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Should authors weigh in on public reviews?

A place to debate issues or to rant about what's on your mind. In addition to discussions about historical fiction, books, the publishing industry, and history, discussions about current political, social, and religious issues and other topics are allowed, so those who are easily offended by certain topics may want to avoid such threads. Members are expected to keep the discussions friendly and polite and to avoid personal attacks on other members. The moderators reserve the right to shut down a thread without warning if they believe it necessary.
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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Fri January 20th, 2012, 4:19 pm

[quote=""Mythica""]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.[/quote]

I agree. I like seeing critical reviews, and that includes things other than books. Just because one person has an issue with a vacuum being too loud and waking the baby doesn't mean that is going to be an issue for me (not having a baby). It's the same with books. Lots of people love Pillars of the Earth, 'cause they like action packed, page turners filled with lots of icky sex and OTT violence. Others don't, which is why we read reviews to find out - book blurbs don't do that for you. If I had taken the time to read the critical reviews of Pillars I'd have likely stayed far far away and not wasted my money.

One thing that's really got me wondering, in all these discussions and kerfuffles over at Goodreads recently I keep on hearing this bit about these awful reviewers who go around insulting the author PERSONALLY in their reviews. I can't ever recall ever seeing a review like that, ever. I've seen many a review that scorches a book (and I admit to doing that myself), but that is not personally insulting the author. Could anyone find me an example of a review like that anywhere? Or do some authors consider a scathing review of their book a personal attack?

ETA: The Goodreads review that's been a part of much of this can be found herewith over 1,000 comments and still growing.
Last edited by Misfit on Fri January 20th, 2012, 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ludmilla
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Post by Ludmilla » Fri January 20th, 2012, 5:18 pm

I think anyone should be able to voice an opinion, and hopefully the person is wise enough to be civil about it. It's like anything in life. If a reviewer behaves badly - whether that person is posting as a reader, author, friend, business rep, etc. -- it's going to reflect on that person. It is always good advice to think before you put something online that can't be taken back. The inability to take criticism shows a lack of maturity and professionalism, IMO, but I also understand people's need to explain themselves. Opinions are just opinions to me, and if an author says something in the heat of the moment or she's having a bad day, I'm not too troubled about it. I do get tired of these all-points-bulletins on authors behaving badly because it just adds fuel to the fire. Many of these kerfuffles (and boy is that word getting worn out on the internet) wouldn't become a big conflagration if people would just let them die an early and natural death. Why bring more attention to it?

With all that said, I see more fans behaving badly than I do authors.

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Brenna
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Post by Brenna » Fri January 20th, 2012, 6:13 pm

IMHO, I think it is perfect acceptable for an author to respond to a review. However, the author has to understand that everyone has the right to their opinion and that if the author responds they could face some serious backlash.

I have a couple of for instances to make my point. Say for instance an author write an awesome book but makes a few mistake here and there (hey, we are all human afterall). If a reviewer points out those mistakes and the author were to thank them for bringing it to their attention or giving an explanation of where they received their information; this is ok. It could even be constructive!

I think the responsibility of both the reviewer and the author is to be as fair, constructive, and informative as possible without allowing emotion to get into the way. If an author or reviewer both cannot be unemotional, they shouldn't post anywhere!
Brenna

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Fri January 20th, 2012, 6:29 pm

[quote=""Ludmilla""] I do get tired of these all-points-bulletins on authors behaving badly because it just adds fuel to the fire. Many of these kerfuffles (and boy is that word getting worn out on the internet) wouldn't become a big conflagration if people would just let them die an early and natural death. Why bring more attention to it?
.[/quote]

I'd agree there. There's almost a joyful pounce when something like this crops up - which again is why I keep my lip buttoned!
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Fri January 20th, 2012, 7:20 pm

It seemed to me it's been very quiet lately, only over at the YA books has there been much fussing, but I only hear bits and pieces.

I think the point of over commenting on reviews by *friends* is a valid one. I've seen that happen on a couple of different books. Positive reviews were all given a high five, and the more critical ones were treated rather shabbily. In one instance the two commenters were rather anon accounts (only one review, guess what book it was). When it was finally pointed out that *they* weren't doing the author any favors they toned it down and shut up.
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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Sat January 21st, 2012, 6:26 pm

Just stumbled across this reviewwith some author/reviewer interaction.
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Divia
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Post by Divia » Sat January 21st, 2012, 11:59 pm

The more I think about it the more I wonder if reviewers don't go fishing for this stuff too. They try to get an author to respond one way. Reviewers are by no means innocent.
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lauragill
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Post by lauragill » Sun January 22nd, 2012, 1:31 am

[quote=""Misfit""]Just stumbled across this reviewwith some author/reviewer interaction.[/quote]

That whole Amazon back-and-forth between the reviewer and author made me think "I IZ REEL AUTHR; MAI AWARDZ R PASTEDE ON, YAY."

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Sun January 22nd, 2012, 1:37 am

[quote=""lauragill""]That whole Amazon back-and-forth between the reviewer and author made me think "I IZ REEL AUTHR; MAI AWARDZ R PASTEDE ON, YAY."[/quote]

Lol! While I disagree with the reviewer bringing up the legitimacy in the book awards in the actual review (I think that might not fly with Ammy guidelines), I agree with everything else. I won the book at Librarything and it's a real dog, and I was surprised I didn't get attacked from his minions like most of the other reviewers had. That book is a classic example of way too many gushy reviews from people who've hardly ever written a review, plus all the possie votes on the five star reviews and negative votes on the critical reviews. Hell, even the comments garner votes like crazy. It's fun to pop back in on occasion to see if there's anything new.

I always like it when the *what have you written* comments start flying ;)
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rebecca
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Post by rebecca » Sun January 22nd, 2012, 5:09 am

I think genuine readers can recognise malice when they see it and understand a good critique of a novel which was perhaps not to their specific taste.
Then comes the genuine criticism of a book which is simply badly written and over-hyped, which leads the reader in feeling they have been conned. But what should come in all things is good manners and neither reader nor author should engage in a knock down fight where no-one wins.

I recently read the reviews for 'The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels--a Love Story' by Ree Drummond. and I was amazed at the comments one reviewer received...It is just plain silly!

As I said before and EC has it right, let the reader write the reviews and if someone is being malicious then many of us have the intelligence to ignore such tripe and make up our own minds on whether we purchase the book or not.

Bec :)

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