So you guys know I don’t actually read reviews, right? I just can’t. Whether they’re good or bad (and they’re 99% good, thank God), it oogies me out. My husband Eric summarizes them for me. When I need to copy them, I literally disassociate my eyes from the text and copy/paste.
Yes, that’s a little extreme, I know.
Another thing I don’t do is respond to reviews. Ever. When a book blogger reviews one of my books, I thank them for reading and featuring my book, but I don’t comment on (or read) the review. When a reader posts a review online, the most I ever do is paste it to social media or this blog (eyes averted).
The reason I don’t respond to reviews is three-fold:
1. It sets a precedent that I might not always choose to continue. That tends to result in disappointed people.
2. I don’t want reviewers to feel overly visible, and hearing back from the author can freak people out. I’ve seen it happen. I think that it’s hard for some people to leave reviews, and I want it to be a safe way for them to leave honest feedback, whether positive or negative.
3. And if it is negative, the worst thing I could do would be to respond. If I said thanks, like I would normally, I’d sound sarcastic. If I said anything else, I’d sound argumentative. I think it is seriously bad juju to respond to a negative review in any way. But if I’m responding to all the positive ones, why would I single out a negative one to ignore? See #1, precedent.
Recently, a reader posted this lovely review, and chose to include her real name (as many people do), which you can click to read full size on Amazon:
Eric told me she was reading the book for her book club’s March pick. He posted it to Facebook:
He’s right. I would. If they weren’t in my backyard, I would Skype with them. I love doing that. It’s one of those special joys that every author should grab with both hands if given the opportunity. But I don’t know Anne Stasny.
“You should just respond to her review on Amazon and tell her you’d do it,” Eric said. Quickly he added, “But I know, I know, you don’t respond to reviews.”
Because I don’t.
So, there you have it. Now you know why I don’t respond to reviews.
But should I?