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Posted by on May 10, 2013 in Thoughts on Writing | 2 comments

R is for Regarding Reviews

Arguing and yawningThere’s sort of a controversy going on in the writing world. It’s about authors responding to reviews. Personally, I think the whole thing is a little silly.

It’s definitely grown out of hand.

For those of you who don’t keep up on the world of all things indie publishing, 2012 was apparently a big year for self-published authors responding to their negative reviews on Amazon to fight with reviewers about their opinions. I think some also attacked negative reviews that people posted on their blogs. It got so bad that some of the biggest book review blogs (I’m told) won’t review anything from an indie author.

As an indie author, I guess that sort of sucks.

If I wanted people to do reviews on blogs.

Anyway, I thought I’d go ahead and share my own review response policy with y’all, in case anyone was wondering.

What I want to do

I’m going to be really honest. Left to my own devices, I would probably take the time to thank anyone who left a review – good or bad. I’d like to say I’m not a total feedback whore, but…well…

I guess I am.

It’s not so much that I need constant ego stroking or anything. I could get unfettered praise from my husband. Or my mom. Or my cat. But someone leaving me a bad review? That’s freakin’ gold, y’all.

No, I’m not a masochist.

I just think that if someone hated the book enough to leave a negative review that I might be able to learn something from them. (Unless they had a problem with too much sex, violence or swearing because I put warnings for that stuff in the online blurbs. Same with cliffhanger endings.) If someone thought a character fell flat, I’d love to know why. Might not change anything about how I write my characters, but it’s good information to have.

Then again, there’s not really much you can do with the “you’re book is suck. please stop writing and die” reviews that I’ve seen posted on some books. It would take all my energy not to correct the grammar, so…yeah. There’s sense in staying away from those.

*Disclosure: At the time of this posting, I don’t have any negative reviews yet.

What I’m going to do

*hangs head* I’m not going to respond to any reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, B&N or any other site I don’t know about yet. Well…If someone does review my book on their blog, I would probably still go thank them in the comments if it was a reviewer I’d sought out about featuring me on their blog. That just seems like good manners.

This policy isn’t without its challenges though. I once noticed that someone asked a question about the series release schedule that only I would be able to answer. That was hard not to respond to. Then again…it’s not like I’m tough to find. If someone really needs to find out something about my books or release dates, I’m available on:

  • Facebook
  • Goodreads (questions would have to come via direct message, not as a review)
  • Twitter.

And, or course, right here.

And let’s face it…I talk to pretty much anyone who talks to me. I don’t work in an office, so social media is like my version of water cooler chat during the workday. Not that I’m complaining about working from home. Not getting up at dark-thirty to wash and dry my hair is worth the solitude. Seriously…it takes a mini-lifetime to get conditioner out of it some mornings.

But I digress. Since you don’t see Stephen King or James Patterson responding to their Amazon reviews, you won’t see me doing it either. Granted, James Patterson is probably too busy writing NYT ads about saving the important literature of our time through government bailouts to the publishing industry. (Oh, how I wish I were making that up!)

So, if you need to get in touch, you know where to find me. In fact, there’s a comment section directly below. Feel free to use it. What do you think about the issue of authors and reviewers fighting like cats and dogs? Or, you know…I slightly more original expression.

And if you’ve taken the time to leave a review or rating for Agents of Deceit on Amazon, Goodreads or B&N…THANK YOU!!!

Next Up: S is for The Shattered Alliance Book Release!

© 2013, Sydney Katt. All rights reserved.

photo by: quinn.anya
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  1. It’s wise not to feed the trolls, as they say, however, if I’m brave enough to put my true opinion about a book up on my blog (pro or con), I dig it when an author reads and responds. After all (singing) “we’re all in this together” and it’s nicey nice for authors to take a moment and value what we book bloggers do.

    • I agree. I can’t really see myself holding my tongue if a blogger decided to review me. Even if they trashed everything about the book, I’m probably still going to thank them for reading and reviewing…and then step away quietly because their opinion isn’t up for debate. But when I see authors responding to reviews on Amazon? No. Totally rubs me the wrong way as a reader. I can’t bring myself to respond there.

      And I’m so sorry it took so long for your comment to get approved. I had no idea it was sitting there since June. I wish I could figure out why WP stopped notifying me of comments in moderation. Grr. :(

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