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Should authors weigh in on public reviews?

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wendy
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Should authors weigh in on public reviews?

Post by wendy » Fri January 20th, 2012, 1:01 am

Should readers have complete freedom of speech, with no come-back from authors, even if their criticism is wrong, self-interested, hurtful or biased?

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-t ... dium=email

Comments please!
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LoveHistory
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Post by LoveHistory » Fri January 20th, 2012, 1:12 am

Yes readers should have complete freedom of speech. So should authors. But with that freedom comes responsibility to exercise sense and restraint. If you don't exercise sense and restraint you have the responsibility to accept the fallout from your behavior.

Criticism is almost always biased in one way or another. Hurtful is just part of life really. Wrong is a matter of opinion, and reader reviews are largely opinion anyway. The only thing I can think of in the self-interested category is if another author would be trashing someone else's book to make their own look good. In each case, if the criticism is overly harsh and/or unmerited, people will figure that out on their own without the author needing to respond directly. You know that old saying? Give them enough rope...

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Post by Divia » Fri January 20th, 2012, 1:37 am

Reviewers can say whatever they want. However, I find it tacky when they say an author is dumb, or fat, or ugly or something like that.

As Love said, sure authors can respond. But they have to be ready for the backlash, should it come.

I find it interesting that the covers in the article were all YA books. :confused: Cause this is only an issue dealing with the YA community?
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Post by annis » Fri January 20th, 2012, 1:38 am

I know it can be hard for authors, because after all, it's your baby that's out there being trashed, a creation you've spent blood, sweat and tears upon. However I firmly believe that authors need to count to 100 and keep those fingers off the keyboard. The only appropriate response from authors to reviews on a public readrs' forum is dignified silence.
Last edited by annis on Fri January 20th, 2012, 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Fri January 20th, 2012, 2:17 am

[quote=""Divia""]Reviewers can say whatever they want. However, I find it tacky when they say an author is dumb, or fat, or ugly or something like that.

As Love said, sure authors can respond. But they have to be ready for the backlash, should it come.

I find it interesting that the covers in the article were all YA books. :confused: Cause this is only an issue dealing with the YA community?[/quote]

I am sure they are out there, but I have yet to see for myself a review that attacks the author personally (dumb, fat, ugly, etc.). Every reviewer has their own style, and well if you don't like it - don't read it.

There have been several YA dust ups over reviews at Goodreads recently. I don't follow YA nor the GR reviewers so I don't know the specifics, but from what I've seen on comments popping up on my feeds it is rather heated. The author/agent reaction at Twitter over Wendy Darling's review was seriously too much. It was a very well written, polite, thoughtful one star review. She said what she personally didn't like, but pointed out it might work for others. The kerfuffle at the Twitter debacle has generated a significant amount of comments (mostly in support of the reviewer), and helpful votes, keeping the review spotlighted.
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Post by Misfit » Fri January 20th, 2012, 2:57 am

And some thoughts on thisfrom Dear Author (Susanna Kearsley you rock!).
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Post by Mythica » Fri January 20th, 2012, 10:19 am

Yes, readers have the right to say whatever they want, even if it's unconstructive or unfair. Typically, I think if a review is being unreasonable, it says more about the reviewer than it does about the book/author so if the author chooses to respond to it, they are probably doing more damage than repair. Most people will see an unconstructive review for what it is so I don't think an author should bother replying. Of course, authors still have the right to respond - but they risk coming across as unprofessional and petty.

I try to be as constructive with my negative reviews as possible but I would hate to think that I don't have the right to speak my mind honestly.

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Post by EC2 » Fri January 20th, 2012, 12:17 pm

IMO Authors should stay out of it altogether unless specifically approached by the reader. To leave comments on reviews of one's work at Amazon or Goodreads whether the review is either positive or negative, is rather like breathing down the reader's neck. It's creepy and stalkerish. It also speaks of insecurity if it's a response to a negative. Sure, you might feel furious inside, or want to drive a particular overlooked or misunderstood point home, but you should have the control to process it and not to get your knickers in a knot. In the end it's not worth it, and you might actually learn something to help you further down the line.
I have also noticed on some Amazon reviews and other forums that there are little cliques of authors who go round admiring each other's works and weighing in on the negative reviews to give the negative reviewer a pummelling. So unprofessional and with a touch of the 'Big brother is standing over you with a stick.'
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Fri January 20th, 2012, 3:35 pm

No. no, no.

Reviews are for consumers, not producers. Should businesses weigh in on Yelp! reviews? should hoteliers or restauranteurs comment when a customer mentions a bad experience at their business? What would you think of a business that did?

It sure wouldn't help them in my eyes. In fact, it would make the bad review stick, whereas otherwise I would weigh it against the good ones.

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Post by Mythica » Fri January 20th, 2012, 3:45 pm

[quote=""MLE""]No. no, no.

Reviews are for consumers, not producers. Should businesses weigh in on Yelp! reviews? should hoteliers or restauranteurs comment when a customer mentions a bad experience at their business? What would you think of a business that did?

It sure wouldn't help them in my eyes. In fact, it would make the bad review stick, whereas otherwise I would weigh it against the good ones.[/quote]

I have seen hotel management reply to negative Tripadvisor reviews on their hotel. It was hugely unprofessional, especially since they basically tried to deny the negative issues the reviewer pointed out. Only made things worse for themselves.

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