Posted in Discussions, Posts

Authors commenting on reviews; okay or not?

Recently I read a post by The Bookavid, where they talked about all the reasons why authors shouldn’t comment on reviews of their own books. They talked about authors attacking people who wrote negative reviews, and obviously I’m completely against that. This is the bit that got me thinking, though, about commenting on positive reviews:Β 

This is an invasion of safe space. Reviewers sort-of exist in this bubble universe of the book industry. It’s absolutely okay to share a positive review of your book that you liked, that’s what they’re for after all – but oh boy, please, please don’t comment. Not even to say thanks. Just don’t.

I just can’t decide if I agree with this or not. I commented to say that I don’t think I’d mind if an author commented on my positive review, and they argued that we need those safe spaces. And besides, if we say positive is okay, where do we draw the line? Is three stars good or bad? Really, I see both sides to this, and I’m pretty conflicted.Β 

Authors who comment on reviews.jpg
Image from the Bookavid

A lot of the reviews I write are done in a particular way where I address the authors – I call them out for things they did wrong, I ask them to fix the thing in book 2, etc, especially if it was a book that was good but with flaws. I hope that they will read it, because I know they have the potential to be better. But I’ve only really just started becoming more twitter savvy over the last little while, so I often forget to tag the author in my review. Then it’s good if they find it on their own, and comment their thoughts! On the flip side, I would hate for them to think I’m criticising them, and get angry or offended about it. So, we go back to saying that maybe it is safer for them to not comment on any at all?

But then I think of them reading the posts, or sharing them, but not commenting on them themselves. This is where it gets even trickier. Imagine if your favourite author regularly stalked your blog, reading all your five star reviews, but never. Said. A. Word. Scary, right? But then, imagine if they did say something on every review, but book 4 fell really flat for you, and let down the series, and was a one or two star read. Could you go and rip it apart knowing that your fav was most likely going to read it? But for those positive reviews that are going to really make their day… It’s like I want to pick and choose what they read, and sometimes tagging them in a tweet isn’t going to do that!

What are we summarising in this post? Nothing, is the answer. I can see both sides, really. Maybe we all need big disclaimers on our blogs, letting authors know what’s acceptable and what’s not? Maybe we all need author’s private email addresses so we can send them the links? Let me know your thoughts, because I think it’s a really interesting topic!

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Author:

I was a book blogger for a while, and I now blog about every little thing in life I can think of. Bear with me while I try all these new posts out... I'm a New Zealand teen who gets angry about the world (but not angry enough for tumblr). I like to capture the world through photos and words, and read in all the moments in nz-squadbetween. I have an overwhelming desire to see every corner of the world I possibly can, and hug the people I love in all those corners. I can't do make up to save myself, and you're more likely to find me buying matching stationary than matching clothes. My nerd hobbies include a new found love of the Avengers, reading YA, watching Game of Thrones, How I Met Your Mother, and every vlogger I can find, and being the last person on the music bandwagons. I have big plans for the rest of my life, including university, teaching, travelling, and having an army of puppies. I plan to blog every second of it!

29 thoughts on “Authors commenting on reviews; okay or not?

  1. I understand why you’re conflicted because what you’re saying is true. However, personally, I think if you’re unleashing something to the world be it a book, blog or review – it’s more than likely going to be criticised. And as an author or writer or blogger, you voluntarily open yourself up to that because it’s public, and the public will have an opinion whether you like it or not – and that falls to both reviewers and authors, whereby, if a reviewer can critic your work, then so should an author be allowed to defend themselves and/or explain the reasoning. Now, I’m not saying that abusing someone for their thoughts is acceptable – but if it’s done in a tasteful, understanding…informational way, why should reviewers be exempt from the rules? Maybe I’m wrong in this, but that’s what I think πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is such a good point, I never considered that! I mean, I’ve thought about it with books, and that’s part of why I was thinking they shouldn’t get mad, because we have the right to criticise. I didn’t think of a review as it’s own sort of expression! That does make it better, thinking about it like that πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was pleased that Kathleen Rooney, the author of the forthcoming novel “Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk,” retweeted the post I devoted to a review of her book. It didn’t seem inappropriate to me. Both she and St. Martin’s Press editor Hope Dellon seem to be promoting the book pretty heavily, for obvious reasons. If I had given the book an unfavorable review I imagine they might have dismissed my feedback pretty quickly, but they seem too professional to actually confront someone who pans it. I could be wrong, though.

    As an aside, my pet peeve is when an author gives his or her own book five stars and writes a review saying, “I wrote this book so I guess I’m a bit biased.” That just seems tacky to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve had authors tweet at me or message me on Instagram saying they liked my review, but it’s only been on books that I’ve really enjoyed. I think it’s nice that they reach out, but at the same time I’ve never had an author say anything to me about books I didn’t enjoy. That makes me wonder if authors only look to see for the good reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I mean, it must be hard to try and nicely accept criticism for something you’ve spent so long working on, so it makes sense they only respond to the good. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if they just ignored them completely!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think that it’s okay for a writer to read and comment on reviews, but only if they respect your opinions. An author once emailed me about a review (it was a horrible review, I gave the book very few stars and called out every single thing I hated about it), but she really was open to my opinion and actually thought that I made really good points. It was kinda scary though because I felt like I was really hurting her feelings, because I said such bad things, but it was completely the other way around. Authors should be open to improvement and therefore they can learn from interacting with reviewers! So I think it’s okay, but maybe not comment on their blog but email them about it πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s really good that that author can be so open about the problems with the book! It sounds like they handled it really well, and if your review opened a discussion that’s definitely a good thing. I can imagine it’d be terrifying though!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes it was kinda terrifying but I think I learned that bad reviews are okay as long as they’re honest. Authors are only people and giving them your honest opinion can only make them better.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I totally get where you’re coming from, but I think my opinion is pretty clear. When an author asks me to review their book, I’m going to read and review it and then send them a link to it, because I assume they’ll want to read it and find out whether or not I liked it. If I totally loved the book and wrote a rave review on it, I appreciate when an author either emails me or comments on my post telling me that they appreciated my review or just that they’re glad that I liked the book. If I didn’t like the book, of course, they asked me to review it, so they have no right to criticize me in any way. Although I understand the “safe space bubble” idea, I think it goes against the basics of the review system. The only way the review and blogging industry continues to run properly is that the reviewer always writes completely honest and unbiased reviews, and they are published for anyone and everyone to see. Everyone includes the author, and we can’t pick and choose who sees which review, so I think we might as well accept that the author may read your review, and the reviewer has to make sure that they are okay with the author seeing whatever they wrote.
    -Amy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really like your reasons for this! Someone else said something similar, about how putting something out into the world always means criticism, regardless of if you’re an author or reviewer. And definitely if you’ve been asked to review it you should expect a comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ughhhhh, hard topic! I had never thought of it that way!
    I had the experience of personally discussing with an author why I didn’t like thing A or B on their books and it was so precious for both of us – at the same time that the author understood why someone may think differently, it also helped me to understand the story even better. I don’t know, I think this is one of those situations where we have to be sensible before doing anything. I do agree that reviewers need to feel confident to be honest on their opinions, but why can’t an author thank this person for their time? I’m so confused!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s really good that it opened a discussion, instead of you both fuming silently over things that the other person got wrong! I guess it’s a all or nothing situation, although it’d be perfect if they could see the good and never the bad

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is such a great topic, and I totally see both sides of the coin. But at the end of the day, I think it’s like this (for me anyway): An author has every right to comment about whatever they want on my public site, positive, negative, or otherwise. In turn, I have a right to roll my eyes if the comment crosses a line, tell my fellow bloggers “hey, Author Joe Assface just posted a rude comment on my blog”. Now, I do see where things get murkier with positives. I have had authors thank me for the nice review. I have no problem with it. If anything, I think that I kind of feel bad for the author, in a way, because obviously they have been reading ALL the reviews (I almost NEVER tag an author in a review, unless it is for a blog tour or is a new favorite 5 star+ situation, so they’d have to be seeking it out), and must have stumbled across some harsh ones.

    There have been a few situations where authors have either tweeted a review of mine, or in a few cases, DMed me thanking me. In those cases, it was quite classy, and I was fine with it. One author had just gotten her first one-star review, and it was the eve of her debut, and she was inconsolable when a friend saw my review go up right after it- and she thanked me because she said it made her feel okay about having her book release again. That was one of my best moments as a blogger- I really felt like I made a difference.

    So… basically, it isn’t cut and dry, but if someone asked my opinion? As an author, I wouldn’t comment on blogs. But I would probably tweet a positive review or acknowledge somehow if I stumbled across it? (I would also try to live in a bubble where I did NOT read reviews, because they would likely drive me insane.)

    My TL;DR version: I don’t care if an author comments, but they do so at their own risk πŸ˜‰ Such a thought provoking post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s really true, it must be awful if you’re reading so many negative reviews! But then for that author the positive made up for it, so it’s hard to know which ones you should read. DM’s seem better, they’re more personal! It’s so tricky to pick a side

      Like

  8. I totally see your point. However, I don’t really mind if authors say thank you for the review. I’m pretty sure some just say that to thank you without reading and maybe others acrually read it. In any case, my review has now been posted for ANYONE to read. If an author really wants to know how their books are doing and read Positive or negative reviews, that’s in them.

    What I don’t like is when an author behaves badly and destroys OR EVEN STALKS a reviewer (this actually happened!) for a negative, or what she thinks is a begative review. That is when I absolutely draw the line. Authors need to understand that although their book is their baby, not everyone will like it. But I do know some authors don’t take criticism well.

    As a reviewer, I only tag authors to positive reviews I write, usually 3.5-5 star reviews. For the lower rated ones, I don’t tag them directly. That’s just me. I still post them in my blog, Goodreads, & Amazon. If the author reads it, then it’s on them.

    Like

  9. I’m glad you made a post about this, if I was author I would want to see my reviews, if I didn’t I might make the same mistakes over and over again right? There is only one good reason why an author should get mad, and that is when a blogger is slandering the author, slandering anyone is illegal, but I trust that most people know that already. They shouldn’t get mad if a blogger thinks a book is bad. If I was an author and someone gave my book a bad review, I would ask why, what part of it did they not like? Was it boring etc, etc. Authors would improve their writing faster if they saw as many reviews as they could and they should be allowed to comment as long as they don’t say anything harmful to the blogger.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I completely agree with this! Authors don’t write to get compliments, they write because they love it, so of course you’d want to know how you can improve. And of course if you’re directly attacking the author it’s different, but most reviews only focus on the book itself. If both sides are just polite about it, it shouldn’t be a problem!

      Liked by 1 person

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