Friday, April 20, 2012

To Comment or not to Comment

Should Authors Comment On Reviews?

This has been the big discussion on the web.  There are bloggers and authors on both sides of the fence, but most are stuck in the middle completely confused. Several bloggers have tried to come up with guidelines and several more have said not to bother.  So what do I think?  How do I feel?

I love comments!  If I have taken the time to write up a review and an author happens on the site and says something, even if its just a thank you, it makes my day :)  I really don't believe I am alone in this opinion.  But that is my blog.  I don't think the author should defend himself/herself in a comment if  its a bad review.  Nor do I believe that authors should be insulting if the reviewer  gave them a 3 or lower.  If you don't like the review, there is no need to make a spectacle of it.  There isn't a single book that everyone can agree on, so you will have good, bad, and in-between reviews.  Comments in no way intimidate me or sway my opinion.  If the author and I are friends, and I review his/her work?  I still can't be swayed.  I have made many good friends through my blog and I will tell them my honest opinion on their work.  If an author has asked me to review their work and then doesn't comment on it or in any way let me know they have read it, it makes me feel as if my time was unappreciated.  I'm not particularly picky about how I am contacted or how the author says thank you.  I did have a thank you card emailed to me from an author once and I was completely delighted :)  But Nat made some good points:

No matter the rating, as long as they reviewer was respectful, I believe a polite “thank you for your time” email is always the best approach to authors – especially those who don’t know much about the place the review had been posted. Now if you know the blog’s readership and the blogger, you can have the liberty of leaving a comment and engage a further discussion.
If you can’t contact the reviewer directly, you can always contact the website via email and tell them to please thank the reviewer for you – they will receive your kind note.
And you can always develop a relationship with the blogger for future events by contacting them. Even a simple “thank you” is good enough.
In Doubt – ask before commenting! And if you don’t have something polite to say, then stay quiet!

I can't speak for all bloggers and I was frankly shocked that some of them were said to be intimidated when they think the author is going to read the review.  Most authors will read a lot of their reviews, good or bad.  So if you are blogging, even if you are an unknown, you should expect at some point the author will visit you or read your review somewhere.  So what's my answer to these:

Reviewers feel more pressure when they know the author will read the review? Readers get intimidated knowing that the author will read their comment?  I don't agree.  If I loved your book or hated it, commenting on my review will not sway my opinion on the book.  But if the author is snide or rude, it may change my opinion of the author. 

What is your opinion?  Do you think authors should comment? And be sure to check out all the rest of these bloggers opinions:



Serenity said...

Hi Nikki! My instinct had always been to comment and say thank you to someone who'd taken the time to read one of my books and write a review, but I have to admit to taking a step back recently after several authors ran into problems. I understand that some reviewers may feel intimidated at the thought of the author reading their personal opinion of their hard work, especially if it's not completely complimentary. But as you said, it's all opinion. As a reader, I don't tend to post a review if it's less than a 3 star, because as an author, I think I'd rather not know if someone hated my work! However, although it's difficult, being part of being an author is accepting criticism, and being able to move on. Same with any creative art. Thanks!

Tin said...


Stopping in from the hop!

" If I loved your book or hated it, commenting on my review will not sway my opinion on the book. But if the author is snide or rude, it may change my opinion of the author. "

-- this was an excellent point. I have read about some instances when the author responds to reviews online (often the negative reviews) -- and it never ends well.

But I think reviewers also have the responsibility to write true, and honest opinions about the books they read -- and I like that you emphasized that in your post.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Faye: You are most welcome here, to comment on anything, especially after that amazing book I just read!! LOL

Tin..Thanks for stopping in. Reviewers play an important part in helping sell an author. But as one of my friends pointed out, sometimes a bad review will sell more books than an outstanding one. But everyone rates differently. I've seen book reviewers dock points for different things such as cussing, BDSM, or just sexual scenes. Its important to read ALL of the review and not just the rating because in most instances the reviewer will state why he/she rated the book so low and in turn the author may not really need to be disappointed. Im often shocked at what actually motivates reviewers to throw low scores out there.

Jenn of Frequent Reader, Infrequent Blogger said...

Personally I love writing reviews but HATE rating them. The only reason I even offer ratings is because you can't really cross post without them. I think the content of my review tells an author a lot more than a star rating.

I don't feel intimidated by the idea of the author reading my review or commenting on it. It's my opinion and I'm entitled to have it. If I didn't feel my opinion was completely truthful then I would't post it.

I also really like comments so when an author finds their way to my blog I'd love it if they took a couple minutes out of their day to comment. I'm a smaller blog and I don't get a lot of comments and interaction so when the person whose work I read take the times to say hey read your review, that makes me happy. I can understand now after reading a lot of these why people don't want comments but since I don't do as much social networking as most bloggers I wasn't really aware of the controversy.

Great post I enjoyed reading it.

Nat (Lendo Romances) said...

True, we can change our opinion about the author depending on how they decide to comment. ANd the postcard, that's so nice! I've had swag sent to me once =D

Thanks for participating!

Wendi Zwaduk and Megan Slayer said...

Hi Nikki! I look at reviews this way, no matter how good or bad the book is (especially mine), no one is going to agree on how good or bad it is. And that's fine. I'd rather we all have opinions rather than having the same one. My POV on three star and lower reviews? They happen. I try to thank everyone no matter what (as long as I know the review is out there). I also look at it this way, if the book is rated three or lower, then there was something that didn't work for that reader. If the reader tells me what didn't work for them, I listen.

Thanks nikki!

Unknown said...

Great post. I don't think when I am writing a review that the author ever crosses my mind. I do this blogging thing to share what I love...books. If the author likes my review YAY, if not oh well. I can't please everyone & I don't try to.

Unknown said...

Jenn...I have a few author friends that kept me in the loop. I was really surprised myself, never thinking that this would be an issue.

Reading..Didn't that just make your day? Itreally is nice when stuff like that happens!!

Wendy..I so agree. How boring would it be if we all thought the same thing?

Vanessa...I agree! I don't, will this review please the author? I write how I feel.

felinewyvern said...

It's nice to see an author respond but understandable that they don't always have time to do so :D

Anne said...

I think authors should comment only when there are factual errors in the review.

Megan@Riverina Romantics said...

He Nikki! I'm just hopping through but I'm with you, I was shocked as well to learn that reviewers feel more pressure or feel intimidated if an author comments. My thought to that is to ask why the review was written in the first place if the reviewer didn't want it to be seen.

Unknown said...

ilona...I agree. It does make your day when an author acknowledges your review, but it is understandable considering this discussion we are all having now if they choose not to comment.

Anne...Do you mean in the review itslef or in the reviewers interpretation of the material?

Hey Megan!! :) Its nice to see you pop in!! I do agree. There is the off-shot that even the big-wigs will pop in and say something. You always take that chance when you make your opinions known!!

Thanks for stopping in everyone!!

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