Friday, April 20, 2012

Authors on Reviews: To Comment or Not to Comment (event hop)


The reading experience has taken an interesting public dimension in recent times. With the advent of websites like Goodreads, and with the rise of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, readers are able to easily interact and communicate with other readers and authors. The reading community has expanded far beyond the local book clubs.

With thousands of books being published yearly in a variety of genre, the question: "What do I read next?" becomes harder and harder to answer. And websites like Goodreads and review blog sites have become helpful tools for readers. For the most part, the experience is positive: I've discovered new authors and new books through the recommendation of other readers.

Reviews have become an indispensable reference for readers -- and has also become an essential barometer of readers' taste for authors and publishers.

Which is why the question posed today is important:
Should Authors Comment On Reviews? Why?

The short answer is no.

One assumes that, once a book has been published, it has gone through the process of being read, edited, critiqued, read again, edited again, etc -- it is the completed product of the author and editor collaboration.

And then it becomes the reader's turn:

When I read a book, the farthest thing from my mind is to nitpick and hate it. I expect the reading experience to be enjoyable so, in the rare instance that I don't like the book (last year, it was 7 out of 137 books), I must explain to myself why.

I would like to believe that reviews are written with the best and most sincere intentions. That the reviewer has done his research and read the book thoroughly.

At the end of it all, when a review isn't what the author expected, he should remember that it is from someone's personal experience of the book -- and that ought to be respected.

To quote John Steinbeck:

A man who tells secrets or stories must think of who is hearing or reading, for a story has as many versions as it has readers. Everyone takes what he wants or can from it and thus changes it to his measure. Some pick out parts and reject the rest, some strain the story through their mesh of prejudice, some paint it with their own delight. A story must have some points of contact with the reader to make him feel at home in it. Only then can he accept wonders.

This hop is being hosted by Nat of Reading Romances. To go to the main page for this event hop, click here.

Thank you for stopping by!

To read other bloggers' thoughts on this subject, hop on!




42 comments:

  1. Visiting the hop. Thanks for stopping by our post as well. Loved your comment on our site.

    Being new to the review scene, it's interesting to note the differing opinions. Though I personally like interactivity when it's positive, I see why many choose not to say anything. I respect that.

    What's nice about the conversation going both ways is that I've had a few experiences where I've been able to suggest things to the author. Whether they heed or not is up to them, but being silent wouldn't have awarded either one of us the opportunity.

    IOW, I think there's room for both opinions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi!

      Thanks for dropping by!

      I agree (and I'm glad) that there is room for readers and writers to be able to share their opinions on a number of topics -- and I'm relieved that, for the most part, reception is positive.

      Like you, I'm new to the review scene and I've enjoyed the opportunity to interact with fellow readers and the authors we read.

      Delete
  2. I personally like comments, but I enjoyed reading your opinions. They were well written and well thought out. Great post. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Jenn!

      I'd probably be doing cartwheels if an author dropped by my blog -- if they left a comment, I would welcome it -- good and bad.

      (IF it were negative, I'd read it and find a way to respond privately -- but I would definitely not publish it here.)

      Thanks for dropping by!

      Delete
    2. I haven't yet had an author leave a negative comment on my blog but if/when that happens, I might publish it if I thought it had value and wasn't rude or insulting. Rude or insulting comments from anyone get deleted. Disagree with me, but don't get nasty. My blog, my sandbox. :P

      Delete
    3. Hi, Bea!

      Thanks for dropping by!

      How true -- I guess if the comment had value, it would merit publishing.

      I read through the 2 links that were on your blog. I've learned a lot from this event hop. ^_^

      Delete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this touchy subject & participating in the hop.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Vanessa!

      I've visited your blog and also read your thoughts on the subject.

      I actually didn't realize how "touchy" this subject was until I read some bloggers anecdotes about past experience with authors and negative reviews.

      I'm still new to this and I'm trying my best to learn all the "rules" -- ^_^

      Delete
  5. What an interesting post! I do like when authors comment on my reviews of their books, but it doesn't happen often. I guess if the review was bad it could be awkward. :) It is so fascinating to hear everyones varied thoughts on this topic.

    I am a new follower here!
    ~Jess
    http://thesecretdmsfilesoffairdaymorrow.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Jess!

      Thank you for dropping by!

      (May I say, I love the name of your blog!)

      I thought about this topic from a very traditional POV -- back in university, during lit classes, one way of reading was to not take the author into consideration when analyzing a text. So it shouldn't matter if I misunderstood something because that was how I read it.

      But, since lit class was over a decade ago, I guess the traditional practice shouldn't be applied so stringently ...

      Delete
  6. I like author comments but a Thank You for the review is all I ever expect.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, JC!

      I think it's wonderful if we get affirmation for the reviews that we write.

      For the most part, I think authors have been exceedingly gracious and kind -- but I think that there have been instances when a few authors have not reacted nicely to a negative review ...

      Delete
  7. I also like author comments on my reviews, provided they are polite and appropriate. That said, given the speed of social media, and that everyone has bad days where they might say or do something stupid, I think it's safest for authors not to say anything on reviews. At least, not in public.

    Thanks for your post and for visiting mine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think social media is partly responsible for why we are having to discuss this topic.

      As you said, communication is faster -- and it's out there for everyone to read.

      Which is why I personally read and reread and rethink what I say online.

      Delete
  8. Books are very subjective, like art! If there are problems with the final product, and the art piece isn't received by the public the way the artist thought, it's the artist's responsibility to rethink the concept. I believe it's the same way with books, although they can choose to comment or not, it's important they read them =)

    Thank you for participating!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi!

      I like that you emphasize the artist's responsibility. In the same way that reviewers also have a certain responsibility about the books that are being reviewed. ^_^

      Thanks for dropping by!

      Delete

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