Friday, April 20, 2012

Blog Event: To Comment or Not to Comment?

Authors On Reviews: To Comment Or Not To Comment

Nat at Reading Romances has posed the question:

Should Authors Comment On Reviews?

Now, I've seen this same question on many, many discussions by authors and by reviewers. As a side note, I also review for a large reviews site, so am coming at this question from a couple of perspectives.

As a reviewer, I love, Love, LOVE to hear from authors. It makes me feel as though I've been heard, as though my little blog and my reviews matter somehow. I try to be kind, even when I don't love a book -- In that instance, I try to find the good things and to be gentle and constructive with the things I didn't enjoy. I don't believe it tearing apart an author's book.

Do I think an author should comment on reviews? Yes, but ...

I don't think they should defend or explain those things that a reviewer may not have liked. That's going to start a battle, and in the long run all it will do is make the reviewer and the author (and quite possibly a bunch of other folks) really annoyed.

In this world of massive social media, it's amazing how quickly word gets out about someone who's being less than gracious. I've watched authors AND bloggers get torn to shreds because of something they've said or done.

If it's a rave review, there's no harm in an author gushing a bit ("Thank you so much -- I'm SO glad you loved the book!"), and if it's not so great a simple "Thank you for taking the time to review my book." works. It's classy. It's kind. And I think the reviewer will appreciate it.

I know that a common thought amongst authors is to NOT comment on reviews. I disagree. If someone does you a favor -- holds the door for you, helps you pick up what you've dropped, pays for your coffee -- you say thanks. You don't spend an hour telling them how much it meant to you, but you do say "Thank you."

Or you should.

What do YOU think? I'd love to hear from both authors and reviewers on this. And I'm sure these other participants would, too!


  1. Very interesting and well thought out post. I have to agree about really liking a comment but at the same time I can't say that I don't tear apart books. I never set out to but I'm sure some writers view some of my reviews that way. I kind of write my reviews as sort of a conversation, though I do have points I try to hit on in every review ie plot, characters, point of view and overall opinion, the rest of my review is what comes into my head when I'm writing. Since I'm naturally critical and often sarcastic I'm fairly sure some people think I'm tearing their book apart even though that's honestly not my intention. I think it's on the reviews where I didn't really like the book that I'd be most interested in an opinion though because obviously I didn't get the author's vision for the piece and I'm curious as to what it is. Anyway I enjoyed reading your post. :)

  2. I think it's part of the netiquette! Be nice, be polite!

    Thanks for participating!

  3. Great thoughts on this issue. I completely agree.

  4. I think a thank you is never a mistake. It is interesting seeing the many different options on this subject.


So... inquiring minds want to know: what do you think?