It's no secret that I enjoy interacting with readers. I've long made it a habit of replying to reviews, be they good or bad, to show my appreciation for the reader who took the time to read my work. That I know of, I've not made anyone uncomfortable. However, more and more I'm hearing that reviews, especially at places like Goodreads, are for readers and reviewers, not authors, and that I should under no circumstances reply. This saddens me, because I sincerly hope that no reviewer that I've responded to feels that I'm "invading their space", and I've made several good friends that I met in this manner. But because I don't want anyone to fear the "crazy stalker author" I've since stopped this practice, but still eagerly respond to email, inquiries, and private messages. There's no author rule book, so how exactly can a writer reach out without the contact being unwelcome?
I've discussed the issue with some of my fellow writers, and we believe we've found a solution. On August 27, we're launching a collaborative effort blog. Via Facebook and our own Goodreads Group, we'll gather questions from readers. We'll post the questions on the blog to be answered by members of the author group, and open up the channels of communication. We hope to create a safe and fun environment for authors and readers to hang out together.
As the time draws near, I'll post additional details, such as the profiles of the other authors taking part in this effort. Until then... stay tuned!
Good luck with your new group!ReplyDelete
Regarding authors commenting on reviews: I think it all depends on how it's handled. If the author goes off the deep-end, then that's obviously bad. Most authors I've had comment just say "Thanks for the review, I'm glad you liked it" or "Thanks for the review, sorry it wasn't to your taste"(If it was a negative review). I tend to think it's better to just thank the reviewer, make a positive comment about something said in the review (if you're going to at all) and move on. If a reviewer got a point wrong (fact-wise), then you privately message the person and say as much--respectfully.
I'm sure you didn't need me to tell you this though. I think one of the hardest things with the Internet is that people lose their sense of respect for fellow human beings. Things we'd never say to another's face, we'll gladly do via the Internet, because there are no repercussions. Very sad. :(
(Personally, I love when the author comments with a "thanks for the review" because 1. it's nice to know my reviews get read, 2. it's nice to know my feedback is maybe reaching the authors too. Although on GR it's just as nice when the author just 'likes' the review, which I think is a perfectly fine way to handle that without getting toes dirty [or stepped on].)
Thanks so much for letting me know, Alex. I've enjoyed the input I've gotten from you and other commenters and feel that it has positively influenced my work. I've even written entire stories because commenters have asked to learn more about a specific character.ReplyDelete
So because it's my nature to talk to anyone who'll listen, I'm seriously reconsidering the "silent treatment."
Gah, things have gotten so crazy, haven't they?!ReplyDelete
Yes, they have, and it's very hard to know as an author what to do, because people's opinions vary so much and you can't please everybody. But I do try. And I do love chatting with readers, reviewers, and other authors.ReplyDelete