Authors on Reviews: To Comment or Not To Comment?

Here is the question that was posed to us to blog about today. 

Should Authors Comment On Reviews?

When I was approached to blog about this subject, I was a little reluctant.  I mean, I have friends that are authors.  Most of them, I don’t review for obvious reasons.  Some don’t want me to review for them because I can be brutally honest in a review.   I’ve been told that they would rather have me as a friend than a reviewer.  I can understand and respect that from authors.  If you follow this blog, you will notice that most reviews are for authors that I don’t know or I have been asked to review their books.  Even more so, the books that I have reviewed are from blog tours that I participate in, too.   I do have authors that send me books, too. 
I realize that reviews are subjective.  Its a reader’s opinion.  And that’s just what a review is…an opinion.  Not everyone is going to love your book.  Take 50 Shades of Grey…some reviewers have worshiped and loved that book; some of absolutely hated it.  Does the author really care what people actually think of the series?  Probably not.  On the review sites that I frequent, she never once left a comment.  What this particular author cares about in all honesty is the free publicity that she has gotten out of the reviews and the media.  She has a movie deal now.  Did she think that her fan fiction was going to cause this much media coverage?  No, she didn’t.  I think that one of the reasons why she didn’t comment on her reviews was because she knew better.  Yes, she knew better than to post a comment.  The reviews were polarizing enough. 
As a reviewer, when I post a review I don’t expect the author to comment.  Shoot, I’m just happy if people come by and read it much less leave a comment.  For an author to leave a comment is a bonus for me.  I appreciate an author coming by and reading my review of their work but its not necessary for this reviewer. 
The only thing that I ask authors to remember when they read a review of their work…we, reviewers, do not get paid for our opinion or our blog.  We review books because we love to read.  I am not God, nor do I think that I am God.  I’m just a person that likes to read and write reviews.  I know that I’m not popular with some authors and readers at times.  I used to care but not so much anymore.  My opinion is my opinion.  I can agree to disagree with other reviewers/bloggers and authors.  It happens more times than you think.  On some review sites, they have dual reviews and its interesting to read the two different opinions on one book. 
In conclusion…do I think that authors should comment on their review?  I’m not sure.  As a courtesy to the reviewer, an email would be nice.  Comments?  Depends on what kind of feedback the author wants from the review and the readers that have left comments.
Authors, feel free to leave a comment about the blog post.  🙂  Reviewers/readers, what do you think?  Do you like it when a author leaves a comment?  Does it make you want to buy that author’s book just because they left a comment?

34 thoughts on “Authors on Reviews: To Comment or Not To Comment?

  1. Like other authors have said, I try to leave a quick comment thanking the reviewer for their time. I try not to be too sensitive, since even my own husband, Mr. Supportive, has told me what he didn't like about my books, all of which he has read. I can't be mad at him for being honest, so I try to give the same respect to someone who took the time to read and comment on my writing. Maybe they will like my next one more?

  2. I think “thank you for reading/reviewing my book” is sufficient whether it's a review from a blogger or a reader. As an author, I'm pretty much thrilled when my books are reviewed or read and especially if a reader cared enough to post a comment. It's true that not everyone will love your book, but when a reviewer “gets it” that's the best feeling in the world.

  3. I used to review a lot of books. One book didn't get a glowing review. I felt aweful. The author contacted me and thanked me for my time. A big time author. I thought it was very classy.

    I know there are a lot of people who say don't, and I can see why, but as a professional reviewer (once upon a time), I liked the personal touch. That the author took their time to send a thanks meant a lot.

  4. As a reader, reviewer and an author I think it is great to see an author come by and say something.

    I love when there are interactions between the author and readers on my blogs. Just as much as I love to go to blogs and comment and have authors comment back.

    Now if its a poor review I think that is when an author shouldn't say anything. Because then it can turn into a tit for tat kinda situation.

    Bad reviews don't mean I will not personally read it. Like everyone said, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and it doesn't necessarily mean I will not read it.


  5. This is a great post, btw. I agree, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. I always read reviews before I read a book. I'm not entirely sure why I've gotten into that habit. That being said, even if a book has gotten horrible reviews, I don't let that deter me from reading it. A couple of my favorite books have gotten poor reviews, but I thought they were great.
    It's nice if an author replies to a review, but I don't expect it. If anything, I would expect to see other readers comment. Perhaps authors shouldn't comment. Someone already mentioned if a bad review was left, how exactly would you respond to it. But, as you mentioned in your post, good or bad reviews, it's still publicity.

  6. As an author, I try to thank the reviewer. I appreciate that everyone's opinion is different. Jiminy Christmas, we'd be a bland bunch of nuts if we all agreed.
    Do I want everyone to like my books? Well, duh… yes, but not possible. And if I can't take criticism, then I should hang up my author shoes and try something else.

  7. We posted a semi-negative review at Romancing the Book once and the reviewer was very careful to point out what didn't work. We got a comment from the author that said that she appreciated the feedback and that she was actually going to go back and do revisions.

    As a blog owner and reviewer, I like hearing back from authors or publishers saying thank you. But I also know that it's got to be hard when the review isn't as positive as you were hoping for. But there are enough people out there that will weigh the good reviews against the bad and still buy the book. As it was said before, everyone has different tastes and you're not going to please everyone.


  8. This is one of those gray areas. If I know the reviewer, I'll thank them. If I don't, I often don't unless they write to me and tell me they posted a review. Then I'll write back and say a simple thank you.

  9. This is very tricky. On one had, I feel it would be a nice gesture for the author to send the reviewer a thank you, but would the author only then send a thank you if the review was to their liking? What if the reviewer didn't like said author's book…would the author then send a thank you that was steeped in sarcasm?

    Maybe it should be that the author doesn't reply–no matter what the review had to say: good, bad, and the ugly. This way things will stay on a professional level.

  10. I think an author should thank a reviewer for a review – regardless if it's good or bad because it's acknowledging the time spent by the reviewer to read and write the review. They can either do it on the blog itself or through an email. I also think that reviewers need to be consistent in reviews and remember that an author put time, sweat and maybe even tears into the work and acknowledge that. If the reviewer didn't like the book, they should comment on what it was that didn't make the book for for them – was it character inconsistency, slow plot, bad development…not just say…I didn't like it….

  11. In reality, anyone can find something they like and something they don't like in a book, song, movie, etc. We're all different and that's what makes life interesting. I don't comment to negative reviews because everyone has and is entitled to their opinion.

    Maggie O'Malley

  12. If I know I have a review out there, I almost always leave a comment. Doesn't matter if the write up is good or bad, I feel the reviewer took the time to read and it deserves a 'thank you'. I never ever get into comments on the review or argue a point. That's just not cool. Be gracious and say a simple THANKS.

  13. I review because I love telling people about the books I've loved-and believe me there are lots of those. I read most genres, but romance has to be there for it to really hold my attention. On my two blogs, I don't really get many authors who comment on my reviews, and that is fine, but for the review site where I also review, I am always happy to know I'm doing well, and giving people an honest and objective opinion of the book.

  14. Interesting to read the different opinions. I've refrained from commenting on reviews unless I have had some kind of personal contact with the reviewer beforehand–I'm always afraid it will squelch any discussion on be too creepy to comment on a site. I do thank reviewers on Twitter if they've copied me on a tweet about their review, and I “like” reviews on Goodreads…well, at least the ones that aren't nasty. But would I thank or acknowledge the reviewer who told people not to waste their money on my book but just find it at the library? No.

    1. Suzanne, I've seen those reviews. Luckily for me, I have never NOT finished a book. Some of the private review sites will even mention if its a DNF. I actually respect that on a review site but I have disagreed with a reviewer because of it. Again, not everyone is going to have the same opinion as myself on a book.

  15. I try to acknowledge every review – good or bad – with at least a thank you. Readers and reviewer comments make a difference. If I know the person reviewing I might say more than just thank you, but IMO, there's nothing wrong with good manners.

    I'm an author.

    1. Amen Margie on the manners. Not everyone is going to like your book but a simple manners in regards to a review go a long way. Thank you sooo much for stopping by.

  16. I will comment privately with a reviewer (if I have her email) and it is always a polite thank you – know matter what the review said.
    If the review appears on a blog site that seems friendly to the author dropping in I will. I think it is fun for the readers to know the author does care.

    Excellent post.

  17. I'm with Tina. If I comment at all, it's to thank them for taking the time to read my book. Of course I want them to like my work, but they are entitled to their opinion, and thankfully, free to express those opinions.

  18. Thanks Marie Rose. It is an interesting topic for sure. I try to be fair and honest in a review. I'm not looking for a pat on the back from the author at all. And you're right…some books are just not going to be that reviewers cup of tea. Or I could read two books by the same author and love one and not like the other.


  19. Great blog! There's always the buzz, should we/shouldn't we respond to a review. If I respond at all, it's a “thank you”. The person has taken the time to read your book. So I do thank people for their time no matter what they've put in their reviews. I never respond to the content because let's face it, you're never going to please everyone all of the time. You might be writing about aliens, or cowboys and it's not the reviewers cup of tea! As an author, I think it's always important not to come off looking like an “ass” when responding.

So what do you think?

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