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Quiggs1982
07-17-2011, 08:46 PM
I have no idea where to put this, so I took a guess.

Today I got my first review on Amazon. It was actually pretty decent - three stars.

I would really love to give the reviewer a big "thank you" and tell them I appreciate the honest review.

The review they left me was very informative. It pointed out some great things that I need to work on for future books. There were some negative parts, but it was written in a constructive way that was actually very helpful.

I don't see any way to contact someone on Amazon unless you respond to the review.

Is it weird to write a thank you response? Should I just leave it alone?

gothicangel
07-17-2011, 08:51 PM
I have no idea where to put this, so I took a guess.

Today I got my first review on Amazon. It was actually pretty decent - three stars.

I would really love to give the reviewer a big "thank you" and tell them I appreciate the honest review.

The review they left me was very informative. It pointed out some great things that I need to work on for future books. There were some negative parts, but it was written in a constructive way that was actually very helpful.

I don't see any way to contact someone on Amazon unless you respond to the review.

Is it weird to write a thank you response? Should I just leave it alone?

Personally I would say leave it alone. But if you really must, you could add a comment on the review.

Calla Lily
07-17-2011, 09:03 PM
Don't.

Leave it alone.

If they contact you through your website, as a fan, then certainly sent a reply thanking them for liking your book.

But carve this into the top of your monitor:

Never Respond To Reviews. Ever.

AmsterdamAssassin
07-17-2011, 09:13 PM
I checked the review. I wouldn't respond. Especially the last sentence does not merit a 'thank you' from the author.

Bubastes
07-17-2011, 09:16 PM
But carve this into the top of your monitor:

Never Respond To Reviews. Ever.

This.

If it will help you, don't even read your reviews.

Quiggs1982
07-17-2011, 09:26 PM
Ok. Thanks! I'll leave it alone.

Medievalist
07-17-2011, 09:28 PM
Never Respond to Reviews

Quiggs1982
07-17-2011, 09:32 PM
I checked the review. I wouldn't respond. Especially the last sentence does not merit a 'thank you' from the author.

I'm pretty down on myself. Don't know why! It's a bad character trait that I have. I tend to think what I write is never good enough. (Thank God for my editor and his encouraging words.) So, I was glad they had something nice to say at all.

I was expecting flame throwers headed my way. I suppose the last line could count as one?

Filigree
07-17-2011, 10:02 PM
Ignore it. Walk away. If you see a larger trend in your Amazon reviews, you might want to address it privately, in your own work. Responding to individual reviews is like responding to Nigerian spam. Or throwing gasoline on a fire.

On the reviewer's side, I don't think we expect a reply. We want to encourage more great work from an author we love, boost a midlister who might seem to be on the ropes, or chastise a writer who has gotten away with sloppy writing, limp plot, and ridiculous characters.

willietheshakes
07-17-2011, 10:44 PM
Has anyone mentioned:

Never.

Respond.

To.

Reviews.

Never.

AmsterdamAssassin
07-17-2011, 11:05 PM
The review is not for the benefit of the author, but for the benefit of potential readers.

Margarita Skies
07-17-2011, 11:44 PM
Never respond to reviews. In fact, if you can avoid reading them that would be great.

wizard tim
07-22-2011, 11:43 PM
It does lead to the related question of whether a writer should even read reviews. Curiousity versus sanity. Although a thoughtful review may help us improve, an unfair review may send us shrieking around the room. Heck, maybe it's better not to read them at all.

amrose
07-23-2011, 12:13 AM
Yeah, even if you're trying to be kind, it comes off as weird to respond.

To me anyway.

Snitchcat
07-23-2011, 12:17 AM
I agree: never respond to reviews. IMO, they're opinions; everyone has one and the only opinions that truly matter are yours and the publishing team behind you.

Phaeal
07-23-2011, 02:39 AM
I agree: never respond to reviews. IMO, they're opinions; everyone has one and the only opinions that truly matter are yours and the publishing team behind you.

Actually, the opinions that matter most are those of readers who have wallets to pull out and charge card numbers to feed to Amazon, etc. ;)

brainstorm77
07-23-2011, 02:43 AM
Yeah, even if you're trying to be kind, it comes off as weird to respond.

To me anyway.

This.

KTC
07-23-2011, 06:00 AM
I'm pretty down on myself. Don't know why! It's a bad character trait that I have. I tend to think what I write is never good enough. (Thank God for my editor and his encouraging words.) So, I was glad they had something nice to say at all.

I was expecting flame throwers headed my way. I suppose the last line could count as one?

I know exactly how you feel...because it's exactly how I feel.

I will read my reviews...but yeah...never respond.

mscelina
07-23-2011, 06:23 AM
Considering some of the recent horror shows involving authors responding to reviews, I wouldn't respond to a review if Jesus left me a not about how awesome my punctuation was.

That being said though, I've read every review my books have ever gotten. I (fortunately) haven't gotten any bad reviews, although I have received head-scratching commentary sometimes. I can't stand the thought of there being a review out there about my books that I haven't read. So I read them, I comment out loud to the computer and then I run--don't walk, run!--away.

Switch-Phase
07-23-2011, 06:56 AM
Forgive my ignorance, but why shouldn't you respond to a review?

I don't intend to respond to any if I get them either, but I do imagine I'll be tempted to address some of them.. I have a feeling it's not a good idea, but I'd like to know from the professionals why it's so strongly discouraged.

Marian Perera
07-23-2011, 07:52 AM
That being said though, I've read every review my books have ever gotten. I (fortunately) haven't gotten any bad reviews, although I have received head-scratching commentary sometimes.

I did get a bad review. The reviewer hated the fact that my heroine starts out as a sex slave, and called me a "dirty old pervert".

I wrote about it on my LiveJournal account (which I don't link to) and commented, "Excuse me, I am not old."

But to the reviewer? Nothing. I figured a nasty review deserves obscurity rather than notoriety.

SPMiller
07-23-2011, 07:58 AM
Some writers have responded to reviews with the full blessing of the community. Others have responded and received only curses. Beware.

timewaster
07-23-2011, 01:52 PM
Forgive my ignorance, but why shouldn't you respond to a review?

I don't intend to respond to any if I get them either, but I do imagine I'll be tempted to address some of them.. I have a feeling it's not a good idea, but I'd like to know from the professionals why it's so strongly discouraged.

You write, other people respond. It is deemed unprofessional to respond to the response ( unless it is face to face and you have no damn choice)
Everything you have to say should be in the book already.
I have responded to nice reviews actually, if I've subsequently met the reviewer, come across them in a professional context, or on a blog but I would never respond to a negative review in any way.
I am far to nosy not to read reviews, but if you do that you will always get some nasty surprises. I know very few pros who haven't had truly horrible reviews at some point. Kids are the worst - their honesty is brutal.
You have to have a strategy to deal with it and entering any kind of dialogue with the review or the reviewer is not going to help.

Alitriona
07-23-2011, 04:15 PM
If someone links me to their review I will say thank you for taking the time to read, regardless of it's good or bad. One average review asked an open question to the author, I answered privately in an email and she was delighted I did. Otherwise I don't. It would put other reviewers off to know the author is breathing down their neck. Reviews are for readers, not a learning tool for authors. That's what we have betas and editors for.

charmingbillie
07-23-2011, 05:09 PM
What Carol said. I think there are writers who should tattoo this on their foreheads: REVIEWS ARE FOR READERS.

Reviewers aren't talking to the author. And a review of your book is not about you. They are reviewing the book as an object. Which, in my opinion, is as it should be. Especially in a world filled with thousands upon thousands of self-published books I want reviewers to be free to say whatever they want to say whether it's snarky or kind or good or bad.

This is not so much directed at the OP, as at the general nature of the discussion.

Undercover
07-23-2011, 05:09 PM
I agree with most of the others, never would I respond. If it was geared and sent to me directly, then of course yes. But when it's posted to the general public to view, definitely not. It's just unprofessional to me. Now if it was a book review, you can kindly thank the professional reviewers in an email, formal message directed straight to him or her, I don't think that would be bad.

I wanted to respond to a poor review from a reader, thanking them and telling them how sorry I was for wasting their time on my book. I was even going to go as far as reimbursing them with perhaps a free copy of another book they might be interested in, but I didn't. And I'm glad I didn't. Your initial reaction is to respond in some way, it's natural.

But it just becomes a slippery slope when it starts to be unprofessional. Just my two cents.

Stacia Kane
07-23-2011, 05:09 PM
If someone @ replies me in linking to their (positive) review on Twitter, I retweet with thanks. That's it. I do that is because I feel that reviewers work hard on their reviews and deserve recognition for that work, so I'm happy to pass it along. I also know a couple of people who've made new online friends through my review RTs, which makes me happy.

But I never reply to the review itself; I learned the hard way that no matter how open and friendly you're trying to be, and no matter how much you're genuinely trying to be helpful, it's just never ever a good idea.

I never read or comment in Goodreads discussions or discussions about my books anywhere else either, because readers deserve a private space without feeling like the author is watching them.

Christine N.
07-23-2011, 06:17 PM
I have replied to reviews on Goodreads - but only positive ones and ONLY with a 'thanks/glad you enjoyed the book!'

Many of those people are thrilled to hear from the author. I figure it encourages them to buy the next one. But of course this only works if they liked it ;)

I am not an advocate of replying to reviews in general - and replying to bad reviews with a rant is Bad Author Behavior, up there with replying to rejection letters. But I think a little acknowledgement from the author to thank a reader who liked a book isn't terrible.

Phaeal
07-23-2011, 07:05 PM
If a reviewer made direct contact with me, I would write a reply thanking them for taking the time to read and review. I'd keep it this neutral if the review was middling or bad. If it was good, I might be more effusive. ;)

Neutral politeness is key to responding to any review, whether it's a public one of a published book or a forum post from a critiquer or a face to face comment. Arguing with anyone other than your pro team (agent, editors) is pointless.

And maybe you shouldn't argue with the pro team, either. Just discuss things with the appropriate firmness. :D

Now in fan fiction, responding to a review/comments seems de rigeur. Since feedback is the only payment a fan writer gets, nonhostile reviews might be considered gifts, and you DO thank people for gifts, DON'T YOU? As original fic writers get more involved with social networking, I imagine that responding on a particular network to a review or comment on that network might become common courtesy.

bluerug
07-25-2011, 07:33 AM
Agreed, don't respond. Reviewers are not necessarily reviewing for honest purposes - some just like the sound of their own voices - but lack for whatever reason a proper writing vehicle. Most of the ones that do have something to say will either love you or hate you, and neither is helpful.

A number of years ago a prominent author in my particular field launched into a blog triad, attacking me personally. His outburst created a nice book sale spike for several weeks...I should of thanked him.

It's about you and your process. Shut everything else out.

C

bearilou
07-25-2011, 04:33 PM
Forgive my ignorance, but why shouldn't you respond to a review?

There are many cases on the internet where an author has responded to a reviewer and with the exception of one that I remember, it never, ever, ever made the author look good.

Maybe there are instances where an author responding to a reviewer was a favorable experience but those don't tend to set the internet on fire.

Instances like Anne Rice's meltdown of 'you're interrogating my text from the wrong perspective' (http://www.journalfen.net/community/fandom_wank/515245.html?nc=911) did.

I wish I had kept a log of all the times an author exploded at reviewers for 'misunderstanding them'. It's a truly spectacular mess to behold.

Sirion
07-26-2011, 07:21 AM
As a writer, you must try to hold on to every scrap of sanity left in you, and responding to reviews will work against this goal.

whimsical rabbit
07-26-2011, 01:20 PM
I did get a bad review. The reviewer hated the fact that my heroine starts out as a sex slave, and called me a "dirty old pervert".

:eek:

:ROFL::roll:

I'm sorry. It's just that, having read your book, this is the only possibly reaction to such a statement.

To the OP: On top of everything that everyone else has said, and with which I agree, do not respond to reviews, here is something else to think about.

So you respond to a review, yeah? Someone that gave you three stars and you want to show your appreciation. Fair enough. Then a bigger fan comes along, and gives you five stars. Surely you want to thank him, right? I mean he's a fan, he'd only be flattered by your attention, right? Before you know it, more reviews come, and you can't just respond to some, and leave others. And then comes the one-star review. What do you do then? Do you respond, or not? if you do, you're coming across as overdefensive and arrogant. If you don't, you may seem to be a snob, as you've replied to anybody else but them. So before you know it, you've trapped yourself in a never-ending dilemma.

The author needs to be invisible, that's what I think. A book is your gift to the, some, certain readers. They take it, and make it theirs. By responding, you somehow make yourself more obvious than you should.

So stand in the background, read the reviews if you want to, take the best from the worst, ignore what may harm you as an author, and give your fans even more reasons to buy you. :)

Marian Perera
07-28-2011, 10:18 PM
I'm sorry. It's just that, having read your book, this is the only possibly reaction to such a statement.

Thanks. :) The reviewer also said she hated it because she's a feminist and therefore couldn't stomach the misogyny in my world.

Made me hope she never reads historical fiction. Or, for that matter, The Handmaid's Tale, Watership Down, Ender's Game or The Lord of the Rings. Women don't exactly get equal time and/or equal rights in those books either.

So even if I had wanted to start a discussion, I didn't think we'd have much common ground. The review reminded me of the person who claimed Joss Whedon's Firefly was both racist and sexist because on that show, a black woman had to take orders from a white guy.

whimsical rabbit
07-28-2011, 11:25 PM
Thanks. :) The reviewer also said she hated it because she's a feminist and therefore couldn't stomach the misogyny in my world.

Riiight. Because, as we all know, the best way to fight misogyny is to conceal it completely and refuse it never existed. Obviously making a powerful statement with a strong female protagonist fighting against prejudices and misogyny cannot in any way contribute to anything.

:sarcasm