As I am very to new in the world of publishing, writing and KDP, this came as a surprise. Before self publishing my debut novel, I researched as much as I could, reading through hundreds of forum threads related to the subject of writing, Amazon, self-publishing, the traditional publishing route and much more. It was only by accident I came upon the discussion of authors commenting on reviews.
I got this picture from the thread:
It is not ok for the author to comment upon a reader’s review, even if the author is thanking the reader for taking the time to talk about the book in question. It is not ok for an author to respond to a negative review (though I do sympathise with authors I would also agree to this circumstance purely because it brings attention to something that may have been overlooked, especially if there was only one negative comment).
Readers feel invaded if the author responds, as they believe it can disrupt the honesty. They feel watched and are less likely to write their true opinions. It is a reader’s domain, a place for other readers to get the chance to find out how others felt about the book and form their own opinions. It seems the only time an author is forgiven for their intrusion is if they are informing the readers of a change in their book or corrected editing issues.
Now, as I said, I am very new to this and every day I gain experience, every day I learn something new and every day I am surprised and fascinated by the things I read, see and hear. So this discussion left an alarming amount of thoughts and opinions whirling around my head.
Firstly, as an avid reader of a huge range of books, I would be pleased if an author, who I admired, took the time to respond to my comments. For example, I idolise Laurell. K. Hamilton and if she ever sent me a message, I think I would sit in shock for several minutes before I could shakily write a reply. Same goes for Cassandra Clare, Karin Slaughter and many other authors who have inspired me. I would also not be offended by an author thanking me for my views
Secondly, I see it from the reviewer’s/reader’s point of view. It must be incredibly daunting to discover the author is reading everything they write and it must make them think twice about what they are writing when a review should be an honest opinion. I also believe an author should not get involved with negative comments left by a reviewer because I have seen it escalate in to very serious slagging matches that end up giving the author a bad reputation and leave the reviewer somewhat miffed.
Thirdly, I have to feel for the author in both scenarios. To want to say thank you to a lovely review and comment on a negative or insulting review. Before reading the thread, admittedly, I believe I would have been tempted to respond to certain reviews (though not the negative as I tend not to be the type that confront others). For me, saying thank you to a nice review is good manners and being thankful for something should not be looked down on. I believe, however, this is a product of my upbringing. I was taught to say thank you and please and it comes naturally to me.
But I have learned from the discussion, and it seems if a reviewer wants you to personally respond to them, they will send you a message through your website/e-mail addy/Amazon author page/Goodreads etc.
I would love to hear your views, what you think of this topic and your personal experiences. Life is all about learning, after all.
(I will personally delete any offensive material)