Should Authors Respond to Reviewers? by Catherine McKenzie

HiddenSo you're an author, and your book is out there in the world. You've sweated and agonized and copy edited and re-read; in short, you've done everything you could to make sure your book is the best thing you can write at that moment. You wait nervously for its release. Will it sell? Will people like it? And then the reviews start to appear. Maybe it's a positive review (yeah!); maybe it's negative (ouch!), but the reviewer takes the time to explain what it is they didn't like about the book in a clear and fair way (still ouch, but okay, I get it, no book is for everyone).

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Your decision to say "nothing" is open hearted, kind, and insightful. You rightfully move the focus from the writer or even the book and place it on the reviewer. Many reviewers write, not for potential readers, but for themselves--there's a certain egoistic superiority expressed in many negative reviews that reveal a jealousy that the reviewer is not capable of producing anything as good as the writer. Keep writing. Keep honest to yourself and to your vision, and let the reviewers read or misread as they will.

I have reviewed a number of books for Bookbrowse, but have made it a point not to write a review for any book to which I could not assign a 4 or 5 because, first of all, taste comes into play and I don't want to use my own likes and dislikes to become some kind of standard for judgment--I just admit this is not for me. Second, a reviewer is helping readers find books that are not only worth reading but which can enrich their lives--if a book hasn't done that for me, I don't have the right to foist my response on others who may find the book a revelation.

So, keep on writing, Catherine, for all our sakes.

Bob
# Posted By bob sauerbrey | 4/17/14 10:54 AM
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