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So, readers (and writers, for that matter), let’s talk about Goodreads. When you leave a review of a book, especially a good review, do you want the author to acknowledge it in some way? I had been told early on that I should not acknowledge any reviews at all by readers on various sites, but now I’m seeing some authors click the ‘like’ button on certain reviews, and other authors thanking the reviewer for saying nice things about their book. This, obviously, has me wondering–what do readers really want?

Now, writers, I know many of you will say, “You shouldn’t read reviews at all ever!” But I have found, so far anyway, that reading reviews is not too emotionally damaging to me. Though, admittedly, the few negative reviews the books have garnered have stuck in my mind in a much more aggressive manner than the more abundant positive reviews. Obviously, my inner fraud terror is looking for ways to beat myself up, but I also think that learning to box that stuff up is a healthy skill. Or so I tell myself! Perhaps I’ll change my mind when I inevitably get more virulent negative reviews in the future.

Regardless–to reply or not to reply? Tell me, oh readers, what do you want most? To be ignored and left alone in your reviews? Or to have an author click ‘like’? Or to have them reply with a gleeful thanks?

For the record, I’m 100% all about ignoring any negative comments, even if they are false and even if they imply the person didn’t even read the book.

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13 thoughts on “To Reply Or Not To Reply, That Is the Question

    1. I hear you. I’m not sure what the etiquette is on Goodreads, though. On a blog, it seems pretty clear,but on Goodreads, I’m not sure if commenting on the reviews is seen as a good thing or not.

  1. I sit on both sides of the fence, writer and reader/reviewer.

    As a writer, as a rule, I don’t reply in any way to reviews. Lately I haven’t even been reading them. If it’s someone I know well, I may address a question that is asked. Sometimes a question about a sequel or something specific I will respond to, but as a rule, I don’t respond. Why? I’m not sure. I just started that way and I have continued. It seems to work well for me.

    As a reader/reviewer, I don’t really care either way. Sometimes if I have a review of a book I loved I like to know the author has seen it. I don’t send review links (except to publishers) so I’m never sure if books I’ve bought and reviewed get to the author’s awareness. So it makes me feel good to know they are probably pleased to see something positive. If my review is less positive and I see the author as seen it, I feel badly. LOL I don’t LIKE saying I didn’t like your book, but …. I don’t care if authors comment. They sometimes do on our blog and as long as it’s not aggressive and flamey, I’m happy to interact with them. So all that to say, “whatever”. Authors can if they want, or don’t if they want. It doesn’t change anything for me. (Knock on wood, I’ve been lucky to never have been attacked by minions or sock puppets or an author themselves. Perhaps if I had that would change my attitude.)

    1. As a writer, as a rule, I don’t reply in any way to reviews.

      This has been my M.O., too.

      As a reader/reviewer, I don’t really care either way. Sometimes if I have a review of a book I loved I like to know the author has seen it.

      Yes, I admit that I enjoy it when the author (or other readers) click ‘like’ on a review I’ve left on Goodreads. It feels good to know they saw my good review. It is that ‘like’ button that has led me to this post, actually. I’ve wondered about clicking it on good reviews, but then worry about the etiquette of it. It seems probably better to do nothing, because nothing is less likely to offend than something in almost every case, but that like button is so shiny!

      If my review is less positive and I see the author as seen it, I feel badly. LOL I don’t LIKE saying I didn’t like your book,

      No, I imagine not! LOL!

      (Knock on wood, I’ve been lucky to never have been attacked by minions or sock puppets or an author themselves. Perhaps if I had that would change my attitude.)

      *double knocks* I hope that doesn’t ever happen to you! 🙂 Thanks for the input! This is definitely food for thought.

  2. It would be nice to get some sort of interaction, even if it was just a like, when I take the time to write a review. But I do not expect it and would be highly surprised if I ever got it LOL It seems like a very slippery slope because if a writer is responding to positive reviews, should they also respond to negative ones? It would be awkward to “like” a negative review and even more awkward to respond in written form to it. But if the writer only responds to the positive reviews, will it be taken as the author ignoring the criticism and only bestowing favor upon those that flatter the author? Because the negative reviewer also spent time reading and thinking and reviewing so are they not deserving of some sort of acknowlegment.

    It is also entirely possible that I put too much thought into this. Or maybe not enough because I tend to just ramble on and have no idea if I make sense to anyone but myself…….

  3. I had decided beforehand that I wasn’t going to either comment or like any reviews my book got, to remain totally detached. But I found actually that when I liked a review, I wanted to communicate that to the reviewer so it was quite instinctual. And yeah, I think I’ll continue with that. I mean, I like other people’s reviews of other books so yeah, the authentic interaction carries over.

    I know I get quite pleased when an author of a book I’ve reviewed tells me I understood exactly what they were trying to say and do with the book. So I guess that’s me giving back to a reviewer who does the same for me. 🙂

    Commenting, though? Never, no. Definitely not. Anyway, there’s other ways a reader can interact with us as writers …. commenting on blogs here, DMs on Twitter, actual tweets, etc. I feel like commenting on a review would be intrusive on my part.

  4. I like replies (or likes). I don’t get upset if I don’t get one, because I don’t expect the author to actually read my review, but if the author likes my review, I’m happy that I could give them positive feedback.

    1. See, that sounds lovely. I agree. At the same time, it seems that those who don’t want replies or ‘likes’ are vehemently against it. I’m not sure it’s worth risking offending in hopes of reaching those who will feel touched/happy. *ponders*

  5. I find it really creepy, actually. Professional writing to me means that some distance should be maintained between author and reader; our roles demand separation. (This is different than in fandom, where I am generally offended if a comment is not answered, because are roles are the same: fan.) I especially dislike when an author says they are upset by my review or tries to otherwise ‘argue’ it (which has happened). It’s weird and creepy and even when I’ve left a positive review, I don’t want the author involved!

    1. How would you feel about a ‘like’ on Goodreads to a review you’ve left? Still very creepy and DNW? It seems to me that those who enjoy the ‘likes’ are more mild in their reaction than those who do not enjoy the ‘likes’. I’d rather err on the side of caution and not click ‘like’ than offend anyone who really, really, really did not want that. Hmm.

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