Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Tricky Business of Reviews

Winter Warmers have received a good number of favorable reviews. I'm truly stoked about it, but it also brings me to the dilemma of how to react to them. It's a potential minefield.

Back when reviews of my first novella appeared on Goodreads, I innocently clicked on the "like" buttons. I thought of it as a gesture of gratitude. Little did I know some reviewers saw it as the author trying to schmooze in hopes of future favorable treatment, while other GR members thought I was shamelessly self-promoting. Duh!

Later on I got to see this issue from the point of view of reviewers and readers, and learned a few things. Obviously, reviewers' main concern is to remain impartial and professional—something much harder to do when you get chummy with authors.

I also discovered readers freak out when a writer butts into their discussion of his or her books, even when said author is being pleasant. I can understand it: it must feel like being stalked. Considering the recurrent author meltdowns over bad reviews, it's even more understandable.

Sure, bad reviews sting, but it comes with the territory. If you can't take them, you best ignore reviews altogether. Authors going after the reviewer only serve to make those authors look like juvenile prats.

Many authors post about good reviews on their blogs. I haven't been able to bring myself to it. It feels like patting myself on the back in public.

So I'm left with one choice: not to respond to reviews at all. Naturally, I've already broken this rule when I posted about May-December relationships, but at least it wasn't about my like or dislike of the review, but my desire to explore the subject it brought up.

I still wonder if some reviewers end up thinking of me as  a snob for not thanking them, but I can't help it. Anyway, reviews are for the readers, not the authors.


  1. Nope, don't feel snubbed when authors don't respond to reviews. :) I definitely understand that it's a minefield for authors. Not responding at all is the wisest course of action. There are authors I will never, ever read because they freaked out at someone.

    1. Thanks, that makes me feel less conflicted. Heck, I wouldn't read from authors who went after reviewers.