Can I (An Author) Respond to Reviews?

Should Authors Respond to Reviews, EVER???

As I was scrolling through a certain social media site this morning, I ran across a posted article by BookRiot and entitled “Dear Authors: Don’t Respond to Goodreads Reviews.” Written by Brenna Clark Gray and originally published on July 10, 2015, this article discussed a certain author ‘going off’ on a reviewer. Using this as a basis for her opinion, Ms. Grey proceeded to conclude that authors should not respond to any reviews, good or bad, because even to say thank you is to intrude on the reviewers “reviewing space” which, apparently, could be compromised and their ability to write a completely honest review would fly out the window (I’m rephrasing here but I believe that was the basic gist of the paragraph.)

If you would like to read the article, click – here– to do so. I would also like to suggest that you go on to the Book Riot Facebook page – here – and find this post to read the comments. While a few seem horribly venomous and slightly under-educated about the idea, the comments really serve as a good cross-section of research for readers’ feelings on the subject.

The comments on that post were honestly what made me think more on this topic. The idea that an interaction with an author, no matter how respectful it is, could make someone uncomfortable is something I really had never thought of. As both an author and an avid reader, I’ve always nerded out at the littlest minute possibility that my writing heroes noticed my existence! But then again, I don’t believe that I ever told them they were stupid and uneducated, which some of the reviewers do on occasion.

So what answer have I come up with after pondering this question for a few hours? What has my reading and writing brain concluded? Well, in my semi-expert (in my own mind anyway) opinion: Go for it! Answer those reviews respectfully. But DO NOT ANSWER THEM IMMEDIATELY!

What I mean by this is not that you should look at an absolutely horrid 1-star review that gives no reasons for their loathing of your life’s work other than the idea that you were born without a brain and a chicken quite possibly transcribed your story, stew on it for a few hours, and then write a well worded, scathing, and absolutely equally horrid response insinuating that the reviewer is, in fact, living with the half brain donated by their family’s beloved pet donkey. No. That is, in fact, a very poor plan. Because however else I feel about Ms. Grey’s article, I 100% agree with the statement that no matter what the outcome, an author who responds in such a manner will be hurt by it.

Do NOT tell them how stupid they are. Someone who can’t spell basic words once reviewed a book of mine a trashed it. They claimed the book was rife with spelling and grammar mistakes and that it took away from the story. However, they rated it a 3 star and proceeded to state that they had bought the other two books and were currently reading the second (at the time). I wailed and went off about that for days. However, I did not respond (ok…I may have responded and then immediately deleted my response). That kind of back and forth will probably never do any good and even hollering about my degree in education, heavy on English and Music would only serve to make me look worse.

So what, then, do I mean? If we can’t respond to the uglies, what can we do? We can cry, scream, cuddle those stuffed animals saved from our childhood that we swear are only there to inspire our next great children’s book…and then we can move on to other reviews. The reviews that include reasons for the low rating, questions about areas in the book that confused them, or even glowing recommendations. These are something that might provide for a GOOD interaction with our readers. For these, I would suggest reading them multiple times, letting the questions or comments simmer, and then writing out a respectful response that asks for more detail about where/what their complaint pertains to in the story or answering their questions. If you cannot do this in a respectful, kind manner then DO NOT RESPOND AT ALL! However, if you can respond appropriately, this can lead them to connect with you on other sites, possibly even garnering recommendations or new readers.

Additionally, if they have specifically commented on something they enjoyed about your story responding with a little information about that segment, a little behind-the-scenes backstory, can create a bit of a bond between reader and author. It gives them a peek into your process and allows for a respectful and friendly back and forth. This can also lead to them recommending you to their friends, following you on social media, and possibly even becoming a new reader buddy.

You must use your best judgement though! Please, please don’t force yourself to respond to people if you don’t feel like it. Some people say that authors should put their work out into the world and never look back, letting their ‘baby’ fly on alone. I don’t believe that those people have ever spent what feels like an eternity writing, re-writing, editing, revising, sending out, reading rejection letters, formatting, and printing pieces of their souls. I could be wrong about that though. It is all a matter of personal opinion. This post, as pretty much everything else I write, is my own opinion.

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Please use self-control and self-policing here. Our goal is not to scare readers or make a bad name for ourselves, it is to help ourselves grow as authors. If you do not feel comfortable responding to reviewers or feel as though you would be nasty to them, then please don’t force yourself to respond on my account! Remember, you can usually also send a private message to the reviewer if you would like to quietly and without fanfare ask for specifics from their reviews. That can sometimes be the best option. IF you do ask for their specifics in order to look it back over, please consider also sending them a note that you’ve revised that section or asking them read the possible revisions so that you know if it works better in the new format or wording. You may have just located a new Beta reader with fresh eyes for your work.

Have any thoughts on this topic?? Can’t wait to hear from you!! Until then, may you be blessed with great reviews and fabulous bursts of inspiration.

 

Pre-Orders are OPEN!

Ladies and Gentlemen…the time has come! Little Monster is currently available for pre-order and goes LIVE on October the 5th.

Now, I know that I told you pre-orders would be available on September 20th, and I’m sorry for the delay, but there was a family emergency that involved going to my other hometown, which I haven’t visited in several years for many not-good-anymore reasons, and being without internet for 5 days. HOWEVER, he is here now!

I hope that you enjoy this simple story with gorgeous artwork. This was truly a labor of love.

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Share the Love Extravaganza

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In honor of my tiny Monkey’s day of birth celebration (She’s 3 today!!!!) I am doing my annual Share the Love give away. Today (Sunday, August 23, 2015) through Wednesday (August 26, 2015) ALL of my available e-books are either on deep rebate with the Kindle Countdown Deal (Dragon on My Neck is .99 cents until FRIDAY guys!) or FREE (that’s everything else…5/6 of my e-books. Free. Right Now.)

What does this mean for you? Well…it means you get good books at great prices. How can you beat FREE?

If you spend the buck to download Dragon on My Neck and download the other two Stone Dragon Saga books for free, that means you’ve just spent .33 cents per book instead of $4 per book. If you download all 6 books, The Stone Dragon Saga three AND the three Short Story Supposition compilations, that means you’ve just gotten 6 books for approximately .17 cents a book.

Yeah that’s right, I just did the math. BOOM. I feel very proud of myself right now…and yes that is just a little sad. 

Still not quite sure if you want to go to all that effort just for a few free pages? Well answer these for me. Yes or No will do:

  1. Do you enjoy fantasy stories?
  2. Do you enjoy adventure?
  3. Do you enjoy a mystery?
  4. Are you fond of dragons and/or fairies?
  5. Do like a sassy lead?
  6. Do you enjoy a smart baddie?
  7. Are you busy but love to read?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, there is a story in one of my books that you will love. I don’t know which question you answered yes to and I’m even sassier than my amazing characters (they told me to call them that….) so I’ll leave it up to you to discover. But I promise you, there’s something in there for you. I know, because I wrote it just for you…

And to sweeten the deal for you, or just so I can walk down Nostalgia Lane, here are a few pictures from 3 years ago. Each of these pictures of a weird little bald headed gnome are from the first week of her life. Don’t worry, she finally grew some hair in over this past 6 months or so.

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Big brother watching over the Monkey. He used to nudge the swing when it slowed down until I came to wind it back up. Now he just lays around and waits for her to feed him.

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Summer Sundays

My short story compilation, Summer Sundays, is FREE for ebook download for the next 3 days. You can find it HERE. Tomorrow the other 2 short story compilation books will be free as well. You can find them Here and Here.

These books are full of stories that span genres, but they are all meant to be a quick, fun read for the audience. As such, my short stories are all short shorts, most only taking up a page or two in the book. I hope you find something (or many things) to enjoy!

HERE YE, HERE YE:

By Royal Decree of King Ferdinand of Realta…that precocious Fairy King…and Elizabeth S. Tyree, the woman who writes his stories, I hereby declare the ONE DAY ONLY, MAD DASH Addition of Dragon in My Yard and Dragon on the Green to the Kindle Free Downloads Library.

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, you read that correctly. For TODAY (July 12, 2015) ONLY all 3 of the currently available Stone Dragon Saga books will be ready and waiting for your download!

Remember, check back in HERE to get yourself entered in that contest!

Thank you for everything, I hope you enjoy! Either way, I hope you rate and review.

Momentum

The past couple of days have been filled with writing, Pinterest wins (can you say, creamy mac n cheese anyone!?), and even someone re-pinning my pin of my students’ book!

This week I got CampNaNo tweets retweeted and responded to, I made my work count for the week (2 days early), Finished book 4 in the Stone Dragon Saga (Started Part2/Book6), worked on the companion Middle Grades Dragon novel, and I’m almost finished reading the most interesting non-fiction book I’ve seen in a long while (more on that later!).

So I thought I would try to keep this momentum going by reminding you that my books (and my father’s) are all available on Kindle and Amazon! Below you will find the last few sentences of Book 4: Dragons in the Deep  (Part 1?) AND the links to my author page, my dad’s author page, and my students’ book (theirs is free all week, starting Monday!*)

Please consider giving me a shout and/or writing up a review on Amazon for anything you read! It really helps other readers AND authors when you take that extra minute or two and let us all know what you think! Thank you for everything you do everyday!

May your inspiration soar to new heights this week!

*Dragon in the Deep* 

“What is th…” Nickel leaned toward the screen for a better look but anything she was saying got swallowed as the ‘sea serpent’ caught sight of the little dragon’s lifeless form and surged powerfully through the water, her keen of despair and quick displacement of water combining to create a very unsettling range of wail that seemed to inhabit every object, and person, in the area.

When silence finally came, it was deafening.

Author Page: amazon.com/author/elizabethtyree

Tyree Tomes: http://www.facebook.com/TyreeTomes

Highland Park Presents: http://www.amazon.com/Highland-Park-Presents-Fifth-Grade-ebook/dp/B00VUKNYBQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1429475187&sr=1-1&keywords=highland+park+presents+kindle

Dr. Wilson Jay Tyree: amazon.com/author/wilsontyree

Presenting: Highland Park

Today I am going to post for you a very special book review…it is not for any book that I have received (yet), it is not for a friend of a friend who happens to be an author, and it is not for Tyree Tomes (though we did edit and publish it). This review is for my students. My 80 awesome fifth graders who worked hard, pushed through, and wrote.

That’s right, we are finished! As of today Highland Park Presents is available in both paperback and Kindle edition.

I wish I could tell you that this is the best compilation of short stories that you could ever possibly read. As their teacher I want to brag on my students and let you know that they worked SO HARD for this. If you could see the excitement on their faces today as I showed them the amazon.com pages for their book…well I have no words to explain it. I will, hopefully, remember those moments forever.

However, they are still fifth graders with a lot to learn about writing. Every student is on a different level and some of them are in a different world…but they have done their best and overcome a lot of self doubt to get this put together.

I hope that you will take a few minutes to click the link and see what their had work brought about. Any royalties received from the sale of these books will go to our school PTO for our grade level, so if you like what you see please go ahead and order a copy. We tried to keep the price as low as possible! Whether or not you get one, please share this with your friends. I want the kids to see that people in other counties, states, and countries have the chance to read their words.

The kids also want to send a special shout out and thanks to Dr. Wilson Jay Tyree, my father and Tyree Tomes partner, for his part in the final edits of the book. We couldn’t have done it without you Daddy!

May you all have a blessed and wonderful day!

Creativity is just Intelligence having fun ~ Albert Einstein

Rankings and other Nonsense

I don’t write for rankings, I don’t write for money, and I don’t write for accolades. I write for me, and you, and my students, and my family, and that little boy down the street. I write for the dragons who live in my head and refuse to be silenced until I have a pen in my hand and their story unfolding. I write for my own selfish sanity. I don’t write for critics.

All of that being said, however, it is nice to wake up on my birthday (yes folks, I’m officially out of those crazy twenties todays!) and find a 5 star review for my first novel; Dragon on My Neck. That book is my baby, much more so than any of the others I have out right now. I won my first NaNoWriMo with him, went through stacks of rejections with him, and chose the Indie Author life with him. Without DoMN I might not be here. So seeing the recognition there is always amazing…especially today! Then I popped over and checked my rankings.

According to Amazon.com I am ranked at 534,351st on the most popular authors list. I’m not sure how many authors there actually are…but well over 1,000,000 (There are over 12 MILLION books on Amazon so probably much more than that). On the whole, I am feeling very blessed and excited this morning. I was able to write a couple of chapters this weekend, got a good review, and I’m not ranked last on Amazon! Happy Birthday to Me!

What makes you feel blessed and motivated on a Monday morning? I want to know!

Lost and Found -free spiritual book

Currently Free through the Kindle app, Dr. Tyree’s book “Lost and Found” recounts 6 things lost in the Garden of Eden and regained in Christ.

Dr Tyree has been serving as a minister with churches of Christ for over 30 years. A graduate of Harding University (BA, 1984), he has also completed work in Theology and Pastoral Counseling. His greatest passion, however, is preaching and teaching. Out of that pursuit has come the need to put down on paper some of the thoughts that so readily spill out of his mouth.

You can find more from Dr. Tyree at Tyree Tomes