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AnnikaHTDC
09-03-2012, 04:00 PM
Obviously, responding to negative reviews in any way is a terrible idea, but I was wondering what people do in the event of a positive review. What level of engagement do you think is appropriate? A polite thanks? Initiating further discussion? Or do you just keep quiet and enjoy the praise from afar?

I received a really cool review from someone on Goodreads and I want to tell them I liked the review, but would my friendliness bring the non-bias nature of the review into question?

Captcha
09-03-2012, 05:07 PM
I responded to a few good reviews early on, with no negative repercussions, but I stay out of it, now.

I agree with your concern that it might make the good review look as if it's from a biased friend of yours, but it also may create a chilling effect for other readers who want to be free to comment as they see fit, without feeling like they're being watched. And if you try to respond to every favourable review, you're spending a lot of time on review sites, which can make you crazy.

Your sig shows that you are well represented on social media. Make sure that you're welcoming and friendly there, and use THOSE opportunities to talk to readers.

I'm a firm proponent (now) of leaving the reviews to the reviewers.

Wisteria Vine
09-03-2012, 05:13 PM
I think in this current climate of author vs. reviewer vs. fan, it's best to let the reviews lie there and quietly appreciate them. I wouldn't respond to a review if I were offered a million dollars.

(Well, okay...maybe if it were a million I'd do it, but you get the idea.)

Richard White
09-03-2012, 05:58 PM
The only way I would do it (and in general, I probably wouldn't) would be if I could do it privately. If they have an e-mail address, then sending them a short note thanking them for the review *might* be O.K., but I wouldn't do it on the public venue.

However, if the e-mail address was not readily available, I would not devote time to seek it out. Then it looks a tad creepy.

But, in general, and especially in today's author v. reviewer climate, I'd enjoy the review and move on to the next book. Or as Uncle Jim suggests, just don't read reviews to begin with.

If you're commercially published, then the fact that someone sent you a check is validation enough. If you're self-publishing, the fact that you completed a book and did all the work to get it out there is your own personal validation.

taylormillgirl
09-03-2012, 05:59 PM
I don't respond to rave reviews, and I've stopped "liking" them as well. I polled some reader friends, and most of them said they enjoy it when an author clicks "like" on their GR review. However, someone mentioned it bothers them when authors only "like" the good reviews and not the well thought-out negative ones. That's when I figured I might as well stay invisible, because I can't win.

James D. Macdonald
09-03-2012, 08:18 PM
The best way to respond to a positive review is by quoting it on the cover of the paperback edition.

Other than that ... other than the case where the review appears in the comment threads of your personal blog ... responding in any way is fraught with peril.

jjdebenedictis
09-03-2012, 08:18 PM
I don't think you should reply to positive reviews either.

People often have trouble being completely honest when they're speaking about a person who will definitely hear what they say. They feel a pressure to be polite when saying the words to that person's face.

Reviewers need a "safe" space to operate in so they feel comfortable with being unbiased and frank. They shouldn't feel any pressure to be polite.

When the author is present in the discussion (i.e. shows up to comment in any capacity), that can distort what the reviewer says in future, and I contend that the author has no right to exert any influence on a reviewer whatsoever (I consider it a type of fraud.) Therefore, I don't think authors should comment even on their books' positive reviews.

I want to make a distinction here, however.

It's beneficial for an author to interact positively with their fans. It helps cement the fans' affection for the author, which probably encourages them to spread more word-of-mouth recommendations for the author's work.

A fan certainly might leave a glowing review for your book. And you contacting that fan to say, "Hey, I stumbled across your review and it gave me the warm fuzzies. Thanks!" will probably give the fan a real thrill.

However, doing the same thing to a reviewer who liked your book, but feels no particular allegiance to you as an author, might make the reviewer feel under scrutiny and pressured.

I think you need to be very careful to separate your interaction with fans from your interaction with reviewers. In the case of positive reviews, it's so hard to know which one you're dealing with.

A fan would welcome the author thanking them for a positive review. An unbiased reviewer would not.

meowzbark
09-04-2012, 01:06 AM
As a reviewer, I don't mind if you "like" my review or say thank you for posting a review. But if you're going to do that for the positive reviews, then do it for the negative ones, otherwise it feels awkward.

AnnikaHTDC
09-04-2012, 01:36 AM
Thanks for the responses. I'm glad I didn't respond directly to the review. I did link it on my blog though so other people could read the review.

Kathleen42
09-04-2012, 02:25 AM
My thoughts (and I fumble a lot):

If someone @'s me the link to their review on Twitter, I always reply with a thank you. I occasionally retweet reviews but not often (unless the review is part of a blog tour).

I almost never comment on reviews on blogs and never leave comments on reviews on Goodreads.

I occasionally "Like" reviews on Goodreads but usually only if that person is another author. (Simply because I worry less about making authors uncomfortable.)

I do have a (seriously needs to be updated) review section on my website which includes quotes from both print reviews and review blogs.

Calla Lily
09-04-2012, 02:35 AM
I don't read reviews or respond to them... with the following exception. :)

I got a Google Alert with the first line of a review, and the addy for some reason looked Eastern European (it wasn't). Because of that, I took a deep breath and clicked. Turned out to be a review from a FL newspaper that linked to Susp3nse Mag... and the reviewer loved my books.

I found her on FB and sent her a private message thanking her. She reiterated her enjoyment of my books and we left it at that.

I linked to the review on my website and I've used 2 of her quotes on my postcard/bookmarks for the pre-release of Book 3.

That's my only exception. The moment I was done with it, I returned to my "never read reviews" policy.

Bubastes
09-04-2012, 04:39 AM
I've responded to reviews only when the reviewer emailed me directly with a link to the review, and even then it was only a brief thank you message. Otherwise, I stay out of it.

Polenth
09-04-2012, 04:41 AM
I have thanked people on Twitter. It can be an informal way of commenting, without looking like you're watching over the comment thread ready to pounce on anyone who says bad things. Even there though, it's when I know the reviewer or they @ me. I wouldn't seek out someone's contact details.

G. Applejack
09-04-2012, 04:55 AM
I've had authors thank me for positive reviews and... I don't like it. I'm happy they're happy, but it feels like a stranger has come up behind me, rubbing my shoulders and whispering in my ear, "Good job." Ew. Ick. No.

Susan Littlefield
09-04-2012, 05:43 AM
I wouldn't respond because that space, if you will, is for the reviewers. Don't become too dependent on reviews, because they are only opinions. :)

Susan Littlefield
09-04-2012, 05:47 AM
I've had authors thank me for positive reviews and... I don't like it. I'm happy they're happy, but it feels like a stranger has come up behind me, rubbing my shoulders and whispering in my ear, "Good job." Ew. Ick. No.

Yep. Let me have my opinion without strokes or reprimand.

There is one extenuating circumstance. I read an author friend's book and emailed him about how much I liked it. He asked if I would put a review on Amazon, which I did. He emailed me back and thanked me, which was appropriate in this situation. However, he did not respond to any reviews online.

Atlantis
09-04-2012, 05:55 AM
I got a really nice review for my novella a month or so back but the reviewer actually got a lot of things about the novel wrong. They confused Echo, a goddess, with Rachel, a minor character who appears in one character's vision of the future. Rachel is a mortal descendant of a goddess. Echo was born in ancient greece. The reviewer wrote that Echo discovers she is half god and finds herself in ancient greece in the middle of a battle.

Totally wrong. But I didn't say anything because the review was really positive. Should I have mentioned something? I was quite confused how they got it all so mixed up...

Susan Littlefield
09-04-2012, 06:25 AM
I got a really nice review for my novella a month or so back but the reviewer actually got a lot of things about the novel wrong. They confused Echo, a goddess, with Rachel, a minor character who appears in one character's vision of the future. Rachel is a mortal descendant of a goddess. Echo was born in ancient greece. The reviewer wrote that Echo discovers she is half god and finds herself in ancient greece in the middle of a battle.

Totally wrong. But I didn't say anything because the review was really positive. Should I have mentioned something? I was quite confused how they got it all so mixed up...

Nope.

Kathleen42
09-04-2012, 07:26 AM
Totally wrong. But I didn't say anything because the review was really positive. Should I have mentioned something? I was quite confused how they got it all so mixed up...

Nope. Pretty sure this happens to all books.

In the grand scheme, it's unlikely to matter that they got those details wrong. Saying something would possibly have embarrassed them and would, imo, have reflected badly on you. Just be happy they took the time to read and review--especially if the review was positive.

meowzbark
09-04-2012, 11:56 AM
Nope. Pretty sure this happens to all books.

In the grand scheme, it's unlikely to matter that they got those details wrong. Saying something would possibly have embarrassed them and would, imo, have reflected badly on you. Just be happy they took the time to read and review--especially if the review was positive.

Definitely this.

Especially if I don't review immediately after reading. I try to double-check on the spelling of names, but the minor characters typically blur together when I write up a review. Actually, I find it harder to remember details of a book if I loved it. The story/characters blend together so seamlessly that all I remember is the emotions I felt while reading. But if I hate a book, the details are all too clear.

Becky Black
09-04-2012, 01:15 PM
It's tough I know, it feels like natural politeness to say "thank you" when someone compliments you. But you just have to sit on your hands and not respond, whatever a review says. To do otherwise is fraught with peril, especially right now.

If the review is on a blog, rather than on Goodreads or Amazon then I think tweeting it (once, not six times a day!) or otherwise linking to it is good, since you're sending traffic to their site, and that's what bloggers want. So that can be your way of saying "thanks" without actually saying it!

shaldna
09-04-2012, 03:32 PM
Obviously, responding to negative reviews in any way is a terrible idea, but I was wondering what people do in the event of a positive review. What level of engagement do you think is appropriate? A polite thanks? Initiating further discussion? Or do you just keep quiet and enjoy the praise from afar?

I received a really cool review from someone on Goodreads and I want to tell them I liked the review, but would my friendliness bring the non-bias nature of the review into question?

Personally, I wouldn't do it unless I had asked them for a review and in that case I would just say thank you and leave it at that.

Anyone else, no matter how positive the review, I wouldn't respond.

I think it can make reviewers very uncomfortable.

Atlantis
09-04-2012, 03:53 PM
Nope. Pretty sure this happens to all books.

In the grand scheme, it's unlikely to matter that they got those details wrong. Saying something would possibly have embarrassed them and would, imo, have reflected badly on you. Just be happy they took the time to read and review--especially if the review was positive.

Cool. Glad I did the right thing and said nothing. I was very glad for the positive review.

Pyrephox
09-04-2012, 04:12 PM
I tend to think the reviewing space should stay largely clear of authors. Reviews are really for readers to talk to other readers, and adding the author there - even in a positive way - can chill the discussion.

I know a couple of times when I've reviewed games on my livejournal, and the creator of that software has read and responded to that review, it's been odd. Giddy and pleasant in the first moment, but then slightly stressful, especially if I liked the game but didn't give an unqualified good review.

Stacia Kane
09-04-2012, 08:40 PM
I mentioned in the very long reviews thread that my only response to positive reviews is to retweet it if it's tweeted to me (i.e. "My review of SACRIFICIAL MAGIC [link] @StaciaKane") and/or to post it on my blog or put the link on my website's Reviews page.

I don't respond to negative reviews at all. I rarely if ever see them; not because no one has ever left me one, of course, but because they generally don't tweet those at me :), and I don't go hunting. I don't look at my book's reviews on Amazon or Goodreads or whatever.

But for a positive review that's pointed out to me, I generally RT it with "Thanks!" or something. I do that because I feel I've basically been specifically invited to look at it and respond, so it's not an intrusion. And I post links and quotes on my site not just because my site is a sales tool, but because I personally feel that the reviewer in question ought to get some recognition for their hard work in writing the review. I've had readers connect because they both enjoy my work, because they both liked a particular aspect of it or whatever, and that's really nice.

For me it's a way to thank them without actually showing up at the review and responding. So readers who come across those reviews on their own don't feel like they're being "watched," but the reviewer him- or herself is acknowledged.

Buffysquirrel
09-04-2012, 08:57 PM
I used to respond with thanks to reviews of GUD magazine because I was genuinely grateful people took the time to read and review it (even if I didn't always agree with them!). And I was 'only' the editor, after all*. But as a lot of people here think it's a bad idea, maybe I should reconsider. I dunno, there is that very British thing that you should thank people.

*Not actually editing for them right now.

Pearl
09-16-2012, 06:44 PM
I just got my first review, and it was positive! The reader also had some suggestions that I felt tempted to respond to, but I realized that wouldn't be a good idea. But I did "like" the review because I wanted to save it and remember my first review which happened to be positive. Was this a bad idea? Should I unlike the review?

ETA: nevermind. I unliked it but saved the link (it was a blog post).

Jamesaritchie
09-16-2012, 09:37 PM
I have a simple solution. I don't read reviews. I can see no possible reason why I should. A review changes absolutely nothing about my stories, I'm not going to write according to what any reviewer says, and I just don't care, one way or the other.

The best possible review is a big royalty check. It means people who matter liked my book. The worst possible review is a rejection slip.

Really, what reason is there to read reviews? There will always be good ones, bad ones, and mediocre ones, and none of them matter.

Captcha
09-16-2012, 10:57 PM
We've all been through this before, but...

I read my reviews. Not all of them, but some. I read the pro reviews because I want to find quotations to put on my website and because they sometimes have useful commentary on my work, and I read the reader reviews because they're a good way for me to get an idea of what the general view of things is.

For my next book, I'm going to work on not having a 'rushed' conclusion. The comment has come up enough times from enough different places (and from several different titles) that I think it's probably a valid criticism. Now I have something to improve on!

I'm not proud about where suggestions come from. I want to be a better writer. I'll take any help I can get.