reading There have been plenty of stories over the years of authors who have gone a bit off the deep end when reacting to negative reviews. However, what should authors do when a good review comes along?

Some have thanked the reviewer for their opinion, while others say nothing.

Being thankful or silence.

Personally, I enjoy when an author leaves a comment on one of my reviews. A simple ‘thank you’ can go a long way, especially if the remarks don’t feel spammy. Rather, the author seemed to appreciate that you took the time to read their book and write a review for it, even if the review wasn’t 100 percent positive.

Often that small bit of interaction will get me to see what else the author has written and possibly continue reading more of their work. It feels that they are in this with the reader, a collaborative effort.

As anything on the internet, it often feels like we are shouting (or writing) into this great void. Without comments, it feels as though no one could be paying attention. So even if the author is the only person to comment, at least that is one.

Although, the key is not to make the remarks feel automated. However, if authors are thin-skinned and find themselves looking to defend even the slightest bit of criticism, no response is probably the best option.

How do you feel about authors leaving comments on positive reviews?


  1. The etiquette of reviews, according to all the long-time pro authors I’ve talked to, is that you always thank a reviewer or review site/magazine that you’ve contacted for the review whether the review is good or bad.

    If they send you the review ahead of it being posted or published, you only comment on the content if they have made some factual error such as your name, a character’s name, or book info being wrong.

    Once, I asked a review site to rewrite the plot summary because the review gave away a SIXTH SENSE style final plot twist, and I knew that would p*ss off readers. The review magazine did because they had been unaware of the reviewer’s goof.

    The major point is to be polite and professional.

    There are no hard and fast rules of contact for reader reviews, but polite and professional should cover it.

  2. Me, I’d rather they didn’t. The “thanks” merely clutter up the reviews. Too many of them, and I start to think the author is insecure and trolling for props. Nah, I know they’re not, it just feels that way when I read the reviews.

    The author wrote the book. They said what they had to say. Unless there’s a substantive issue to be addressed, I’d rather they just go on to their next book.

    To address Marilynn’s initial point: if the review was *requested* by the author, then of course a thank-you is in order. If you ask for any kind of favor, it’s only proper to thank someone for granting the favor. But make it a private thanks, to the reviewer.

  3. It’s my understanding that reviews are for the readers’ benefit, not the authors. Obviously if a review has been solicited by an author or their publisher then it’s only good manners to send a ‘thank you’, but that can always be done in an email rather than, as Doug put it above, by ‘cluttering up’ the reviews.

    I think the rule should always be ‘the reviews aren’t for you. Stay out’, whether the reviews are good or bad.

  4. I was going to say the exact same thing as Jane Lovering. And I feel adamantly about it, so I am going to expand on it.

    Customer reviews are by customers, for customers, and there is no place for the author in that relationship. I won’t write book reviews anymore because I feel like authors think it is all about them. If you write a good review you are doing them a solid. If you write a bad review, it is a personal attack. I now have to think what an author is going to think/feel about my review and I don’t want to write reviews under those terms. If I don’t like a book, I only want to tell others what I don’t like about it. I don’t want to make an author feel bad. I don’t want that baggage hanging over me when I write a review. And if I write a positive review, I don’t want a pat on the back from the author as if I were doing them a favor. I only want to communicate thoughts that will help other readers decide if they might want to buy this book or not.

    To me, it is unprofessional for an author to have any reaction at all to the customer reviews meant to be shared amongst the readers. If a reader addresses an author in person, then by all means, respond. But in a review environment, I think the author should rise above the discussions and stay out. To do otherwise says to me that they are insecure and in need of praise to validate their self worth.

    Because the authors have inserted themselves so intimately into the review process, I no longer want any part of it. If I write a good/bad/mediocre review of a vacuum cleaner, I don’t give a second thought to what the manufacturers has to say about it. Why should books be any different?

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