The Official Blog of Author Tristan Vick
I do something which other authors sometimes consider taboo. I respond to reviewer comments. Although I'm always cordial, and polite, and thank them for their review...if they say the book has something that doesn't, or doesn't when it does, I merely quote the book and the page number that addresses their claim.
Consider this recent review:
"[T]here were a number of things that the author just didn't seem to think through (e.g. a venomous "python" that was incredibly deadly but that bit a secondary character, who promptly shrugged it off). The whole thing just felt silly."
I merely responded with: I think you missed paragraph two in chapter 22.
"Just a single bite from a Sylek python is lethal to a human. Its venom is fast-acting and there is no known cure. Not even a mage’s magic can heal one who has been bitten. Elves, on the other hand, seem to have a natural immunity to the snake’s effects. Which means, if bitten, Alegra will survive. But if I am bitten, then I’m pretty much done for."
I often wonder, if they think--in their minds--the book is bad, or 'silly', or whatever, because they can't read well and whether or not pointing out their mistake will embolden them to adjust their review accordingly? As in, *oops*, I guess I didn't see that. It makes sense now. I should have read it more closely.
Nope. Most often the review gets lowered by an angry reader being called out on their lies. I don't mind that though. They can lowball me all they want. Other reviewers will see that their review is meaningless because they didn't read the full book or else blatantly made shit up. And my quoted text from the book is right there for others to compare the claim against.
Which is why I reply. Some say it's unprofessional. I think if I left the review as is people would think...oh, this book must be silly and illogical because this guy gave a clear example of it not making sense. But then I quote the book to show the reviewer got it wrong--putting into question how much of the book he actually read.
Now, I don't reply to every single critique. That would be a bit obsessive compulsive. I just reply when there is something totally bonkers about the review. As in, where you asleep while reading this?
I also thank reviewers who go out of the way to leave very specific remarks about the book.
Another guy left a one-star review, but it was so well reviewed I thanked him, saying:
"I'm sorry it wasn't your cup of tea. But I appreciate the detailed review. I've taken a lot of what you said to heart and went back and revised many areas of the book. Thanks for your detailed review! I really appreciate that."
He replied with:
"Sorry I may have been overly harsh...If the updated copy is online and Kindle will DL the update I may give it another go."
Then you sometimes find someone leaves a critical review on the first book but sticks around long enough to find they actually thoroughly enjoyed the second. Such as this reviewer:
"After reading book 1 in this series, I was a little disappointed. I decided to try book 2 and can say it was better."
And I replied with a thank you to him as well for sticking around.
I find that fans enjoy engaging with the author, even just Indy authors. I always get excited replies when I respond as the author. It's always a pleasure.
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By day I am an educator and a cultural ambassador. By night I entertain notions of being a literary master. In reality I am just a family man and ordinary guy who works hard and loves writing just about as much as I love my family. Just about.