For a very long time, one of my "do not break" rules has been--
Do NOT respond to reviews, under any circumstances.
Why, you ask? Well I'm going to tell you, and also advise you in advance that this is my personal rule, but it's a good one with sound reason.
Let's say, for shits and giggles, that you as an author begin responding to reviews on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Goodreads. At first, all of your friends, family and fans leave glowing 5 star reviews. They tell you how wonderful your book is, and what an amazing author you are. Great, right? Of course. Ego has been stroked! We ALL go through that phase. Trust me.
Now, a month or two down the road, new readers begin leaving reviews and they're not so glowing, they make you cry-- 1 and 2 star reviews with comments such as; This is the worst book I've ever read, or This writer should have NOT followed their dream because they have no talent. (I've actually read reviews with those very words in them.)
If you began responding to reviews when the 5 stars were rolling in, but you don't when the constructive and in some cases, down right mean reviews are coming in... you'll be labeled a hypocrite for not responding to those also. But, an even bigger problem is the way that you would respond to those negative or constructive reviews.
As a human being, we tend to be defensive of ourselves, our loved ones and our work. So, then you leave a comment on the negative review... something to the effect of; Well, if you didn't like it, you didn't have to leave a shitty review.
Hmm... now in a perfect world it would end there, right? Wrong! Because now your friends, family and ardent fans will want to respond, then the reviewers, family, friends and ardent fans will respond... see how this goes downhill real fast? Good!
As writers, we want real reviews. Honest and constructive feedback of our work. So, reviewers should never feel as though they are going to be pounced upon for telling you how they feel. Remember, ART 101 (of any kind, including writing) our opinions concerning materials of art are subjective, because art is in itself subjective. Every person that reads your single book, will actually read it in a different way, and take different things from it. <-- That's a good thing.
REAL reviewers are truthful and sometimes harsh. 99% of the time, you are going to read the review and constructive criticism will jump off of the page at you. While other times, some readers take personal offense with a particular author... it happens, and say mean and hurtful things. It comes with the territory. I tell all new authors that ask for my advice, make sure you have THICK skin, because this business is brutal!
And, there is another factor to this whole review thing... the fans. In my case, I have fans that are just fans of me,because I'm batshit crazy, while others are fans of my books. But, I value them all. So, I don't want any of them to witness things like that.
Some of you will call me a bitch for speaking the truth and some of you will cheer me on, regardless of how you feel... I speak the truth.
Authors, we NEED reviewers and bloggers to read our work and review it. Personally, I love 3 star reviews. Why? Because usually those are the most helpful. The reviewer takes their time to tell you how they truly feel about your work. For those people... THANK YOU!!! Ten times over, thank you!
Readers/Reviewers/Bloggers, you need us writers to give you these awesome and sometimes not so awesome stories. See guys, we need each other.
I want you to know that I love you guys and want to see the BEST out of, and FOR you.
I want to know what you guys think? Authors, do you respond to reviews? Bloggers, do want Authors to respond to reviews?