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gothicangel
08-17-2011, 01:55 AM
When I'm reading a book that is similar to what I'm writing, I like to read the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads to see what others think, and pick up on what potential readers think is tired, cliched etc.

I have started reading a book by an author called Anthony Riches, and reading some of the reviews I clicked on the comments. I then noticed the person referring to the author as Tony berating the reviewer for being too picky. Odd, I thought, this commentor doesn't happen to be an acquaintance of Mr Riches would he?

I know we talk a lot about authors not responding to reviews [even editors!], but I found the fact that friends leaving comments berating a reader's [entitled] opinions with a very nasty taste in my mouth.

Thoughts?

Maryn
08-17-2011, 02:09 AM
Bad idea, sending one's friends in to fight one's battles. The work has to stand on its own, and it makes the author seem like a petty amateur to have his pals defend him.

Maryn, thinking two cents doesn't get you a lot any more

Mr Flibble
08-17-2011, 02:14 AM
To be fair, the author may not have asked his friend

I have a couple of well meaning friends who I have banned from commenting. Because they would do exactly that, berate a reviewer and while they don't, it;s not because they don't want to - they want to defend me to the hilt. I've tried to explain how detrimental this would look but.. it's best just to tell them I'll smack 'em one if they do :D

Friends sometimes do things for the right reasons, but with the wrong results.

swvaughn
08-17-2011, 03:31 AM
Yeah, what Idiots said. Sometimes really good and well-meaning but misguided friends take it upon themselves to defend authors, and don't actually mention to said authors that they're going to defend them, until they have actually done so.

These well-meaning friends further might not be well-versed in netiquette, and therefore unaware of the Golden Rule of "Never respond to reviews."

Sadly, the casual reader does not understand that the well-meaning friends acted without the author's knowledge, and therefore are not speaking on behalf of the author, and therefore are not in fact sock puppets, mean grrls, trolls, or any of the things the responders are invariably labeled. And no amount of protestation on the part of the author will sway the readers, because that's "interfering" or "responding to reviews."

When it's actually responding to responders who responded to responders of reviews, but who's keeping track?

Sigh.

(personal experience may or may not have anything to do with my response about responders responding to responders who have responded to a review)

leahzero
08-17-2011, 04:50 AM
Or how about the friends/fans who vote-bomb a review with unhelpful votes when they disagree with the reviewer's opinion, however well-stated? Gotta love that.

Darkshore
08-17-2011, 05:18 AM
Personally I can't hold that against the author. I know my friends would do the same whether I wanted them to or not.

Wordwrestler
08-17-2011, 09:40 AM
Personally I can't hold that against the author. I know my friends would do the same whether I wanted them to or not.

Yes, this is one of my concerns, that when I get a bad review, a friend might respond inappropriately. They might even mention they're my friend, which would be even worse.

LauraAnnSwanson
08-17-2011, 09:53 AM
Slightly off topic, but I also check reviews on , well, basically everything.

Particularly on books, though. I first note the star/chili pepper/etc rating, and then scroll through some reviews.

I really, truly hate it when writers so obviously have their first 5-10 reviews all glowy and perfect 5 stars or whatever, and then the rest are along the lines of "What is this crap?" Obvious throwing of the average with Uncle Bob's and Grandma's reviewing their work.

Wayne K
08-17-2011, 10:17 AM
I saw an author with 17 five star reviews go after a person who gave her 1 star , and someone else came in and commented that the book had spelling errors (yes, plural) on the first page. She stopped promoting after that

gothicangel
08-17-2011, 11:24 AM
Or how about the friends/fans who vote-bomb a review with unhelpful votes when they disagree with the reviewer's opinion, however well-stated? Gotta love that.

I see that sooo many times on Amazon. You also just know that they've also gone through all the 1*, 2* and 3* reviews and done the same. :)

gothicangel
08-17-2011, 12:28 PM
Personally I can't hold that against the author. I know my friends would do the same whether I wanted them to or not.

I don't hold it against the author, but as Maryn has said it makes the author look petty.

If the friend didn't like what that reviewer said about the book, he really isn't going to like my review. ;)

shaldna
08-17-2011, 01:20 PM
It does reflect badly on the author, but sadly it's often out of their control.

scarletpeaches
08-17-2011, 03:54 PM
I had a friend respond to a bad review once (not on Amazon) and I had to ask her to stop in case people thought I'd put her up to it.

As it happens, the reviewer was a fucking idiot and I wonder if he'd even read the book or comprehended what I was trying to do with the characters, but it still wouldn't have looked right if I'd allowed the back-and-forth to continue. Even though my friend was in the right, it couldn't have ended well.

Alitriona
08-17-2011, 04:04 PM
One of my friends has reviewed both my books on Amazon.uk. I didn't ask her to and she didn't tell me. She does clearly state she's a friend. Other than that I can't get family or friends to buy my books never-mind review. I'm not even sure any of my family have an amazon account. So I presume I won't have to worry about them sticking up for me if I ever get bad reviews.

However, if I thought it was a possibility I would absolutely encourage them not to.

Stacia Kane
08-17-2011, 04:10 PM
It does reflect badly on the author, but sadly it's often out of their control.


This. I've told my friends and family to never, ever respond to my reviews, but that doesn't mean they're always going to listen.

Phaeal
08-17-2011, 04:47 PM
If I would respond to a review whether I knew the author or not (usually because the reviewer makes factual errors), I'll respond re a friend's book. Always ending up, of course, with a "And you're a poopy-pants baby." Gotta be classy.

:D

bearilou
08-17-2011, 05:01 PM
Always ending up, of course, with a "And you're a poopy-pants baby." Gotta be classy.

And you just set the bar!

gothicangel
08-17-2011, 05:34 PM
Okay, the book is really bad. I just burst out laughing.

Has to be a first though, a moustache-twirling Praetorian Guard. :ROFL:

gothicangel
08-17-2011, 05:49 PM
Just been back on Amazon and found this comment . . . from the author:



I see I'm in good company, since you've also stuffed a perfectly good Wilbur Smith up with a low star review not because his book was a poor read, but because it upsets your delicate sensibilities. Thanks for putting a dent in my overall score for the book for the sole reason that you don't like swearing.

And seriously, I know there are authors who don't use the bad language because they fear it scares off readers, but in reality soldiers swear. A lot. And that's the audience I write for. So please do me a favour and don't buy any more of my books ever again. Or, for that matter, review them.

Glad he doesn't need the reviewer buying his books, because I won't be buying any of his again either!

bearilou
08-17-2011, 05:58 PM
Just been back on Amazon and found this comment . . . from the author:



Glad he doesn't need the reviewer buying his books, because I won't be buying any of his again either!


OMG, I think I ran across that book some time back.

Made the same decision you did.

shaldna
08-17-2011, 06:20 PM
Just been back on Amazon and found this comment . . . from the author:



Glad he doesn't need the reviewer buying his books, because I won't be buying any of his again either!



Classy.

Monkey
08-17-2011, 06:32 PM
He just lost another few potential readers.

shaldna
08-17-2011, 06:33 PM
I just had a quick peek at his other reviews and he seems to be in the habit of responding to anything negative said against him. Admittedly it's not all as hostile as the example above, but it's just not professional at all.

Darkshore
08-17-2011, 07:33 PM
Just been back on Amazon and found this comment . . . from the author:



Glad he doesn't need the reviewer buying his books, because I won't be buying any of his again either!


Ouch...apparently the author is one of "those" writers that make all of us look bad.

gothicangel
08-17-2011, 07:45 PM
I just had a quick peek at his other reviews and he seems to be in the habit of responding to anything negative said against him. Admittedly it's not all as hostile as the example above, but it's just not professional at all.

Just wait until he sees my review. :evil

James D. Macdonald
08-17-2011, 07:49 PM
Y'all know about the ABM, right? The Author's Big Mistake?

It's replying in any way whatever to a bad review.

Marian Perera
08-17-2011, 08:00 PM
Someone who reviewed my book (I'm not sure they read it) took umbrage at the fact that medieval societies didn't have equal rights for women and made a nasty comment about me.

I posted about it on my LiveJournal account, which I don't link to from anywhere, and my friends commiserated, but there was no question of them going to that particular site to argue with the reviewer.

swvaughn
08-17-2011, 08:55 PM
Just been back on Amazon and found this comment . . . from the author:



Glad he doesn't need the reviewer buying his books, because I won't be buying any of his again either!


Yeesh. This always seems to happen when I give someone the benefit of the doubt (not that I think I'm going around granting The Power of Stupid(tm) to people or anything...)

I can overlook a friend comment. This -- while I'm sure the author was terribly upset, if the review really is low-starred just because of language -- is The Big No-No.

However. Some day when I decide I can't stand all the baggage that comes with writing and being published any more, I'm SO going to go totally nuclear on every single one of my books that is listed anywhere with attached reviews. Complete with "you loosers just don't understand my JENIUS" and lots of ALL CAPS and exclamation points!!!11!!!!eleventy!!!!

I'm tempted to quit now, just to blow off that steam. Man, that would feel sooooo good. :D

bearilou
08-17-2011, 09:24 PM
Yeesh. This always seems to happen when I give someone the benefit of the doubt (not that I think I'm going around granting The Power of Stupid(tm) to people or anything...)

I can overlook a friend comment. This -- while I'm sure the author was terribly upset, if the review really is low-starred just because of language -- is The Big No-No.

However. Some day when I decide I can't stand all the baggage that comes with writing and being published any more, I'm SO going to go totally nuclear on every single one of my books that is listed anywhere with attached reviews. Complete with "you loosers just don't understand my JENIUS" and lots of ALL CAPS and exclamation points!!!11!!!!eleventy!!!!

I'm tempted to quit now, just to blow off that steam. Man, that would feel sooooo good. :D

If you need to, email me. I'm a great sounding board with a lot of nodding and saying THEY TOTALLY DON'T, ZOMG!!11! THER JUS LOZING LOOSERS!!!1!!111! Then encouraging you NOT to respond to THEM.

And I never repeat to a soul what was said.

Margarita Skies
08-17-2011, 09:53 PM
When I become a published author someday, and my book gets released, I am going to beg all my friends and family members to not, under any circumstance, and for any reason, respond to reviews of my book. I think that only makes the situation much worse for the author than it already is, and most people will think that the reviewer is the author pretending to be someone else, or many other people, and then the situation will get much worse, again. No, just no. I know not everyone's going to like my work, or me :D so I just leave them alone and let them think what they want and voice their opinions because we're all entitled to freedom of speech. I don't try to interfere with someone's right to express their opinion because I abhor it when someone tries to censor me. I just want to punch that person in the face, although I don't, but... you get the idea. If an author wants to change reviewers' negative opinions, all they have to do is everything in their power to become better at their craft, and better, and better. Responding to a review and insulting everyone doesn't make the difference. At all. Just work hard to become better and in the end there will be far less negative reviews and far more positive ones.


Just my 2 cents.

C. K. Casner
08-17-2011, 10:09 PM
[QUOTE=Queen of Swords;6451089]Someone who reviewed my book (I'm not sure they read it) took umbrage at the fact that medieval societies didn't have equal rights for women and made a nasty comment about me.

They left a nasty comment about historical accuracy? Sometimes people amaze me.

PortableHal
08-17-2011, 10:27 PM
Y'all know about the ABM, right? The Author's Big Mistake?

It's replying in any way whatever to a bad review.

This can be hard to remember, especially when a review seems wrongheaded. Absolutely true, though.

fireluxlou
08-17-2011, 11:00 PM
I just looked up his books and he responds to a lot of negative reviews. I dealt with someone a few years ago who was close friends with the author and they disagreed with my review and wrote a really "you don't understand the genius of this author, this author is my friend delete your 1/2/3 star reviews now!!!" which annoyed me and many others who reviewed them.

Everyone knew it was a friend as they reviewed the book like 2 years before it was published and were the first to review as it was listed on Amazon. They responded to everyone who didn't post a 5 star review. There were a lot of reviews. Now the author has released another book and they've done the same again. I bet she's been told to just ignore that person.

Mharvey
08-17-2011, 11:05 PM
Reminds of Kanye West...

"I'm happy for you, and imma let you finish... but MY FRIEND WROTE THE BEST BOOK I EVA READ!!!"

WriteMinded
08-17-2011, 11:58 PM
Not very classy for the author to respond. I understand, it just isn't done. But, it wouldn't stop me buying the guy's books. If I like the works he produces, I don't care what he does, or who he does, or how he does it.

gothicangel
08-18-2011, 01:44 AM
I actually sympathize with reviewer. I did feel the fifty pages I have read so far littered with the f-bomb and the c-word.

Now, I ain't no prude. My characters have filthy mouths, but not at the rate he was dropping them at.

What he should have said: 'thank you for the review, it is something I will consider in future.' Next time a customer complains to me at work that their food is cold, I think I should answer 'picky, picky.' :tongue

gothicangel
08-18-2011, 10:59 AM
If I like the works he produces, I don't care what he does, or who he does, or how he does it.

So if you were in a fashion boutique in Paris, and said you didn't like the cut of a shirt. The designer then comes up to you and starts to rant telling you to not buy his designs again, you would still buy them?

I don't think so. I don't think I would ever buy their goods again. It doesn't matter if you are an author, retail assistant or waitress. Bad customer service is bad customer service.

shaldna
08-18-2011, 12:42 PM
I wonder if he's gonna go all Rice or Hamilton on his readers?

gothicangel
08-18-2011, 02:00 PM
I wonder if he's gonna go all Rice or Hamilton on his readers?

LOL!

skylark
08-19-2011, 08:24 PM
I was intrigued, and went off to look at the reviews.

And...is his centurion hero of a series set in Roman Britain really called Marcus Aquila?

I know names can't be copyrighted, but Marcus Aquila is the hero of Rosemary Sutcliff's Eagle of the Ninth to me, and always will be. What a very odd choice.

Marian Perera
08-19-2011, 08:31 PM
They left a nasty comment about historical accuracy?

Yup. A woman who's been the equivalent of a prostitute in a medieval society is unlikely to have led a happy carefree life, but the reviewer took this as evidence that I was a misogynist. And also a pervert, since I'd written about a woman who'd been the equivalent of a prostitute in a medieval society.

I got the impression that this reviewer would have felt the same about any fiction which didn't portray women as equal to or better than men, so even if I'd wanted to discuss the review, we really didn't have any common ground.

gothicangel
08-19-2011, 09:00 PM
I was intrigued, and went off to look at the reviews.

And...is his centurion hero of a series set in Roman Britain really called Marcus Aquila?

I know names can't be copyrighted, but Marcus Aquila is the hero of Rosemary Sutcliff's Eagle of the Ninth to me, and always will be. What a very odd choice.

I know, all he did was change the middle name. There is only one Marcus Aquila. :)

Supposedly, there are a lot of plot points that are too similar to the plot of The Eagle of the Ninth.

Having now read [and gave up at p.110] his book, I have left him a detailed critique for him. ;)

gothicangel
08-19-2011, 09:04 PM
Yup. A woman who's been the equivalent of a prostitute in a medieval society is unlikely to have led a happy carefree life, but the reviewer took this as evidence that I was a misogynist. And also a pervert, since I'd written about a woman who'd been the equivalent of a prostitute in a medieval society.

I got the impression that this reviewer would have felt the same about any speculative fiction which didn't portray women as equal to or better than men, so even if I'd wanted to discuss the review, we really didn't have any common ground.

I've just started reading Ben Kane's The Forgotten Legion [which is very good] and looked up it's reviews on Amazon. Kane was getting 1* reviews for characters who believed in magic. Sheesh. It didn't even occur to these people that people 2000 years ago did believe in magic, the Romans feared it.

shaldna
08-22-2011, 04:23 PM
.

Having now read [and gave up at p.110] his book, I have left him a detailed critique for him. ;)



I just read that. And the response - where of course he told you that you were wrong.

*sigh*

skylark
08-22-2011, 11:05 PM
Query: would it be wrong to respond to a bad review along the lines of "thank you for taking the time to review - I much appreciate hearing all opinions of my work." Or does it just sound snarky?

I guess it's coming from a fanfic background where reviews and critique are more interchangeable, but to me only responding to positive reviews would be remarkably arrogant. Or is responding to any reviews of professional writing considered unprofessional and wrong?

Either way I'm startled that a pro author hasn't yet discovered sitting on his hands for 24 hours before responding to something which pushed his buttons.

gothicangel
08-23-2011, 01:38 AM
I just read that. And the response - where of course he told you that you were wrong.

*sigh*

Did he? I haven't looked - and don't intend to.

Love the fact that he saying I'm wrong. Bet he won't visit the sites I suggested either!

Jamesaritchie
08-23-2011, 06:56 PM
Does it matter? The only thing sillier than judging a book by its cover is judging it by a review from anyone.

wheelwriter
08-23-2011, 07:30 PM
Does it matter? The only thing sillier than judging a book by its cover is judging it by a review from anyone.

It's true. The internet is full of people who give bad advice.

Torgo
08-23-2011, 07:58 PM
I've just started reading Ben Kane's The Forgotten Legion [which is very good] and looked up it's reviews on Amazon. Kane was getting 1* reviews for characters who believed in magic. Sheesh. It didn't even occur to these people that people 2000 years ago did believe in magic, the Romans feared it.

(Was curious and looked up the comments you mention. It seems the complaint is not that the characters believe in magic but that the plot seems to - that the soothsayers' entrail-reading actually seems to work within the context of the novel. I could see that being a valid criticism.)

gothicangel
08-23-2011, 11:12 PM
Does it matter? The only thing sillier than judging a book by its cover is judging it by a review from anyone.

I think you've missed the point of the thread.

The question is why the author cares so much about reviews, to rant at readers who disliked the books?

Especially when it comes from someone telling them the book is historically inaccurate, at the author still doesn't realise it.

I spent a lovely day at a 4 hour guided tour of Trimontium, and I'm still right. Also got some fab material for my own novel. :tongue

gothicangel
08-23-2011, 11:13 PM
(Was curious and looked up the comments you mention. It seems the complaint is not that the characters believe in magic but that the plot seems to - that the soothsayers' entrail-reading actually seems to work within the context of the novel. I could see that being a valid criticism.)

Good point, thanks for that!