With the incident that occurred last weekend and has continued to set Twitter on fire, I thought I’d give 13 reasons why I never respond to bad reviews.
1. It’s giving it too much thought.
Everyone has an opinion and though the negative reviews are interesting, they can rent WAY too much space in my head.
2. I become too focused on them
I’ve been known to get awesome reviews-several-and yet, I think of the one bad one everytime I think about the book in question. So, I’d say I don’t have a balanced view of reviews of my work.
3. It can make people defensive
Even before some of these incidents occurred, reviewers could be strongly protective of their space. For good reason. Author comment on reader opinion can be detrimental to the discussion. Readers who may have a negative opinion may stay silent in the online presence of the author.
4. It’s baiting
It is. It’s saying “I know what you said about me and I’m going to let you know I know.” Following a discussion about one’s book is fine. Staying out of it is wise.
5. There ARE internet bullies
Hale’s case is NOT an example of this. Harris’s review was pretty clear and concise about her opinion without (IMHO) being unreasonably bitchy. But that’s not true of all people on the internet. It is INFINITELY better to remain silent and let the work speak for itself.
6. It won’t change anything
I have never seen a reviewer change their opinion/rating for a book due to an author’s “input”. I HAVE seen bad ratings given for authors who behave like idiots. I don’t want to go there.
7. Even factual errors don’t actually matter
There are people that are going to read my book and they’ll know if a review is factually incorrect. Let other readers point out errors. The author’s job is to write the best book they can write and to interact with readers in a positive manner. Correcting people isn’t necessary.
8. The Dog Pile Factor
Listen carefully. When readers feel their space is invaded, they are defensive. Authors who cross a line and push into discussion can often be “dog piled”. Meaning that several internet people will come down on said author like a ton of bricks. IT IS NOT BULLYING. A dog pile happens when several people agree and don’t agree with you. Now I’m talking about in a comment section. It is VASTLY DIFFERENT when an author/person/whatever directs his or her fans to “go after” a person/reviewer/author. Dog piling can be uncomfortable and feel awful, but MOST OF THE TIME it’s not vicious and ugly. It can cross that line and descend into mob mentality fairly easily.
9. Words are weapons
that can be used against me. What you say can be quoted, have screen shots and used against me. Especially if I’ve responded with a kneejerk response to a bad review. Those responses are never good.
10. I’d love for my book to gain attention but not like this.
11. Again, it keeps me focused on the bad and interferes with writing.
12. For every reader that hates my book, there’s probably one that loves it.
13. Obsession is not healthy
And for me, obsession starts with responding…and reacting…and thinking about….then responding…..RABBIT HOLE!!! Therein lies insanity.