Should authors interact with citizen-reviewers? I say, sometimes

Publishers Weekly says, “Is it time for a Miss Manners intervention? These days it’s tricky to keep up with the name-calling surrounding citizen reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and Twitter.

In the biggest recent dustup, over a one-star January 13 Goodreads review of Kiera Cass’s The Selection – a YA novel about a lottery that allowed 35 teenage girls to compete, a la The Bachelor, for a handsome prince – the war of words got heated enough that one commenter referred to a citizen reviewer as “that bitch.”


What no one in the article addresses - and I’m not feeling up to putting it out there in the comments - is interacting with readers who love your books. I don’t think that’s a bad idea at all.

For example, a year ago, this review popped up on Amazon for Shock Point.

Middle grade teachers, don't miss this book! It grabs you from the first few sentences and doesn't let up until the very end. It is very believable and real. I would put this in the hands of any middle school reader (reluctant or not) and then let it work its magic. Even better, create a buzz by showing it to your students and giving them a preview of the plot. Warning: be sure to have a blank tablet nearby because you will need to start a sign-out to avoid a classroom cage match situation. When the reader finishes and asks you for another book like this (trust me, they will) give them 'Girl, Stolen', also by April Henry. Again, you'll be glad you did.

The guy signed his real name and said what state he came from. A little googling turned up an email address. I sent him a thank you note. He sent me a nice note back.

And this coming March, I’m going to visit his school. I’m super excited, and it never would have happened if I hadn’t reached out.

Sure, it might not always be a good idea. I see my books reviewed on blogs, Good Reads, Amazon, etc. Only sometimes do I respond to a positive review. But usually I think it’s worth it or at worst, neutral.

Read the whole PW article here.



site stats
I've sent thank you notes to some teachers and librarians, too, when they have posted an especially gushing and raving review - and they always seem very pleased and excited to hear from me. And it's led to some other nice stuff as well. ;-)
I respond to positive reviews sparingly--if the reviewer tweets them directly at me, for example, or if they pose a question in the review ("I wonder if there'll be a sequel?") that I can easily answer. Never had anyone sound anything other than happy to hear from me.
yeah, if someone tweets, I figure they want a response.

Not long now until your book is out, right?
I have sent brief thanks, especially if the person sends me a link or directly tweets me a compliment.

I just published a book about a suicide attempt and one person has already commented to me about how this relates to their own life, and of course I responded. I'm not a doctor and I'm not going to play one, but if someone comments to me on that very basic human level, chances are that I will respond.