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.
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.
HELP!!!!! I am in search of authors for my students to be able to research, discuss, and read in our writing class. I would like to do an author of the month every month (maybe two authors a month?) so that my students can learn about the world as seen through the eyes of authors and readers outside of their insulated environment.
However, I am trying to find an author that writes across genres for children or middle grade readers because we are learning more about genres this month. Does anyone have any ideas?
I need your help please! If you have any ideas for me, please leave a note or message me. If you don’t want to leave a note here, head over to http://www.facebook.com/TyreeTomes and catch me there.
Thank you in advance! Have a blessed weekend everyone!
I have just finished the ‘leg’ (or rather…typing fingers) work on publishing my first collection of short stories (The first 4 months of Short Story Sundays). This is an excellent way to keep to the stories with you or easily accessible for you without having to keep searching online or not re-reading them at all (and I know how much you ALL want to re-read my every story ;P )
Since I am now playing the waiting game while Kindle and Amazon finish up their end of the bargain, I thought that it would be a good time to remind you of some other offerings the members of Tyree Tomes have available for your word loving pleasure.
We really need to get some new pictures! There are at least four new books between the two of us already 😀
Remember to check us out on Amazon.com and Kindle @
(for some reason his newer books don’t seem to be listed on this author’s page. We will work on fixing that, but until then they do appear if you look at the ‘search results for Dr. Wilson Jay Tyree’)
Spring has sprung in my little corner of the world. All up and down our block people are building beds, mixing soil, and otherwise preparing for the new plantings that are soon to arrive.
Daffodils are blooming, the crape myrtle and random unknown purple bush we planted last week are perking up nicely; we may even have to mow soon.
All in all, our surroundings are well on their way to once again becoming a little slice of paradise in an otherwise dusty town, and really, isn’t that all what we all search for? A little oasis in the desert of life to satiate and relax before heading back into the grind.
For many this is not only a mere return to life, but also a renewal of inspirations. As new sprouts and births surround us, our minds open again to accept sudden ideas. While we plan, expand, and grow our gardens, so do the authors among us water and watch their words; preferably on a comfortable waterside bench, surrounded by happy baby animals, bright blooms, and a salty breeze. And, like gardeners, they watch their crop grow day by day, anxiously awaiting the time when all of their planning and hard work will yield fruit (or vegetable, or flower). It may a personal garden, it may be a family garden, it may even be a universal garden…but they tend each plant as carefully as the next.
So tell me friend, How does YOUR garden grow?
We celebrate several things during the month of March, but my favorite spring celebration (that doesn’t involve my Lord dying for my sins) is that of St. Patrick’s Day! The wearing o’ the green, the shamrock shakes, the dances, the music (I play the flute and the doodley music, as Dad calls it, makes me happy), all of these things put me in a great mood. So this week leading up to St. Patty’s Day, as you prepare for the weekend pub crawls or the school party, take a little time to crank up the Irish Folk Music/Celtic Music (check out FullSetMusic.com, dropkickmurhys.com or Pandora’s Celtic music station if you don’t have a stack of discs handy). While you’re at it, and you’ve got the appropriate music cranked in the background, why don’t you round up a few Irish authors and lose yourself in the green green grass of home (er…Ireland).
William Butler Yeats, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, Jonathon Swift, Patrick Cavanaugh, C.S. Lewis, and Elizabeth Bowen are all wonderful picks…to name just a few.
If you prefer to merely read about an Irish family try almost any of Nora Roberts’s books or Claire Cook’s Must Love Dogs (which, incidentally, includes a shout out to William Butler Yeats).
If you have a favorite Irish story or author, please comment and let me know! I always relish in finding new books or reading authors I haven’t tried out yet and I LOVE to hear from my readers!
Have a blessed, and safe, day!
(Picture via MyPartyPlanner)
The Tale of the ill-gotten catfish
By: Barbara Hay
Publication Date – October 16, 2012
Included extras – a map of bootleg Oklahoma
A glossary of lingo/terms
Written primarily for readers ages 8-13 this realistic fiction story is the first in a series that is based on the antics of four sixth grade rodeo boys who call themselves The Bulldoggers Club.
Written through one boy’s (Dru’s) point of view, the reader tags along on one misadventure after another as the boys learn about the effects of lying from one record breaking catfish.
Laced with fact based information on Oklahoma and bulldogging (steer wrestling), along with several other interesting tid bits, this book catches your attention and keeps you interested through the whole story.
It is my opinion that readers will find this story engaging, regardless of a rodeo background. Though a few pieces of the story felt slightly disconnected, it read true to the intended voice of a sixth grade (12 year old) boy, and I would give the book a rating of 4.5 out of 5 Dragons (or stars if you would rather). I look forward to reading Mrs. Hay’s next book.
I am a teacher who doesn’t teach. That is not to say that I CAN’T teach. I am certified in Elementary Education, have a background in education, music, and literature, and have, in the past, very much enjoyed my time in front of students. I just haven’t ever taken that step to having my own classroom. I haven’t even substituted in about four years.
That Changed yesterday. I woke up severely early (5:03 am to be exact) and rode over an hour with my mother in order to show up at her elementary school and be a third grade teacher.
I’m a bit rusty at the classroom management thing, but I guess I did alright because they have already asked me to come back to the third grade next week! Can I tell you a secret?? I have always said that I don’t like the younger classes…fourth grade was where I did my student teaching and has always held the number one place in my heart. Fourth Grade still rules…but those kids managed to make me admit that I like third graders! I’m still a little amazed at that.
Of course, the librarian also gave me homework. It seems that two of their new books do not have Accelerated Reader tests written for them yet. I am definitely looking forward to both books (written by Oklahoma authors no less!) and, while I’m at it, I might as well write up reviews for you guys…right!?! Hopefully I will be including my books on that homework list soon. Until then, You can check out some other OK authors at http://okwriters.blogspot.com/.
I actually met one of the authors a few years ago, when he came to read passages from his book Walking the Choctaw Road. If you haven’t read that, or any other, book by Tim Tingle, do yourself a favor and go find it. Mr. Tingle is a storyteller of his people, and is preserving his heritage, and the heritage of a nation, through his extremely well written works. (www.timtingle.com)
I haven’t met or read the other author, but after reading a little about the book, The Bulldogger Club: The Tale of the Ill-Gotten Catfish, and about Barbara Hay (the author) I have decided that I would really enjoy sitting down with this woman who displays such humor! (http://www.barbarahay.com/)
Does it make me more of a nerd to admit that I am super excited to read these? Or is the nerdy part that I am even more excited to make up the comprehension tests that my new ‘kids’ will be taking?
It has been a big week for our family. My daughter got a new baby doll that giggles and my mother is finishing up her second week of driving a little over an hour (one way) to teach second grade a few towns away.
Dr. Tyree, my father and co-founder of Tyree Tomes, began his first semester back on campus at North Western Oklahoma State University (Ride Rangers Ride!), where he teaches Biblical Studies as a humanities course. After eight years away from this campus and classroom, he is very excited to be back in his role as an adjunct professor and, to commemorate the occasion (and the class he thought he was teaching, but is, in fact, not) his book, Paul on Paul, has been made available for free digital download all this week through the kindle page. IF you would like your very own copy of this, or any other of his works, or even if you don’t, here is a link his to his author’s page and bibliography:
While Dr. and Mrs. Tyree have been busy with classes, I kept myself busy working on blog posts, this week’s short story (The Watch in the Window, coming this Sunday!), and book 4 of The Stone Dragon Saga. During one of my many breaks due to writer’s block and blamed on a very happy and hyper toddler, I decided to check on my statistics page and realized that I was ranked in the top 3,000 authors on Amazon’s Fantasy list (there are several hundred thousand of them!) and though I’ve dropped down a few places since then I am very excited about how well we all seem to be doing this week. (I am currently ranked as the 268,438th most popular author on Amazon, while Dr. Tyree is coming in at 506,649th…out of every fiction and non-fiction writer listed on the site’s extensive availability sheets)
I also received my first review for Dragon on the Green: The Stone Dragon Saga Book 3. The reviewer gave me 4 stars because of my rushed editing, but did contact me to let me know that it was, in his opinion, a 5 star story and was only rated lower due to my editing mistakes.
If you would like to read, review, or just take a gander at the series, here is a link to my author’s page and bibliography:
Do you have any suggestions, ideas, or comments?? Leave them for me here or at http://www.facebook.com/TyreeTomes
As always, May you have a Blessed day and may your joys, much like your inspirations, flow freely.
Here is this weeks “Who are YOU Reading?”
For those of you who don’t want to write a novel (crazy people!), here is a site asking you to take a Blog Posting challenge! One Blog a Day, for 30 consecutive days. Think you can handle it? then go sign up!! If not…there are plenty of people who have signed up that would love to have you as a reader! Either way, you win!
Have a blessed Weekend!