, Twitter or Facebook is not appropriate, and some blogs that have more than one reviewer usually don’t encourage authors to leave comment. Now, want to use those 3 places to share the review? Please do, we love it, we highly appreciate and thank you for that!

Reviewers feel more pressure when they know the author will read the review? Readers get intimidated knowing that the author will read their comment? According to my experience from being a book bloggers and reviewer for a year, from what I could observe, my answer is NO!

What do you think? Are you a book blogger or author?

Other Related Discussions:
Be Nice. Always!
Reviewers Blogging About It TODAY:



Discussion (65 Comments)

  1. I like it when authors comment on my review and in the almost three years I have been reviewing, they have been nothing but positive..so my answer would be yes. At least I know the author is actually reading my reviews.
    Thank you.

  2. Hey,
    Somehow on the link list it only shows my name and not my blog name. Can I change this?

    • by Nat
      Reply

      Yes, go to your email! You should have received a confirmation, delete and enter again ; )

  3. by Liz McKeown
    Reply

    I think authors should comment on reviews. I don’t know if I can make the event, but am putting in my two cents worth.

    Smiles – Liz

  4. As an author, I always try to comment on reviews. If someone has taken the time to read my book and write a review, I’m always grateful. Even if the review might take a small bite out of my heart, I respect the reviewer’s heartfelt opinion and the time they’ve spent with my book.

    And I always try to remember points made by the reviewers when I write. After all, I want my readers to be happy! <3

    I <3 book bloggers and reviewers!

    ~BElle

  5. Awesome idea and great way to do it! I can’t wait to see what everyone says, although I kinda know what the blogger’s opinion will be ;)

    Thanks for doing this!!
    -K

  6. I agree with Belle. I think it’s only polite to acknowledge and thank a reviewer – especially if it’s a really positive five star review! Even if it isn’t a glowing review though, as she says, if it’s constructive then one should appreciate the honesty and strive to improve on the points noted.

  7. I comment on reviews because whether it’s good or bad I’m honored a reviewer took time to read it. For bad reviews I don’t dispute them. My books aren’t for everyone, I just say thank you and let it go.

  8. I have been sharply criticized by my peers for commenting on my reviews. Generally, I just say thank you. I feel that if a reader or a reviewer spent time and money on one of my books, they deserve at least that. If I know the person, I might say more but I rarely will get into an exchange. I hyperlink reader/reviewer remarks on my website to the source. Also, I have learned a lot from reviews in terms of things I could consider on my next book. They have made requests – which I’ve honored. I believe reviews affect sales. Good or bad review , I think it’s only fair to be polite.

  9. So I thought about it and couldn’t resist the idea of this. Hence I’m signing up but I noticed in the comments that you said we’d get an email confirmation and I didn’t get one does that take a while?

    • by Nat
      Reply

      Sent your confirmation in case you didn’t receive it!

  10. When I learn about a review, I always attempt to thank the reviewer, even if the review, as Belle said, “takes a small bite out of my heart.” However, I try to do it by contacting the reviewer through e-mail rather than commenting beneath the post, because I read that readers hesitate to leave comments on a review they suspect the author might be watching. I’d be interested in hearing more reader opinions on this

    As for my peers, most agree that an author should thank a reviewer for a positive review, but I’ve received mixed opinions on authors’ responding to negative reviews.

  11. I absolutely love it when authors post on my site. The recognition that they think I ‘got’ what they were trying to say is very validating. I would always opt for a comment.

  12. Am I the only one that’s starting to get a little excited about this? This is the first hop I’ve been invited to where I actually get to offer an opinion. I mean yeah I post my opinions in my reviews but it’s just not the same as being asked what I think about general blogging behaviors and ideas. My offering I guess you’d say changes point of views in the middle but that’s not the right words and for the life of me I can’t think of what those words are. I go from referring to authors in general to writing directly to the author as an individual in terms like “you” and then back again but I can’t quite figure out how to change it so that it still has the same affect without doing that. I guess that’s why I’m not an author. Hopefully my point still comes across despite the issue with my little I’d guess you’d call it editorial? Anyway most hops I get invitations to are about contests the point of them basically is to increasing following and readership even though most of the following you gain is only there for and will only show up again when there’s a contest. This one is really original in my personal opinion and I love the idea of it. I’m really excited and I’m wondering if it will get a good turn out of participants and commenters.

  13. To answer the question… When I was a traditionally published author we were always told not to respond to reviews whether positive or negative. As an Indie Author I’ve heard it both ways – some reviewers want you to respond and some don’t. If I receive a particularly good review, many times I will say thanks. (And btw, one of my favorites is a three-star, because she clearly understood the story). If a reviewer points out that something needs to be fixed, and they’re right, I’ll thank them for bringing it to my attention and then go fix it.
    As for negative reviews – well, I accept that not everyone is going to like what I write. I do sometimes wish – as probably many authors do – that if a reviewer finds that the book isn’t their cup of tea, they would just say that rather than giving it a one or two star review. However I’d never respond to one either way, that is the reviewer’s choice.

    I’d be interested in the response to the question Kathryn R. Blake brought up – do readers hesitate to respond if they know the writer might be watching?

  14. As an author, I appreciate when some writes a review of my book and let’s me know about that review. I tried to show my appreciation by leaving a comment.

  15. Definitely a topic worth talking about. As a new indie author I haven’t commented on any of the reviews I have received – positive OR negative. I think once you cross that line (even if it’s only to say thanks for a nice review) it is a very slippery slope to get back up. I appreciate every single review written, whether it be good or bad, and prefer to leave it at that. But it will be very interesting to see what other readers/writers/reviewers have to say.

  16. I have a personal blog and I review for Everybody Needs a Little Romance several times a month. I love it when authors stop by and comment – it makes me feel good that they saw the reviews.

    When I review a book I give my honest opinion, even if I don’t enjoy the book. I always give examples of things that worked for me and if there was something that didn’t I try and say why it doesn’t work and I always try and end the review on a positive note.

    I find that I have a harder time writing a review for a book I really didn’t care for or really loved than one that I just enjoyed. I also have a hard time writing reviews for writers I know because I don’t like to give them a bad review (didn’t care for it) but I don’t want to over do it either (loved it). Does anyone else have that problem?

  17. Writers should comment. Those comments encouraged me to write way before I thought I could pursue a writing career. They made me believe I had a personal connection with authors who knew how to turn a thought into a tangible story that made an impact in my life. I believe authors comments make everything so much more intimate and personal.

  18. I always love it when authors comment!! I will not be able to join in–but just thought the authors would love to know that their comments are always appreciated!!

  19. I’ve been reviewed and have reviewed others work. I think as long as an author can be professional, no matter what the rating, I think they ought to take the time to thank the reviewer.

  20. I write and review, so this is and interesting topic.

  21. by Lori
    Reply

    I’ll definitely be reading this and tweeting links because I’ve seen so many differing opinions on whether or not I should comment on reviews. It just becomes confusing so I often don’t comment at all unless I know the reviewer on Twitter or FB or via e-mail.

  22. [...] inspired by the recent 3 Star Ratings Event. Nat @ Reading Romances decided to create today’s event as an opportunity for us book bloggers and reviewers to say what we expect from authors when we [...]

  23. Interesting opinion but I actually do have a question. You mentioned you like it when authors share your reviews on Goodreads and I’m curious as to how they would do that. I mean I know I’d actually be upset if they posted my review under their profile like they wrote it themselves and that’s the only way I know of to share a review on Goodreads, is there another method?

    As far as the sharing on Facebook and Twitter, I have to agree that certainly makes me do a little happy dance when I noticed an author shared my review on a social networking site and encouraged others to read it.

  24. by Nikki
    Reply

    Hey Nat!! Can you send the linky list HTML code? That way I can post it on my blog?

  25. I have to say that I don’t agree with your opinion when it comes to social media. I think that they can be useful to both the author and the reviewer. I’ve had authors get in touch with me via goodreads. They saw my review and wanted to use it. Getting in touch with me through GR only makes sense.

  26. Thanks for holding this hop! As a reviewer, it’s interesting to hear the arguments for and against it. I agree that what is important is that you tell the reviewer thanks. I didn’t know that about publishers discouraging it… I find that interesting.

  27. Wow! This is SO interesting! It is really making me rethink things. Back when I was a blogger, I did always get so excited when an author stopped by. I still remember the ones who did. Now that I am an author, I got swayed by the whole “leave reviews to reviewers and readers, don’t chill discussion by your presence” bit, but this is really eye-opening.

    Also, I rarely share reviews over twitter and facebook because I don’t want people to think I’m promo-spamming and get sick of me, but it is a form of thanks, and I really never saw it that way. This is a really cool event!

  28. Great discussion. I’ve never commented on a review of one of my books on the blog (though I have sometimes wanted to – I’m only human). I do comment – with a thank you – when I am interviewed on a blog. When I share a review on Facebook, Google+ etc, I thank the reviewer in my post. As others have mentioned – I am wondering why readers would hesitate to comment if they saw an author was posting on a review. Whether an author actually comments on a review – he/she is going to be reading the comments. It’s kind of the whole point of having someone review your book.
    Thanks for hosting this discussion – some interesting info!

  29. I am a blogger and a reader. I do post my thoughts about the books I read, and if a author responds to my review I am thrilled.

  30. As an author, I appreciate that people have taken the time to read and review my book, no matter if the review is critical or glowing. Critical reviews tell me what I need to do better next time. If I were to comment on a review, it would be a simple “thank you.” I would never argue a reader’s opinion of my book. I truly believe that if a reader doesn’t “get” my book, then I didn’t do my job as well as I wanted to.

    But what about “author as reviewer” ? I’ve been in cross-promo groups where participants offer their books to peers for review. This seems okay, so long as the reviews are honest, right? Except that I’ve been flogged (privately) for giving peers’ books less than 4-stars, and then told that it is inappropriate for me to review my peers.

    Still, as a Kindle reader, I’ve become a bit addicted to writing short reviews, even as I wonder if I’m hurting myself as a writer. Hmm….

  31. I never comment on reviews. I don’t know, perhaps it’s changing. It seems that self-pubbed authors are doing a lot of reviewing exchanging, but coming from a publisher, we really weren’t encouraged to respond to reviews. Reviews are meant to be from the reviewer to the reader, not to the author. Commenting on them, even positive comments, can make people wonder about the relationship between reviewer and author. I don’t want a reviewer to feel that I’m looking over their shoulder. Of course negative reviews should never be commented on since that tends to lead to one party or the other being defensive.

    So, if you’re a reviewer — Thank you. Even though you won’t see me leaving that comment after the review.

  32. Thanks for putting this hop together. I have really enjoyed seeing all the different thoughts and opinions on this matter. I have found the various authors thoughts incredibly interesting.

  33. Heya Nat! I’m glad you did this hop. :-) My thoughts on thanking a reviewer – do it. Why? They took the time to read the book and put their thoughts on paper/goodreads/blog/etc. A small thank you, even if the review isn’t what the author wants to see, isn’t bad. I’ve learned a lot from negative reviews. What works for one, won’t work for another. And that’s fine. Some authors look at negative reviews as kicks to the ego. It might be. And they also look at it that if they don’t thank and don’t bring attention to the poor review, then no one notices. Um, that doesn’t work. Again, the person took the time to read/review the book. A simple thank you isn’t a bad thing. I try to thank everyone if I know about the review and if I didn’t, I’ll get on it.

  34. I’d say a personal note is okay and agree that thank you’s through Twitter, FB and Goodreads are not politically correct.

  35. Thank you so much for creating this event! I’m loving all the insightful coversation & learning a lot. Totally appreciate your last bit: “Be Nice. Always!”

  36. As an author, I’ve mixed feelings about commenting on reviews. For me, I think I’d say “thank you for your review, it’s much appreciated” or something along those lines.

  37. Hi All!
    To chime in as another author, I know that many do not read their reviews at all- for the simple reason that a negative review can be a serious blow. On the other hand, when I read a review that shows the reader/reviewer truly “got” my story, my characters, whatever, I am elated. It’s a fine line to walk sometimes, but I’d like to share an interesting story about a coment I made to a negative review.

    A few months ago a review posted on my last Emery Lee title, FORTUNE’S SON in which the reviewer expressed “If you are looking for a mild romance filled with more history than romance then FORTUNE’S SON by Emery Lee is the book for you. If, however, you are looking for an action-filled escape into romance based on a building relationship that takes you into an ever shifting conflict filled pairing with historical settings then perhaps FORTUNE’S SON is not for you. It is difficult for me to recommend this book as a historical romance that will sweep you away but as a historical fiction, I can recommend it for you will surely come away with a little more understanding of the world as it was in 18th Century England. I would never tell anyone not to read a book for everyone’s tastes are different and so goes the world.”
    http://unwrappingromance.blogspot.com/search?q=emery+lee

    At first my heart sunk, but I realized this reader had truly given this a very fair review because as Emery Lee I write romantic historical fiction – not historical romance, per se. The reviewer clearly stated the merits of the book as HF, and emphasized the quality of the writing even though it disappointed her due to expectations as a steamy romance (which was how it was packaged by the publisher).

    Upon reading this review I debated long and hard but then decided to email the reviewer and thank her for the fair, if somewhat negative review, but also suggested if it was “steam” she liked that she might wish to give my new Victoria Vane release (erotic historical romance) a try. The reviewer was kind enough to give me another shot and accepted a copy of A BREACH OF PROMISE for review. The book did not disappoint and gained me a new fan.

    “A BREACH OF PROMISE by Victoria Vane has all of the romance that was promised in the blurb for FORTUNE’S SON. This 100 page novella contains enough steamy romance for two full-length Romance Novels with all of the expertise of a well-researched author at the helm. As I said about FORTUNE’S SON, even though I was disappointed in it as a romance, I fully appreciated the writing style and research. Writing now as Victoria Vane, we’re getting what we wanted from her and more. ”
    http://unwrappingromance.blogspot.com/search?q=victoria+vane

    I just wanted to share this as an example of how even negative reviews can sometimes be turned around if tactfully handled.

    Thanks again, Amy!

    • @Victoria Vane, I admired the way you handled the negative review. I would normally say NEVER to comment on a negative review at all. Saying a simple thank you could be perceived as sarcastic or condescending. But the way you handled it was tactful and professional. So I want to thank you on behalf of the reviewer’s community, I hope there are more authors like you. I just added your books to my TBR list.

    • What a great story!

  38. Personally, i like to comment on reviews, however I do know people who have been spooked when that happens and who tend not to leave reviews after that. I always say that I would rather get a bad review than be ignored. Ratings are another matter. I know that a lot of people do not like authors to comment on their rating and I understand why. I have only received a few one star ratings on my books, but I always wish I could reply. It’s probably better that I don’t, for after some time has passed, I can look back on them with humor. I remember a one star rating given because I had conceived of a summer youth camp where both abstinence and birth control were taught and encouraged. “Who would send their child to that kind of camp?” wrote the writer. Who indeed.

  39. As an author I sometimes bond with the reviewers and get involved in interviews an/or giveaways. If that is the case of course you respond and with a polite nice twist. All of us have to keep in mind how subjective reviews are and how everyone is entitled to their opinion.
    I hesitated to “correct” a bad review and chose not to as the reviewer had stated that my pragmatist had gone to a psychic and not a psychiatrist.
    I felt if the review was going to be bad at least the facts could be correct.
    I never did comment…..

    M.C.V Egan
    The Bridge of deaths

    • Ah…this is getting into different territory, but I can’t leave it without one passing comment: The number of times I’ve had to grit my jaw over reviews that got facts wrong, or plain invented them — and these were “facts” that might turn readers away from reading the book!

      I was trained not to engaged with reviewers, so I’ve had to let reviews go by that talked of rape scenes that didn’t exist, that got heroes’ and heroines’ names wrong, set the book in the wrong city and country, and even century, the wrong profession…more.

      I do sometimes thank reviewers for their reviews. I rarely manage a thank you for these types of reviews, though.

  40. Hi, Nat,
    As an author–and this is a very personal decision–I let the reviews rest and be whatever they need or want to be; bad, good, indifferent, demeaning, or raving. Reading is such an individual experience. In the same way that I can love a movie while my friend will just hate it, I know that two people will pick up a book of mine and each will have a completely different experience.

  41. As an author, I have mixed feelings about this. Since I am helped by a review (good or bad), a ‘thank you’ seems courteous. On the other hand, reviewers don’t do the reviews for me, but for readers, so why should I stick my nose it?

    I generally don’t say even thank you, but there have been a few exceptions where I did. I never had a feeling that the reviewer minded a simple thank you, but maybe they just didn’t say so.

  42. As a reviewer/blogger, I’m fascinated by the concept that people will be intimidated by seeing the author comment on a review, as long as it’s just a “thanks for the review” or something similar.
    While google alerts aren’t perfect, it’s not as if we don’t know that everything is out there to be searched, and found, by anyone. If we want people in general to read what we review, it’s to be expected that the author of the book will, too.
    But just as our opinions of the books we read are different, our opinions of whether authors should comment on those opinions are different, too.
    Just the same, I bet we all agree that it is terrific of Nat and Reading Romances to host this blog hop. I’m glad to be a participant.
    Marlene @ Reading Reality

  43. by Maureen Driscoll
    Reply

    I’m just thankful someone took the time to not only read my book, but to review it as well. I sometimes disgaree mentally with a review of someone else’s work, but even then, I generally keep my mouth shut. It’s that reviewer’s opinion and they’re certainly entitled to say whatever they like.

    There are reviews where it seems the reviewer is more interested in being clever than fair. But that only makes me more wary of their recommendations across the board.

    Thank you for asking about this. It’s nice to see what others think.

  44. I am a published author, but before I was, I reviewed Romance novels at a large blog plus posted them at my own. More often than not, I was NOT thanked for the review by the author. The few that made the effort? I remember them to this day and go out of my way to read their books. Their consideration was very much appreciated.

    With that in mind, I thank everyone who posts a review on one of my books, the good, the bad and the ugly. Whether its an email, a comment at a blog, a tweet or pressing the like button at Goodreads, I acknowledge and appreciate someone took the time to not only read my book, but sit down and write a review, doesn’t matter the length. To me, one thank you is enough.

    • I want to second what Karyn said here. It’s about the effort. The reviewer might not have liked my work but maybe by saying thank you for their time, I’ve made them want to give my work another shot. That’s all we as writers can ask for, a fair shake. In return, we owe the reviewer our respect and gratitude, not condescension.

  45. First, thanks for hosting this. I am enjoying reading the posts and comments.

    I like having an author comment, sometimes a great discussion can get started. I don’t worry about the author “looking over my shoulder” but I can understand those folks who do.

    I DO think that., for their own sake, the author should stay polite and professional. Failure to do so WILL come back to haunt them and cost them.

    Thanks Nat!

  46. Great discussion so far. Like Belle and other authors, I like to comment on reviews to express my appreciation for reading, reviewing, and pointing out some aspects of my novels from a fresh perspective that helps me learn as a writer. But I like Kathryn’s point that maybe an email to the reviewer is more appropriate than a comment on Goodreads so that I don’t interfere with readers’ discussion by making them feel big brother is lurking, watching their every comment. I refrain from commenting on negative reviews, understanding that any book elicits wildly varied reviews. I did have to comment once when a reviewer said my hero was a bit of a “wuss” because it made me laugh!

  47. by Pam
    Reply

    It’s interesting that you feel leaving a comment through Goodreads, Facebook or Twitter is inappropriate. I’ve received comments from authors for reviews on Goodreads whether directly or in reply to the review posted there. I’ve also received a thank you for a review over Twitter before. I guess I don’t mind it because at least they did acknowledge my review. :)

    As for publishers telling their authors not to reply … I had no idea about that until this blog hop. I find it odd, but then again, I did read once on Twitter about an author leaving a nasty comment for a reviewer and some other subsequent drama regarding it, so I guess I can understand. That sort of thing does reflect badly.

  48. by Amy Conley
    Reply

    This is strange. An author, who shall remain nameless, posted on her fb page not long ago asking about our favorite books of ours but to not say anything bad as she was “too thin-skined” to hear anything bad. I commented I believed constructive critisism was, in my opiniom a good thing and as far as I could ever tell from any and all the reviews about the very books this author had written there was only one 3 book series which anyone had ever written anything negative about, myself included. Yes, I admitted I wrote something negative, I didn’t say what it was, but if she read the reviews she would have known everyone of her readers were saying the exact same thing! And it wasn’t the fact the books were bad, actually they were some of her best writting to date, we just all hated the way she ended the series and felt cheated. Anyway, a few days later I went to that conversation and she had REMOVED my comment, which was given in a positive, kind-hearted manner! It has made me think twice about ever buying this authors books again (and I own almost her entire collection.)

  49. I can remember the first time I received a comment from an author, I was shocked and felt really honoured that they had taken the time to come to my blog and read the review.

  50. I had 37 books published via legacy publishers before I shifted to indie publishing. I had it drilled into me to the point where it has calcified into my bones that reviews are for *readers*, not for me. Commenting in any way at all on reviews is not professional, not welcome, and don’t do it — you’ll upset readers and the reviewer, and — the most alarming aspect — jeopardise future reviews.

    So for years, I kept my mouth firmly shut. I did used to copy good reviews on my own site, however, and once — *once* — made a passing remark about a review only being a three star rating when the body of the review read differently (does this sound familiar?). The reviewer found the comment on my site, copied it on her site and made an entire post about the comment, and talked about ungrateful authors…it was a nine-day sensation where I was hammered into the ground and turned into hamburger.

    I have never received a review from that site again. She doesn’t return my emails.

    My policy nowdays is to thank reviewers for their reviews, if my attention is drawn to the review. Period. I will not say anything else, no matter what. It just isn’t worth it. Reviewers have too much power to make my life miserable, and the risk of being misinterpreted is far too high.

    Tracy

  51. I love and appreciate when an author comments on my blog, facebook page or twitter.

  52. I am also one of those who feel compelled to thank reviewers. I’ve been chastised by my peers on may occasions, but I do it anyway! I just feel like there are a lot of books out there, and if someone takes the time to read mine, it’s an honor and privilege for me – it’s only natural I express my gratitude that way.

  53. [...] Authors On Reviews [...]

  54. [...] or not they think authors should comment on their reviews. You can read more about this event on their site, where you can also find other bloggers participating in this [...]

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