First off, thanks to Nat at Reading Romances for hosting this multi-blog discussion on what is a very hot topic these days in the online book world. At the bottom of the post, you will find a list with links for all of the participating blogs.
When I first started reviewing and blogging, I would get so very, very excited when an author commented. I haven't actually had a lot of authors comment on my reviews, whether here, on goodreads or Amazon (though admittedly, I rarely look at my Amazon reviews so maybe someone has). Most have been a simple thank you, a few times the author offered clarification on something I questioned in the review (which, by the way, I appreciate and don't mind, though an email might be the best way to do that). The times that happened, the authors were polite and cordial. I've had some authors who didn't reply on the review itself but said "thank you" or "nice review" on twitter. One or two have emailed me thank yous, which was nice.
These days, I'm less green and also, the blogging atmosphere seems a bit sticky and at times it feels like a group of young toddlers screaming and tantruming cuz another child took their toy away. Unfortunately, we can't put authors or bloggers in a time out. It feels as if every week, or even every day, there's another kerfuffle concerning a review that an author made an inappropriate comment on. I still get excited when an author comments but I'm also more aware of the potential for disaster. So, do I want an author to comment? Is it appropriate?
I don't think we'll get agreement on the appropriateness of it, but maybe we can agree on how an author comments, if they choose to do so. I know many authors who choose not to, for one reason or another. Honestly, for the author's sake, I think that's the safest course. Now matter how carefully the reply is worded, someone, somewhere, will find a way to take offense. And if the author makes any kind of criticism, however mild, someone, somewhere, even if it's not the person who wrote the review, will take offense. Then you have the authors, I'm sure you can think of some, who go ballistic and get insulting, even send emails deriding or harassing the reviewer. In those instances, that author should erase the comment or email as soon as they hit publish, or better yet, don't say anything at all, and go find a trusted peer or friend upon whom they can rant and rave at, IN PRIVATE.Taking their displeasure public rarely works out well.
If an author chooses to comment, then I think a simple "thank you" is good. Some say "Thank you for taking the time to read and review my book." I think that's fine too. They are acknowledging the time and effort that the reviewer has put into the review, regardless of their personal opinion on the review. They may be crushed or furious but ideally, they will rein in those feelings, decline to comment, or maybe leave a polite thank you, and then go off to deal, appropriately, with their feelings, in private. Authors work hard on their writing, some feel as if the books are their babies; it's normal and understandable that they would be hurt by a less than glowing review. The trick is in how they handle it.
Some writers don't read their reviews at all, some read them and think seriously about what the reviewer said and even use that information when writing their next book or story. Authors, if you choose to read your reviews, and you choose to comment, please tread carefully when commenting. Many potential and existing readers have been lost by an author's inappropriate comment on a review.
So, do I want authors to comment on my reviews? Yes, please. I enjoy it and sometimes we have good discussions or even just banter. Even if it's a simple thank you, I'm happy. Did I get a fact (fact! not opinion or perception) wrong in my review? Email me and I'll fix it. Hate my review? (You can disagree with my review, that can be interesting, and as long as you 're polite, it's all good.) Think I'm the worst reviewer EVER? Want to tell the world what a bitch I am? Sorry, those comments and emails will be deleted.
In addition to visiting the other blogs in this hop, take a few minutes to check out some other good posts: Author Linda Poitevin has a writer's guide to book blogger etiquette and blogger Natasha at Wicked Little Pixie tackles the topic of proper book blogger etiquette.
Thanks for stopping by. Please take a minute and share your thoughts and feelings in the comment section. Politely, of course. :)
OK, when I preview the post, I don't see the linky list so here's a link to Reading Romance's page with the linky list. Sorry for the inconvenience.