Feral Friday - When authors read your reviews

It’s Feral Friday! And we here at Book Nerd Reviews thought we would discuss a topic that really sends us feral.

This week, we’re talking about when authors read your reviews:

Kristy’s say:

Is it cool if an author reads a review that I have written? Of course it is! But in all honesty, I just look at that as a bonus. After all, I am not here to write reviews that are glowing in hopes that an author will read it and will be happy with my review. I am here to give you my honest opinion on a book - and it is Book Nerd Reviews’ followers that I write them for.

I also think that writing a review with the goal that an author will read it is relatively pointless. For one, authors have so many other things going on in their life, that they probably wouldn’t have time to read every review out there - so therefore the chances of them reading one I wrote is not high. The other important factor is, a lot of authors don’t read reviews. It is a personal choice on whether an author reads reviews of their books - some do, others are selective about the reviews they read, while some do not read any at all. I fully support the choice an author makes about reading reviews - they need to do what works best for them.

Of course there are times that I would love for an author to know that I loved their book, that I connected to it, and I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent in their world - but I also understand that they may never see my review, and I fully appreciate their decision to not read reviews if that is what they have chosen. And if I am being totally honest (which I always am, and it is the point of Feral Friday), while I would love for an author to read a gushing, fangirling review that I have written, I would also not be as enthused for an author to read a review that was less than glowing - it’s not that I don’t want them to hear what I have to say, but some authors do take negative reviews personally - and I don’t write negative reviews to upset an author, I write them because that particular book just did not work for me (but many others will love it). But, at the end of the day, if an author would like to hear what I had to say about their book, then that’s great!

When it comes to authors reading reviews, I really do feel for them - after all, it would be a bit like a lucky dip. They never know if the reviewer will be positive, or constructive, or even sometimes (not by Melissa or I) downright nasty. So I can understand why it could be less than helpful to read some of things that are being said about a book (or the author themselves), and that sometimes authors would rather get feedback in other ways. If I was an author, I don’t think I could handle reading bad reviews - as much as I know that not everyone can like every book, I couldn’t help but take it personally. I really do respect any author who decides to take their chances in this lucky dip of feedback, and I especially admire authors who read negative reviews so that they can use that criticism to better themselves!

So, thank you to all authors out there who do read reviews written about their books! But more importantly, thank you to our followers who read our reviews - you are the reason why we are here!

Melissa’s say:

I’ve never written a review thinking an author would actually read it. I guess after all, my reviews are always written for book lovers like Kristy and I and in the past I’ve never actually given much thought to an author spending time reading my reviews.

The first time an author commented on a review I did was Laura Bickle who commented on the review I did of The Hallowed Ones. I really enjoyed this book, and posted my review, only to find a comment from Laura Bickle herself not long after I posted it! I won’t lie, I was pretty floored. I think of authors as rockstars and so when Laura posted on my wall, I fan girled just a bit. And when an author thanks you for your review, I always think that’s a little rediculous cause I feel like I should be thanking THEM for writing such an awesome book!

The same thing happened recently when I reviewed Hate Is Such A Strong Word by Sarah Ayoub. She was so sweet - even telling me that my review made her cry because I understood what her characters were all about. It makes sense that authors are so connected to their work, but I never had really thought about how important it was until that moment.

That being said, I’ve never knowingly had an author read a negative review that I’ve posted. If they have read it, they’ve never said anything to me about it. I actually like it this way too if I was to be honest. I sometimes find it awkward having to post a review on a book that I didn’t love, let alone having the author say something to me about it. I think it would make me feel guilty!

S0 whilst my reviews are always written with my readers in mind (I talk about a lot of the main themes I think people would want to know about etc), it’s always cool when an author acknowledges your review!

Have you ever had to author feedback about a review? Was it a positive or negative experience? Let us know in your comments below!

What do you think?

  • I write reviews for other readers, too. It’s cool if an author reads a positive review you wrote but, as an author, I think you also have to be prepared for the fact that not everyone is going to like your book. And I have met authors who are awesome people whose books I did not like and that’s a bit awkward. But, as artists, I think authors need to be prepared for criticism and bad reviews.

    • Kristy says:

      I have luckily never met an author whose books I did not like - I can imagine that would be a little awkward.
      I agree that criticism and bad reviews come with being an author - but I can understand why some authors prefer not to read these reviews

  • Arra says:

    Me too. I write reviews for the sake of sharing my thoughts about a particular book to other readers. I love sharing my opinion especially if I so love the book. Like Kristy said, it’s an added bonus if they’ve read it and even commented on the article. It’s an instant bookworm happiness booster. As crazy as it may sound, I’m actually nervous if they read my reviews especially if it’s leaning to the negative aspect. I’m pretty anxious that they might hate me for saying my dislike towards their books or if i am really indifferent to it. I’m also worried that they might take it personally. I want to tell them that I tried finding the good but somehow the bad vibes are dominant. Lol. It wouldn’t be an honest review if I forced myself to like it and ignore the things that i want to point out. And like you guys said, as long as it is honest and solely about the book and not a hit against the author, I shouldn’t be worried. :) oh there were some authors who actually take note of some of my points in some of my previous reviews and i really appreciate and admire them for not taking it personally and holding grudges. :)

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    • Kristy says:

      I love that term “instant bookworm happiness booster” - I might have to steal that one :)
      I can understand why you are nervous about authors reading negative reviews - naturally you don’t want them to take it personally, but there is always a small risk of that. And yes, authors who take on constructive criticism are to be admired - it can’t be easy, but some authors take these criticisms on-board to better themselves and their work.
      Kristy recently posted…W..W..W.. WednesdaysMy Profile

  • Interesting! I haven’t ever had an author read my review (or actually admit to it) so I’ve never thought about it. But, I don’t really advertise my reviews or tweet them at authors, so I can’t imagine why they’d stumble across them anyways! I would probably be fangirling if it happened to, unless it caused drama. Ugh, none of that! :P

    • Kristy says:

      I think that sometimes it’s a matter of an author admitting to it :) It’s always possible an author has read a review, but doesn’t let you know that they have (for various reasons, one I have heard an author say is that they don’t want people thinking they are self-involved).
      I haven’t had an author comment on a review, but I have had some like my review on Goodreads - and I will admit, that there was a little fangirling with one of them :)
      Kristy recently posted…SIGNED John Green – The Fault In Our Stars Giveaway: InternationalMy Profile

  • Julie S. says:

    We share our 5 star reviews with authors, but otherwise it is kinda scary to have an author read reviews. Book tours, especially organized by authors that are indie, or specific review requests directly from authors are where you really can anticipate the author might read your review. It makes me uncomfortable if my review is less than glowing. But, the reviews I write are my honest thoughts, and I hope the authors will respect that.

  • I recently had an author comment on the cover reveal I took part in for her newest book, and even if it was just a word of thanks it thrilled me to know that she took the time to stop by!

    It’s not something I expect, or even consider, when writing my review, but it definitely gave me that “wow they actually notice me sometimes!” feeling.

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  • As a blogger I write with the thought that I’m creating a post for readers, not for the author. As an author, I never read reviews because I see them as readers talking to other readers, and I don’t want to put myself in an “eavesdropper” position, not knowing what I might overhear. It’s a system that works for me, and luckily I’ve never had an author respond unfavorably the few times they have read my review.

  • I’ve had authors like my reviews of their books on Goodreads so I assume they read them. I tweet links to all of my reviews and I @ the author for the 4 and 5 star ones. Sometimes they respond, sometimes the retweet, and sometimes they don’t respond in any way. It’s always nice when they do reply or retweet, but I don’t really care if they don’t.

  • To be honest, I wouldn’t know how to feel if I knew that authors actually did read my review of their book! On one hand, it would be amazing and really meaningful to me — I always admire authors who find the time to read reviews of their books, because like Kristy said, their schedules can be so full — but at the same time, what if my review was negative? I don’t want to put anyone down, but I can’t lie about what I really thought, can I? That’s why I don’t tweet the author if my review is negative; only when I have more good than bad things to say. I know how painful it can be to have something by you being criticized. I can be snarky in my negative reviews sometimes, but I try as best as I can not to be insulting to the author in any way.

    I’m like Melissa, too, because I don’t actually write reviews thinking that authors would read them. I mean, if I did, I think I wouldn’t be able to get them up in time because I’d be too worried about spelling errors, weird phrasings, or whether I’m being too harsh or gushy. Insecurities, you know. :D

    I can only really remember one author acknowledging that she’d read my review — Trish Doller, for WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE. What she said made me feel so happy, so it was a great experience!

    • Kristy says:

      I agree that if you write a review thinking an author will read it then you would be extremely self-concious. Also you may also alter how you said things (or not say them at all). The best thing to do when writing a review is to not consider the possibility the author may read it - otherwise the pressure would be too much :)
      But I am glad that you had a great experience with Trish Doller - it was very nice of her to let you know that she had read your review :)
      Kristy recently posted…SIGNED John Green – The Fault In Our Stars Giveaway: InternationalMy Profile

  • Rinn says:

    I also write for my blog readers, and it only ever crosses my mind that the author might read the review if I’m reviewing a Netgalley book. I never let it try to change my opinion though!

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