Discussion Post: Author’s reactions to reviews

I’ve been blogging about books for quite some time now. For the most part things have gone smoothly. I seldom get any reaction to my reviews from authors, but for the most part the feedback I have gotten has been positive. I always attempt to review honestly, giving my reasons for my reactions to the book without being mean. I realize that every book is not for every reader AND that every reader will not love every book.

They say that the best way to thank an author is to write a review. It is my belief that reviews should be candid, fair, and sincere.  One person’s 5 star read might be another person’s 2 star read. Readers, reviewers, and authors should ALL be cognizant of that fact.

Post I saw on Twitter:

Seriously??? She feels threatened because she knows she’s rich?

To which I responded:

To which she responded:

I vehemently disagree with this book bloggers stance. If she is intimidated from leaving honest reviews, then she shouldn’t be reviewing.

I also disagree with the author. She said the ‘review’ sounded like a 4 star review but the reviewer rated it with 3 stars.  She should have been satisfied with the review as it stood.

I’d love your thoughts on this conversation.



About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
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52 Responses to Discussion Post: Author’s reactions to reviews

  1. Sheree @ Keeping Up With The Penguins says:

    At the end of the day, whatever the reviewer’s reaction or the reason for it (deleted, felt intimidated, etc.), it was the author who was in the wrong. I trust that the reviewer ultimately did what she felt most comfortable with in response, and that’s up to her. I would probably have reacted differently, but that’s not a fair comparison 😉

    I’m lucky enough to have never had an author or publicist object to one of my reviews (in fairness, the vast majority of authors I have reviewed are long dead, so who knows what’s waiting for me when I shuffle off the coil). I have, however, had a couple of bad reactions from authors when I declined to review their books. No skin off my nose, let them throw their tantrums – they’re only hurting themselves in the long run. I think the most fair approach, for all involved, is for authors not to respond to reviews individually – they’ve said their piece (in their book), the reviewer has said theirs (in their review), and if the author wants to counter any particular “misconceptions” about their work based on reviews, they can do it in different media (interviews, festival appearances, etc.) without needing to target anyone individually.

    Liked by 1 person

    • All very valid points Sheree. Just as reviewers shouldn’t be mean and say nasty things about an author’s work, authors too shouldn’t have a say in what a reviewer has written.
      Even when I’ve not cared very much for a book, I always try to be honest with stating why and also point out what I DID like about the book.
      Reviewers should never personally attack an author’s work. Their mission should be to enlighten other readers to the pros and cons of the work being reviewed keeping in mind that every review is subjective and expresses one person’s personal reaction to the work.
      I agree with your comment about authors finding an alternate media for venting their personal opinions.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sheree @ Keeping Up With The Penguins says:

        Yep, exactly – I think we have a pretty similar philosophy. When I didn’t enjoy a book, I’m always honest about why, and try to present it as “Here’s why this book was not FOR ME” as opposed to “here’s why this book wasn’t good”. Often, at the end of a critical review, I’ll try to think of a reader that it might appeal to – “If you liked X, you might enjoy this one” – even though it wasn’t necessarily to my tastes.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I can sort of understand why she might be intimidated, based on some actions authors have taken against reviewers before. I mean, it’s super rare, but there have been crazy things authors have done, and if she has any sort of personally identifying information on her site and thinks it could have real-life repercussions … I could see her fear.

    For me, personally, I would stick to my guns, but I also know that I don’t have anything going for me that someone could totally ruin over a review anyway lol. But if you did, then yeah, I can understand that perspective. It’s a shame, though. =/

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t get it. It is not as though she gave them a bad review. It was a good review with a 3 star rating which they thought should be a four.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Authors, though, have different definitions of star ratings, too. I was super surprised not that long ago when an author posted in one of my author groups that he got a three-star review on one of his books and was so disappointed by it. And I’m sitting there, as a blogger, like … three stars is an enjoyable read to me? Where did this disconnect come from? xD

        Liked by 2 people

        • Sammie, it doesn’t help that stars have different meanings on different sites. Three stars on Goodreads is much more positive than 3 stars on Amazon.
          (3 stars on Goodreads means ‘liked it’ while 3 stars on Amazon means neutral neither liking nor disliking it)
          I’ve had a publisher refuse to link to my review of one of their books because I only gave it 3.5 stars! That is 70% and more than a good rating in my book.

          Liked by 1 person

          • That’s true, and it’s why I tend not to post two-star reviews on Amazon, because I know star ratings there mean so much. But that’s bonkers that they wouldn’t link to it because of that, in my opinion. I mean, on one hand, I understand why people would push five-star reviews. On the other, I have never actually *read* any five-star reviews pushed by a publisher because they’re meaningless fluff and tell me nothing, sooo … I don’t actually know how helpful that is. xD

            Liked by 1 person

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  4. Jessica says:

    “Reviews should be candid, fair, and sincere” as it should be. From an author standpoint, you gave that reader a great advice. And that author is plain ungrateful. Shame on her. I don’t know what it will take for me to threaten my readers but it’s totally unethical for authors to ask a reader who spent their precious time reviewing to change anything.
    Me as a reviewer always like to give the plus and minus of what I’ve read and that’s why I don’t like giving star rating when I write book reviews in my blog. I feel obligated in Goodreads though 😥

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Scott Nagele says:

    From an author’s point of view, I would have left the review alone and got on with my day. When I see a review that looks more positive than the number of stars in the rating, it makes me think the reviewer was being kind and focusing on the positive aspects more than the negative. I’m not a reviewer, so I don’t know how I would have handled that end, but I hope I would have stayed with my true opinion.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I agree with you. There is a lot of consideration that goes into the determination of star level. There have been times when I was one of few who either loved or didn’t the book. But that’s only my opinion and its not going to sway the world.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Exactly Virginia. When I give a star rating it is MY own personal opinion of the book. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and an author’s objection to that opinion shouldn’t be voiced unless the reviewer was mean or disrespectful. As you say, one person’s opinion of a book is not going to sway the world, so why make such an issue out of a one star difference?


  7. James McEwan says:

    The worst case of the egoistic author, that I know of, is that of Richard Brittain in 2015. Disgruntled at a poor review, he tracked down a teenager on Facebook. From London he went to Scotland and sneaked up behind the young girl in a supermarket, where she worked, and smashed a bottled over her head. – shocking. He was sent to prison.
    My author friends agree that reviews are for readers and once their book has been published it belongs to them, love it or burn it – move on to the next project. We don’t expect everyone to like everything we write, it’s a free world. The truth is everyone is entitled to their opinion, if they wish to express that opinion in a derogatory way then it is a reflection on their inability to provide a coherent critical review.
    I do however feel for readers who feel they have been duped by the excessive 5 star reviews.

    I have received unsolicited e-mails from readers of my books, who do not post reviews on any site, telling me why and how much they have enjoyed the story. This makes me feel very humble.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Gosh James! What a story!
      I think that authors should view their books as they would their adult children. Once they are ‘out in the world’ it is time to let go.
      I give 5 stars to books that I have greatly enjoyed- ones that I feel were a great use of my time reading. For me, it’s all about treasured time. If I give the book 3 stars, it is not time begrudged, but I have some reservations about recommending it to others. I’m ever cognizant of the fact that what is a 3 star read for me might be a 5 star read for someone else.
      As always, I value your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I think the reviewer should have stuck to their original review. Three stars isn’t a bad review 3/5 is 60%! I’m more concerned about the worry that the author was rich. What did the reviewer think would happen? I have to say, no-one has ever contacted me about a review or rating but then, I wouldn’t tend to finish or review a book I wasn’t enjoying.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Paul's Picks says:

    I’m thankful that I’ve never had a situation like this arise… but I was a little hesitant to post a review a little while ago because it was pretty critical of some of the book’s content. But the author thanked me for my honesty and I guess we just moved on.

    This is a great discussion post!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Honesty is the best policy!

    Reviewers should state what they think.

    Hi Lynne. Take care.


    Liked by 2 people

  11. I wouldn’t delete my review either. Fortunately I’ve never experienced backlash of any kind from an author after posting a review, but I know myself well enough to say that I wouldn’t respond in the author’s favor (i.e. delete my review, change a comment or rating, etc.).

    *BUT* I feel for book bloggers and reviewers who feel threatened enough to delete a review. Especially after Kathleen Hale was given a book deal after stalking and endangering the life and well-being of a Goodreads reviewer; what the author referenced in the Tweet above crosses a line that can’t be mended, in my opinion, and who knows what else the author would be willing to do or say to convince the reviewer to change a rating or the entire review.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I have never been asked to change a review that i have written. I have occasionally received thanks from authors but never any criticism. I do feel that reviews should be honest. I also understand that authors hope for good reviews after putting their effort and heart into a book. So, my personal belief is to be kind in reviews whenever possible but not to change them if asked. Again, though, I have never been asked.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Carol says:

    Great discussion topic Lynne! I saw and followed that thread on twitter……my impression was that she was a bit immature and trying to stir up drama/controversy with her tweet. I would have just ignored the author I think. I’ve been fortunate to have only positive author comments! There was one instance with an indie author that I contacted her and explained that I was giving a 3 star rating with substantial content warnings (although I enjoyed other parts of the story) and asked her if she wanted me to proceed. She said no thank you because she would rather have 4 or 5 star reviews. She was nice and understanding about my discomfort and thanked me for the time. I honored her request and didn’t post the review or even add it to Goodreads. I think reviewers have a responsibility to be kind, but we need to be respected by authors. I think 3 star reviews are fair and should be accepted by authors. I’ve given occasional 2 star reviews on netgalley with no repercussions. …..I think…..I should go back and check my denials to see if they correlate with 2 star reviews!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I also got the impression that this reviewer was young and immature. Though, to be fair, I know that this type of thing does happen. It is my belief that a reviewer can give ANY star rating and – if they are fair and understanding of the author’s efforts, be recognized and accepted as reviewers. Every reviewer cannot love every book.
      The only interesting feedback I’ve received was from a debut author. She accepted my 3 star rating of her book and asked ME how she could have done better in order for me to rate it a 5 star. I was astounded that an author would care that much about my opinions.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Madam Mim says:

    I’ve never had an author say anything about my reviews except thank you… I can understand why a bad review would be upsetting to an author. But I think anyone who’s reacting very negatively or thinks its acceptable to ask someone to change a review really needs a reality check… that’s the business! I’m pretty careful about what books I take on to review from self published or authors with smaller followings, unless I think I’ll actually like the book I wont agree to review it because i don’t want to be responsible for hurting their feelings – but nor can I lie, so… but a famous author with tons of reviews… that’s a different story. Honestly, I think I’d just laugh really hard and share it on Twitter, tag them in it and use it for publicity for my blog! I do try and keep my reviews fair and balanced, as well. I rarely completely slate anything… I guess some people are sensitive though!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I think the author is definitely out of line on this! I feel very sorry for the reviewer, because who knows what else is going on in her life to respond like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. My view is that reviews are for readers and providing it’s fair and polite then an author has to live with it. Personally if I’m not enjoying a book I wouldn’t finish and therefore wouldn’t review, consequently I’ve never given less than 3 stars (which is good in my book). But I wouldn’t upgrade a rating to please an author and they shouldn’t ask.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. It just really bugs me when authors reach out to reviewers with anything other than a thank you. Reviews are for other readers, not the author and engagement with the reviewer in this way is highly inappropriate. A very good Goodreads friend is in a reading slump because an author reached out to her and claimed she probably wasn’t the right audience for her book since she gave it a low rating. Shame on her.

    I’m not victim blaming as we have all kinds of reviewers and not everyone is accustomed to dealing with misbehaving authors who can be intimidating. It’s taken a lot of feedback to and bolstering up of our friend to help her regain her reading mojo. Goodreads is for readers and author participation is secondary and a privilege awarded them. They should have the professionalism to behave accordingly.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. R A I N says:

    Oh my god, I AGREE WITH YOU SOOO F***ING MUCH!! 😱😱😱😍😍 I mean see, I know whom you are talking about and I agree, there was NO NEED TO BE THREATENED WHATSOEVER!!

    Something similar happened with me as well a year ago with Netgalley. They asked me to write nicer things about a couple of poetry anthologies, WHICH SUCKED BY THE WAY 🤣🤣 so I told them that I cannot mislead my readers and WILL NOT change the review on my blog. They have not since approved A SINGLE REQUEST of mine! But hey, SO WHAT!? It’s not like won’t get to read any books if they won’t provide them but I am gonna change my opinions. And THAT WAS NO THREAT! But a polite request…and I politely denied! So yeah, I TOTALLY agreeeee!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry this happened to you Rain. I’ve never been contacted by NetGalley or a publisher to write ‘nicer things’ about a book. And no, not all my reviews are positive. I think I probably wouldn’t want to review a publisher’s books if this happened to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • R A I N says:

        Oh hell, you edited my comment! 🤣🤣🤣 I am sorry if I have offended you, hon, I…uhh…won’t use those words while commenting here..😘😘😘😊😊

        So…..uhhhmm…yeah, they did and I agree, no use reviewing for people who cannot handle “HONEST” ones! Haha..


  19. Shalini says:

    I have been told to delete my review on Amazon as it affected the author’s ratings. I have been called asshole by another author for giving a single star. They have been rude and quite mean at times. I deleted their comments and stopped responding. I didn’t change or delete my review.
    If the author decided to intimidate or threaten me, I would send his or her mail to social media and Amazon and get them blacklisted. So far I have been quiet, but I can’t take so much pressure in a review which is my view about a book.

    Liked by 1 person

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