Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Review Ettiquette

Reviews are a big thing in the author world. They can make or break you, really. You do your best to put out a quality piece of work; but in the end, no matter the perfection, the readers still get their say. They get to say if they appreciate the work you've done.

It seems that there is an ongoing debate about whether or not authors should comment on reviews of their work. Even if that comment is a positive one, such as a thank you. As an author, one would think it courteous to say thank you to a reviewer. After all, good or bad, they did take the time to review your book. I used to think it would be okay to say thank you, what harm could come, right?

I saw someone say that authors should stay away from their reviews. If you must read them, read them, but do not comment on them under any circumstances. Even to say thank you. This person said it seems obsessive, and I might be inclined to agree with him. If a reader wants to talk to you about your book, they will contact you. If they can't contact you, you're doing it wrong.

I've seen authors go the other direction and completely lose it on a reviewer, not cool. I've also seen authors go on their Facebook pages and other social media sites and completely bash someone for leaving them a one star review. This makes me not want to read your book. If I have read your book, this makes me certain that I will not leave you a review, ever. I don't want to be the next topic of public flogging on your blog.

So, here's my advice, both as a writer and a reader.

Don't comment on reviews of your book.
Don't comment on reviews of your book.

and third,

Don't comment on reviews of your book.

If you feel obligated to thank someone for their review, send them a private message, don't use public forums to thank the reader. Thank-you's are like potato chips. "If I give one to you, I have to give one to everybody else." Also, don't flog the lower ratings on your blog/website/twitter/facebook page. All you're going to accomplish is making sure less people leave you a review...and you're going to draw attention to your lower ratings. People are snoopy, guaranteed at least some of them will go and read this review you hate so much. Don't do it.

Just. Don't. Do. It.

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