What the Feck?! (WTF?!)
Every Monday we talk about a book related topic
that had us thinking WTF?! while reading a book
or talking to others in the book community.
Authors Interacting with Readers
There have been lots of discussions about authors responding to negative reviews and most agreed that authors would be better served by just ignoring these and staying out of the fray. There's very little to be gained and lots at risk for an author to engage in these situations.
There was a bit of a split, however, on authors engaging with the reader on positive reviews. I still think it is prudent practice to limit comments to "liking" a review or saying "thanks" or "glad you enjoyed it" unless the reader/reviewer has first reached out to the author.
Some others in the discussion liked having an author initiate communication with them about a review, positive or negative, as long as the interaction was respectful and thoughtful.
I really like writers and will always be grateful for the pleasure and enjoyment they've brought me, past, present and undoubtedly in the future. My point of view is completely from the perspective of protecting these writers. With a few exceptions, most of those who entered into a discussion with reviewers about a negative review aren't bad people; they were misguided and ended up seriously suffering from their errs in judgment. The risks for initiating interaction, IMHO, are far greater than any perceived benefit.
Social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) offer readers and reviewers an excellent opportunity to engage with authors in appropriate ways. Book sites like Goodreads and Shelfari also provide means for them to connect beyond book reviews. And, blogs like this one give readers an opportunity to learn more about authors of interest and engage during interviews, guest posts and the like.
I love interacting with authors and most came from my initiation (except for requests to review a book and I'm excluding these type of interactions from this discussion) either through emails, twitter, Facebook or book sites. These are private discussions most of the time and they've had an opportunity to get to know me. Most love hearing from readers and enjoy the feedback.
I firmly believe that the intended audience for reviews are other readers. Should an author read them? Why not, I know I'd find it hard to resist. Even the less positive ones have something to offer (most of the time) when the reader shares from the heart. Now here comes the big BUT....I don't believe an author should ever comment on these reviews other than what I stated above. The rewards are small and career risks immeasurable.
Where are you on this topic?
Am I being too conservative?
Do you have another point of view?
We'd really love to get your perspective.