When to Reply to Reviews

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It’s a pretty established rule in the world that you shouldn’t respond to negative reviews, but as Lauralynn Elliott asked, what about good reviews? Should you thank the reviewer?

I was curios what everyone else thought about this. I think if it’s a review site, or someone you asked specifically to review your book, then you should drop by and thank them even if the review isn’t great because they took the time to read and write at your request.

But what if it’s a random review somewhere else? Have you ever looked someone up to thank them or offer them a coupon for another book? Or have you just commented back? If so how did it go? Inquiring minds want to know.

17 thoughts on “When to Reply to Reviews

  1. Lovelyn April 2, 2011 / 8:21 pm

    I think you should thank reviewers if taking the time to read your book if you’ve solicited them for a review. I don’t think you should thank them in blog comments though. In my opinion sending a personal email is the best thing to do.

    • Joleene Naylor April 3, 2011 / 2:30 am

      Thanks for the feedback, Lovelyn!

  2. Ruth Ann Nordin April 2, 2011 / 9:14 pm

    Hmmm… Well, Zoe Winters advises to just leave the reviews alone on places like Amazon. I don’t leave any comments at all except to send a personal email if I’m already familiar with the person. I have thanked my readers on a blog for reviews they have left on a certain book. Usually, people will email me to let me know they left a good review for me, so that’s how I find out about them. In that case, I give them a thank you. I learned that offering a free book has made some people uncomfortable, so I don’t do that anymore.

    I think this is one of those subjective things. I don’t see how it hurts to say thank you because it’s positive. I guess this is something that if you feel it’s the right thing to do in your heart, you should. 😀

    • Joleene Naylor April 3, 2011 / 2:32 am

      Thanks, Ruth. I’ve never commented back to nay random reviews myself. People are pretty tight with them, I am more likely to get a comment or an email that says “Oh, I read it/am reading it and like it!” rather than any official reviews, LOL!

  3. Rose Gordon April 3, 2011 / 1:19 am

    I personally had an unusual situation last week were I got an e-mail from someone I’ve never had any kind of contact with outside of answering a question for her once on a forum. Her e-mail was short and to the point: she’d just reviewed my book on her blog. Now, if I’d asked her to do this, I’d rush over and see what she’d said–good or bad. But since I hadn’t, I was really hesitant to go look.

    Finally, I convinced myself she wouldn’t have bothered to e-mail me if she was going to trash my book, right? So I did go look and sent her a private e-mail back thanking her for doing that (she didn’t trash my book in case you’re wondering–if she had, I’d have been mad that she took it upon herself to go beyond just putting a negative review on Amazon and actually made a post about how bad it was).

    But for a review (good or bad) at Amazon/Goodreads I wouldn’t respond. Those are buying customers who either enjoyed the book or didn’t. But if I asked someone to review my book (author, blogger, website that does reviews, etc) I’d tell them thank them whether the review was good or bad. The spent time reading my book and writing the review, so whether they loved it or hated it, a thank you is in order.

    As a side note, another reason I wouldn’t bother replying to any review at Amazon is the people who left the review aren’t likely to come back looking for comments so they’ll not be the ones who read my words of thanks or bitterness, other customers are.

    (Sorry, got a little long-winded, so to speak.)

    • Joleene Naylor April 3, 2011 / 2:35 am

      Thanks, Rose! Wow, that would be a nice surprise, though I’d have been nervous, too. Whenever anyone says, “Oh, I read your book…” I always wait for the next sentence to be “and I hated it”. Just that strange lack of ego thing, I guess.

      No problem! We like long winded comments 😉

  4. Judy Croome April 3, 2011 / 5:25 am

    Another useful post. I’m picking up lots of tips on how to maneouvre my way through this brave new world! 🙂 So: Amazon/Goodreads: leave alone. Any other review: decide based on circumstances surrounding review.
    Judy Croome, South Africa

    • Joleene Naylor April 18, 2011 / 12:56 pm

      I think that about sums it up, Judy! Great to see you here!

  5. LA Hilden April 3, 2011 / 1:08 pm

    I was wondering the proper way to go about thanking readers. I had my book in a giveaway and a few of the winners left a review. I thanked the first one but not the others. Now I wonder should I go back and thank them too?

    • Joleene Naylor April 18, 2011 / 12:55 pm

      I think if it’s somewhere public where they can see that you thanked one but not the other then yes, but otherwise if it’s been awhile and it was in an email then maybe not.

  6. Barbie Scott April 10, 2011 / 7:51 pm

    I don’t respond to reviews on Amazon. If I know the person I’ll say thanks privately but otherwise leave it alone. If you start saying thanks for good reviews then you might get carried away and respond negatively to bad ones and that, as we know, leads to meltdown!

    • Joleene Naylor April 18, 2011 / 12:56 pm

      Great advice! Thanks, Barbie 🙂

  7. Reena Jacobs April 18, 2011 / 6:02 pm

    I don’t comment on reviews on Amazon, but I do mark them as helpful sometimes.

    Reviews on blogs, I usually comment, even if the review isn’t favorable. I think the key to commenting on reviews is not to disagree with the reviewer. If someone has an opinion about your work (good or bad), it’s their opinion. There’s no reason to try to convince them they believe something other than they believe.

    I’m not so naive to think my work is perfect, or that it’ll meet everyone’s approval. If nothing else, it’s nice to thank someone for taking the time to read my work. After all, they didn’t have to read to the end, and most reviewers can find something redeemable even if the work is “not for them.”

    As of yet, I’ve yet to receive a negative review, respond to it, then have the backlash other authors have had. But then again, I’m not trying to devalue the opinions of others or make my book out to be better than what the reviewer said. I’m simply thanking the review for the time and effort they put into reading and reviewing my work… and sometimes even showing understanding of where they’ve come from with their criticism.

    • Joleene Naylor April 19, 2011 / 9:55 am

      I do the helpful thing on reviews, too 😉

      Thanks for the feedback! Great to know your method is working well! 😀 I agree, they took the time to read your book after you asked them, so some sort of thank you is just good manners.

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