I’ve been review bullied on Amazon.
It’s happened to you or someone you know, I’ll bet.
Did they call your opinion ridiculous? Did they pick apart your character description? Did they personally malign you or your intelligence for your opinion of a book?
Reviews are a personal opinion. Someone unabashedly loved or hated a book, was on the fence about it at the end, or was just willing enough to supply feedback.
Feedback is a beautiful gift.
Don’t sully it by inferring that the reviewer doesn’t read that genre, know the author, or write themselves. The person offering a review is a reader and we all love readers. Love it or hate it, don’t attack the reviewer.
If you’re reading this blog post, you probably read independent authors. But on Amazon a strange culture of review bullying arose in the aftermath of self-publishing. An indie author might hop on and explain what the book means, or raise the cry, “This was really hard!! You don’t know what it’s like to create a world!” Hopefully they leave it at that.
How-to-Author-type sites tell writers not to reply, or even read, comments and reviews. Maybe a good idea to know how you’re work’s received, though. Just don’t respond in anger. We authors need to tell our friends and family, our fans and detractors the same thing. Don’t respond to reviews. Don’t get in a fight about someone’s opinion.
Reviewers are rare and wily creatures. If approached without care, reviewers retreat to the wilderness, blending in with their purchasing surroundings and won’t be seen again (at least not on your work of choice).
I seen review bullying in very popular traditional novels, too. Have you seen the strings of comments on negative reviews of this year’s summer blockbuster teen movie’s original book. That’s a mouthful, but you know what I mean. Review bullying is a real problem in indie writing.
If they appear at all reviews might start looking something like this:
“Sorry. I didn’t like every apostrophe you brother’s/wife’s/friend’s book. It wasn’t that I was reading outside my genre, it was that I recognized/didn’t like/expected more from the plot or characters, and thought it needed edited and my honest reply was to warn people that this book was not money well spent. Please don’t hunt me down. I’m a nice person and wanted more from a book.”
Authors, readers, let’s stand together, hand out and filled with books.
(Have you left your thoughts on a book? You really should, authors live on reviews and caffeine. OK, sometimes chocolate and booze. I won’t hurt you, and neither will most of the good writers out there.)
And authors, you know who you are, please stop telling reviewers you disagree with them. Don’t ask for their address to send money back or tell them other people liked your book. Reviewers can see your reviews for themselves, and they can see how you reply to reviews as well.