On the Carina Press author loop recently was a discussion about reviews. One author had gotten a particularly thoughtful review on Goodreads and wanted to post a comment thanking the reader, and also providing more information that the reader had wondered about. During the discussion, the question was posed wondering whether authors should say anything at all in response to reviews, or if they should simply maintain silence about reviews, in response to reviews, across the board.
On one hand, there’s an argument that it might feel rude not to thank someone for a particularly glowing, thoughtful or in-depth review. On the other hand is the idea that’s been put forth before that having the author show up in the comments–whether on Goodreads, Twitter or blog comments can stifle conversation about the book, or make readers feel as if the author is watching. Of course, readers understand that authors ARE watching, but to some, perhaps, the appearance of the author in the comments makes this more of a reality than just a possibility and creates a feeling of now having to watch what they say.
Authors on the Carina loop were, of course, in agreement that NO response should be made to negative reviews, but there was some honest confusion about positive reviews.
You tell us, what do you think? Should authors thank a reviewer for a positive review? Is it better if it’s done via a private email or private message (on a site like Goodreads?) rather than in the comment thread? Or is it better if the author simply maintains radio silence across the board? If you’re a reviewer, do you enjoy getting an acknowledgment from the author, of the time spent reading their book and writing a review, or does an author response really not matter to you?