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Why do some authors find the need to respond to every review?

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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2012 4:04:03 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 18, 2012 4:07:08 PM PDT
Splinker says:
I think the problem is that almost any author response is going to make the book appear a bit amateurish.

Posted on Apr 18, 2012 4:25:53 PM PDT
How not to respond to a review (all on the same book):

5-star response:

4-star response:

3-star response:
(apparently so bad that Amazon deleted the several replies)

2-star response:

I ran across this in the Authors Behaving Badly thread but it fits this topic, too.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2012 5:26:46 PM PDT
P. S. Wright says:
Reading those made me feel paranoid. I am agreeing more and more with Splinker on this. Any response to any review is going to reflect poorly. Just let it go "dude".

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2012 10:20:15 PM PDT
That's some serious looney tunes stuff!

Posted on Apr 26, 2012 12:20:48 PM PDT
Hey, what do you guys think about that discussion forum that appears for each product about half way down the product's page? Should the author steer clear of that area too?

For example, issues about version-ing and corrections, I've seen many authors tag that directly into the product description, but it would seem better separated.

Posted on Apr 26, 2012 12:25:34 PM PDT
Author says:
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Posted on Apr 26, 2012 12:45:26 PM PDT
I think Norman that the worry is this: if you respond to 5* reviews like that, people will think that you know the reviewers.

I prefer not to respond here to any. That way the reviews are stronger, to my mind.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 12:54:18 PM PDT
I very seldom (almost never) see a discussion in that area so I don't know if it would be a problem or not. I think that if you use it to discuss your books, it wouldn't bother me. I hardly ever get that far down a page, some of them are way, way down. You might add something in your author page or in the about the author blurb to point to it for people who are interested or don't even know that feature is there. BTW, you might also check with Amazon to make sure that it is okay for whatever you have in mind.

If a book has complaints about editing/formatting, I personally think it is better to show that prominently in the description. I've picked up a few re-edited versions that I wouldn't have gotten otherwise based on the reviews.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 12:59:13 PM PDT
Author says:

That's an interesting observation. However, I have gotten to know some of my reviewers (through Facebook) and they are now my friends.

What's wrong with that? Wouldn't YOU love to have a personal relationship with your favorite authors? Why do you think people line up in a bookstore to meet an author and get their autograph in a book? Don't you think that a person to whom you have given a personal "thank you" might be more likely to recommend your book to another reader?

In my case, I have seen only one review posted (on Goodreads) that was not 5-star. I thanked that reviewer for reading my book also.

For a person who wants to make money selling books or records to the public, there is no such thing as BAD personal contact with the fans.

I also have several hundred fans on my band account, and I have written each one of them personally to thank them for joining my fan club.

If someone gives you a bad review, it doesn't pay to debate with them about it. They may be right. At least they took the time to look, and that's worth 1,000,000 times more than a person who never bothered.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 1:11:13 PM PDT
Well, it's been discussed to death but I'm feeling kindly today. Think about these questions:

Are you going to thank 4-stars, too? What about 3 or 2 or 1?

Are you going to give the same thank you to someone who says that you write like a 4th-grader?

When you have 30-40 reviews, are you still going to be thanking each one? How about 100?

Where's the cutoff? Are the next reviewers (after you stop) going to think, "That ungrateful so-and-so! I guess my review wasn't good enough for a thank you!"

Here are the reasons why I don't like it:

1. It's an Amazon book sales page, not your personal page on which you hold court for your fans. It's appropriate on your website or blog but not here, at least not for this reader.

2. It does seem just a little bit needy. If authors want to chat with readers, I think it is much better to put your website or email address in your author section.

3. It can intimidate honest reviewers to know that the author is reading every review. Especially since so many indie authors have actually attacked reviewers for poor reviews. (Please see the badly behaving authors thread if you are new here.)

4. And most of all, reviews are for customers, not feedback for authors. If the author can gain from the reviews, that's great, but that is not the purpose any more than rating a toaster is to make the manufacturer feel good. (It seems this is the hardest part for indie authors to understand.)

I'm probably forgetting something, but I would be interested in your thoughts on the above.

Posted on Apr 26, 2012 1:13:36 PM PDT

I too have become friendly with reviewers, particularly with the lady who only gave me a 3 star review. Away from here. The issue is not the quality of the contact you have with the reviewers, it is how it is perceived here. And too much contact makes people think that your good reviews may not be impartial, which is decidedly BAD contact.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 1:21:44 PM PDT
Iola says:
Why bother? Intelligent people will discard a review that has "offensive or possibly even libellous insinuations about the book's author" (or his/her relatives), and if someone isn't that intelligent, an author telling them the review is bad isn't going to change anything but might make the author look bad.

On spoilers? Other readers will notice and comment, and again, if the reviewer is the kind of person who adds spoilers without putting a spoiler alert, they are not the kind of person who will change the review just because someone points it out to them.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 1:23:10 PM PDT
Author says:
How many reviews published in the New York times are "impartial." Simply selecting a book to review renders it favored. Funny how the ones reviewed seem to be the subject of full page ads . . . .

Posted on Apr 26, 2012 1:26:43 PM PDT
No need to respond to reviews. Neither authors nor other readers. It's an opinion. Some can express themselves, some can't, some don't understand the book and no comment will make them understand.

Best to leave them well alone, methinks.

Posted on Apr 26, 2012 1:41:49 PM PDT
Just now reading your response "For a person who wants to make money selling books or records to the public, there is no such thing as BAD personal contact with the fans."

I definitely suggest that you read all 90 pages or so of the badly behaving authors thread. Some authors' reputations have been destroyed by responding to reviews.

I suppose that your personal interaction with fans is a good thing for you, but just not on the Amazon site, unless it is in the MOA forum. Let people know where they can find you on FB, Twitter, whatever. And please try to remember that not everyone is going to be your fan and your book will NOT remain a 5-star book after it gets into non-fan hands. Virtually every indie book I look at starts out as a solid 5-star book! Does anyone really think they are? Of course they don't! Maybe 2-5% of the self-published books deserve those 5-stars. (There are other threads that discuss this - devaluing the friends and family plan, for one.)

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 10:17:28 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 26, 2012 10:23:38 PM PDT
"Hey, what do you guys think about that discussion forum that appears for each product about half way down the product's page? Should the author steer clear of that area too?"

Not everyone agrees with me, but I think that's the perfect place for an author to post information or engage with readers. If the author starts their own thread then any reader who responds is choosing to engage with the author, just like if they'd gone to the author's blog. The problem is a lot of readers don't scroll down that far, so never see it. But that doesn't mean it should be made use of anyway.

Edit to add: I'm pretty certain Amazon does not consider that inappropriate promotion because you are already on the book's page. The entire page is promotion!

Posted on Apr 27, 2012 4:10:07 AM PDT
John Green says:
Hehehe- what does it say about how so many spammers still haven't figured that out yet.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 27, 2012 4:33:15 PM PDT
Splinker says:
I send everyone muffin baskets. But if you give a two star review, you only get bran.

Posted on Apr 29, 2012 3:51:08 PM PDT
As a reader/ buyer of kindle books, I find author comments on negative reviews to be even more off-putting than the negative reviews themselves. In fact, any author comment--whether meant to confront and correct the misguided negative reviews, or intended to bless the right-minded positive reviews with heartfelt author thanks--is so indicative of a controlling, narcissistic personality that I just walk on by as I would a crazy person on the street. But that's just me. Give me reader reviews of books and spare me the painfully predictable author reviews of reader reviews of books.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 30, 2012 5:26:05 AM PDT
I would agree with that. The only response I gave was in the UK when the comment said I'll give the proceeds away to Japan. Which I did, but only for the first three months and I didn't want that anyone was misguided afterwards. It had nothing to do with the 'quality' of the book, though. I leave them well alone. People can write whatever they feel.

Posted on May 18, 2012 9:40:46 AM PDT
Where is the "Authors Behaving Badly" thread? I just came across a spate of responses from a bestselling author to 1-star reviews that were so egregious, and made him look so petty and jerky, that I am compelled to at least see if there is any chatter on his rudeness. (His first name is a derivative of Theodore and his last name is something you ring. There's a famous one in Philly.)

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2012 9:55:43 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 18, 2012 9:55:58 AM PDT
Miss M says:
LOL - you should always have the BBA on speed-dial! (They're actually in the Romance forum but they don't discriminate...) ;)

Posted on May 18, 2012 10:30:31 AM PDT
I've only read the first page of this topic because the subject matter was of interest. I responded to a review and didn't realize I was breaking some sort of etiquette that was unknown to me. I was shocked by the positive review and being a new author I wanted to say thank you and let the reader know that because of that review I intend to write more. Speaking only for myself as a reader I was always interested and appreciative of an author who responded to readers. I thank you for correcting me on the etiquette and I will refrain from responding to all future reviews (if I receive any).

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2012 10:41:06 AM PDT
I hope your reader appreciated that! Apparently, there are some around that don't, from what I gather from this thread.

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2012 10:41:38 AM PDT
I honestly never thought of it like that... thanking one could anger future reviewers who don't get thanked and (without meaning to, at least in my case) influencing reviewers to go soft on their review... I'm so glad I read this topic now so I don't make that mistake again. :)
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Discussion in:  Kindle Book forum
Participants:  81
Total posts:  321
Initial post:  Apr 2, 2012
Latest post:  Oct 17, 2012

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