To respond or stay silent…

Public domain: Old Book by George Hodan

I just read an interesting discourse on whether or not an author should respond to critical reviews. Of course, I read this after I’d already established the practice of trying to respond to all of my readers (well, the ones that actually read my book) and took the time to leave feedback or reached out to me through email and social media (if I’ve missed some of you, I’m sorry, it wasn’t intentional.)

While the article was informative, what I found truly fascinating were the comments responding to it. They started out politely enough, but soon devolved into personal attacks on the blogger. It seems that some people view an author responding to reviews on their work as bullying (and I suppose it could be, depending on how the author responds. A few years ago, Anne Rice went a little ballistic on some of her critics.) But until today, it never occurred to me that thanking someone for taking the time out of their busy day to leave me feedback, could be so misconstrued.

I do respond, acknowledging my readers’ concerns. Not to put them on the spot or guilt them in any way, but to thank them. I’ve only been published a couple months, their insights have already been invaluable. And, although we may not always agree,  most of the time their thoughts have been well reasoned, and extremely helpful.

Okay, so some people didn’t like my book; hey, it happens. I’m still grateful for their patronage.  Not only did they purchased my book, they spent hours they can never get back reading the words of some unknown indie author. So yes, after giving both my readers’ praise and criticism thoughtful consideration, I do respond to them with courtesy and respect, not to apply undo pressure, but let them know their thoughts are important to me and that I’m listening.

Because They Matter… and that’s all I have to say on this.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. J.R.Barker says:

    I don’t respond to reviews. If I know the reviewer I will thank them, but I think that if someone leaves a review they’re leaving it for other people to judge my work.
    Maybe I should thank them, but I don’t know, I kind of feel awkward about it, like it’s a taboo.
    I suppose If a writer I didn’t know were to comment on a review I’d left I’d feel pressured into buying another of their books, and that might put me off.

    Don’t get me wrong I’m happy to interact with readers, but I’ve always steered away from reviews and If a reader genuinely wants to know about another release that would be a different matter.

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    1. I can see where you’re coming from, and perhaps I’d feel the same way if I didn’t specifically ask my readers to leave a review or comment at the end of my book. But since I do, it seems rude not to thank them for taking the time to do me this favor. Even when the review is critical, (I know, how could anyone not love my work right?) I still feel obligated to thank them for reading and taking the time to leave feedback.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. J.R.Barker says:

        I suppose so, I think I was told early on that it was a no no, perhaps it’s one of those things that has been instilled in me.

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      2. I’ve heard arguments on both sides of the fence. I ignore reviews that are mean spirited or obvious trolling efforts. I believe the important thing is to pay attention and accept criticism graciously and compliments with humility. Never, never, never attack the reviewer for giving their honest opinion. It’s not personal, and if you made mistakes, own them. (After changing the name of a character, I missed updating it in an entire scene. I would never have known if a reviewer on Goodreads hadn’t reached out and sent me an email.)

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      3. J.R.Barker says:

        Reviewers are like gold dust, I don’t mind if a reviewer reaches out, I’ll respond them, and own my mistakes. I don’t see the point in attacking anyone for their honest opinion, it seems counter productive to me.

        Like

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