Monday, April 16, 2018

DISCUSSION | Authors Commenting on Reviews

Hi everyone! I'm Genni, and welcome back (or to!) my blog. Today I wanted to just write about something that always makes me feel a bit unsettled: authors commenting on reviews of their books. This hasn't happened too much for me, but it has occurred at least twice. While I do like knowing that the author has read my feedback, I also feel a bit guilty. 

I decided to write this post last weekend, when I was going through the reviews on my blog and slowly but surely putting them on goodreads. When I got to the "B" section, I realized that an author had commented on a review of their book. This book, which I'm not going to name, was okay and I gave it three stars. Though the author responded that my feedback helped them, I'm now looking back on it and just feeling a bit weird about the interaction. At the time of the comment, I was so excited that an author noticed me. But then, a weird sense of shame followed me around. Here are some quotes of my review:

"I felt as if the author tried to do a slow burning romance but then got impatient and decided they were in love instead."
 "...but I don't think it is anything special. When I look at all the fantasy books I have read, it just doesn't stand out." 
Obviously, I wasn't expecting the author to read my review, and my review shows that. These were my genuine thoughts on the book, but I began to feel a bit guilty for writing what I did. It went to the extent that when I read the sequel, and didn't like it as much, I didn't write a review for it in dread that the author would once again comment. By commenting on the review, I felt as if I was in the wrong by sharing my honest opinions.

Just under a year later, another author commented on my review of their book, which was once again, not a glowing review. I gave this book 2 out of 5 stars. Here are some of the things I said about the book:
"...really missed the mark for me. "
"I really didn't like the book for the most part."
"I couldn't connect with the characters, so I never was worried for them. The book wasn't thrilling for me, and I felt as if the plot became redundant."
It wasn't like I was being super harsh in my review, and my critiques were my honest opinion. My last line of my review was, "I won't be continuing on with the series." By the time the author had commented, two other bloggers had commented on the post. The author responded with, "I hope you guys give it a go. In books 2/3 Leon Grace and Freya face the virus as it 'evolves'." By the author commenting this, all of a sudden I thought my review was too harsh. The thought even popped into my head that maybe I should read the second book. But then I thought, "No! I didn't like the first book, so why would I continue with the series?" The author made me feel guilty for sharing my honest opinion about a book that I didn't enjoy.

What I've come to realize is this: I write my reviews for my readers and to spread the word, not for the authors to read them. While it is rewarding to see an author notice your work, it also instills some guilt when I leave a less than glowing review. In this case, ignorance in bliss. If an author reads my review, great. But I don't want to see them commenting on it. If I want an author to know I liked their book, I'll tweet them. I don't need, and don't appreciate, when authors try to guilt me into reading their other books or being more lenient with my rating. I was simply doing what was expected of me as a reviewer: being honest. 

Have any authors commented on your reviews of their books? How did you respond, and what did you think of it?

Thanks so much for stopping by and I'll see you soon with another post!

Happy Reading! 

Genni @ Ready, Set, Read!


  1. I don’t mind when authors comment as long as they are respectful and don’t try to be pushy about reading more of their books if I didn’t like it. I think it can be awkward when a review is negative, but authors love feedback and most appreciate even the negative reviews.

    1. I think being respectful is key! In terms of getting feedback, I think it's really important, but I don't think it is necessary to comment on the post. I would be more comfortable if the author emailed me if they wanted to know more about what I thought. Since this is only happened when I've written no-so-positive reviews, I might have a different mindset if they were responding to a glowing review.

  2. It sounds like you were honest without being disrespectful, but I think it is a mistake of an author to comment on the review. If the authors just says, "Thanks for the review", that's ok, but trying to pitch other books just seems wrong to me too, and I can totally understand your discomfort.

    1. I agree. Thanking is still professional, but going further than that isn't okay with me. Hopefully it won't happen that much. :) Thanks for stopping by Sam!

  3. This makes me uncomfortable too! While I do love helping other writers out and telling them where I think they're making a mistake, ultimately, my reviews are for other readers and it's a little uncomfortable if they comment. I don't mind if they read it, but commenting takes it to another level. I'll have the same issue where I'll feel guilty for posting a negative review (especially if it's a book I received from the author for review). I also seem to have the problem where I'll post a favorable review and the author will comment and then I'll feel weird commenting back (as is my practice) because it feels like then my review isn't as unbiased because I'm friendly with the author. It's not true but I can't shake the feeling! I think author support of bloggers is best done from afar.

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    1. I'm glad I'm not alone! I feel the same exact way. I write my reviews with my audience in mind, not the authors. I feel guilty posting a negative review of a Netgalley book, so I can't imagine how I would feel if I received the book from the author. I think that would make me uncomfortable as well! Maybe not as much because I loved the book, but I think I would get uncomfortable over time.

      Thanks for stopping by Laura!!

  4. Yeah this could definitely make you uncomfortable as a reviewer, for sure. I've had authors comment only a few times, and frankly I like it that way lol, for the reasons you describe. It is weird when an author comments on a less than glowing review. If I were an author I wouldn't do that. I just think we have to be honest and hopefully most authors get it.

    1. I agree Greg; we have to continue to be honest despite our worries about offending the author. If they want to comment, I would be okay with just, "Thank you for the review" like Sam suggested!