Author Guest Post
Why I Don't Respond To Reader Reviews
By: Rosalind James
You wouldn’t think that “should I respond to a reader review?” would be a topic for discussion anymore, but it still comes up all the time on writers’ forums. There seems to be a movement now among some authors to go ahead and respond to readers’ comments on Amazon, Goodreads, etc., whether positively (“Thanks for the awesome review!”) or negatively (“If you don’t like books with sex in them, maybe you should choose your books more carefully.”) (OK, that last one I’ve thought about saying.)
Here’s why I don’t respond:
1. From a marketing standpoint. My author persona is my brand. I write feel-good books about decent people, books that women read as an escape. I can’t imagine that most readers would enjoy getting embroiled in, or even hearing about, my petty wars. Have I done it? Yes. (Facebook post, I mean.) Do I do it now? NO. Everyone makes mistakes. But I try not to keep making the same ones over and over.
Can (and do) some authors get away with it? Sure! Some of the biggest names out there have done it, and taken flak for it. These blips might create a little ding in their reputations with some readers, but it’s pretty hard to damage them significantly.
But I’ve been at this one year. I’ve been lucky enough to have been discovered by a few readers who are very active in the romance-reading community, and who talk about my books on various forums and provide that invaluable commodity, word of mouth. Those people tend to have book blogs and belong to lots of groups. And they also tend to be pretty passionate about what they see as badly behaving authors. If, instead of promoting me, they were slamming me? Well, it sure wouldn’t help me. And if I were at Ground Zero in terms of getting myself known? I wouldn’t want the first thing potential readers saw about me to be a negative interaction with somebody else, no matter how merited.
And yes, in my opinion responding is simply unprofessional. It makes you look like someone who spends her time checking reviews instead of writing books. I would like to project the image (even if it’s aspirational!) of somebody who is secure in her success and isn’t anxiously looking at what everyone said about her today.
On the other hand, interacting on Facebook, Twitter, my blog, via email, etc.? You bet! Those readers have literally signed up to interact with me, whereas a reviewer is giving her opinion to other readers. If I choose to take something from that as well–or not–that’s up to me.
2. From a logical standpoint. My negative reviews, while I disagree with them, aren’t truly abusive. If they were, I’d report them. But no. Sadly, they’re just responses from people who don’t like the way I write, at all, or didn’t like this book, at all, and want to tell other people so. They have a right to that opinion. And, much as I cringe at them, a few one-star reviews can legitimize your 5-stars, or let people know that there’s some controversy about a character, or “too much sex,” or whatever–things that can actually help sell your book.
3. From a personal standpoint. Some people enjoy combat, find it stimulating. I don’t. It hurts. And while I can use negative feelings in my work (I wrote a killer tearjerker scene the other night after a very unpleasant online encounter), I find that my supply of painful life experiences is pretty much fully adequate to fuel anything I’ll ever write. So for a sensitive plant like me, yes, the negative reviews hurt more and make me want to engage even more than for people with a thicker skin who can shrug off criticism. But engaging just prolongs the agony. Better for me to feel the pain of it, then let it go.
The goal for Year Two of my publishing career? Look at reviews once a week! My success rate so far? Umm . . . improving.
About The Author
Rosalind credits her rapid success to the fact that “lots of people would like to escape to New Zealand! I know I did!”
Nothing Personal by Rosalind James
Book 2: The Kincaids Series
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: October 18, 2013
Format: Paperback - 300 pages / Kindle - 2580 KB
Genre: Contemporary Romance
BUY THE BOOK: Nothing Personal
BUY THE SERIES: The Kincaids
Book 1: Welcome To Paradise
Book 2: Nothing Personal
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Reading Addiction Blog Tours.
Alec Kincaid has never met the obstacle he couldn’t overcome—or the woman who could resist him. And it’s not going to happen now, not with his star shining more brightly than ever in the high-stakes arena of San Francisco’s software industry.
Desiree Harlin doesn’t believe in fairy tales, and she doesn’t waste time wishing. She’s learned the hard way that dreams don’t come true. And with her reputation and hard-won security on the line, succumbing to temptation isn’t an option.
But things aren’t always what they seem. And even stars sometimes fall.
My Book Review:
In Welcome To Paradise, the first book in The Kincaids series, the reader was briefly introduced to Alec Kincaid, Gabe's playboy twin brother. Now author Rosalind James gives her readers a treat in Nothing Personal, which continues the Kincaid boys story with the focus on Alec. Alec is a software developer from San Francisco, who is working on his latest start-up venture. When he seeks funding from a venture capital company, the deal is contingent upon their insistence of naming Desiree Harlin as CFO of the new company. Can these two independent business people keep their professional relationship strictly nothing personal?
Just when I thought author Rosalind James couldn't top her awesome Escape To New Zealand series, she goes and proves me wrong with The Kincaids series. I was a goner for Gabe and Mira's very sigh worthy steamy romance in Welcome To Paradise, so I anticipated more of the same for Alec and Desiree ("Rae") in Nothing Personal, and I can most definitely say that I wasn't disappointed!
You can't help but get drawn into Alec and Rae's story: they're both independent, intelligent, strong career-minded people; he's got a reputation for being a player, while she is a no-nonsense type of woman and a non-believer in fairy tale romances; so when they are thrown together there are sparks of attraction but can it go anywhere?
Author Rosalind James has a way of weaving a steamy tale of romance that is slow-burning and sensuous. I really enjoyed that she allowed Alec and Rae's relationship to naturally develop even though there was instant attraction, they took the time to get to know one another. While the main focus of the storyline is on the development of their relationship, I really enjoyed the individual changes that takes place: Alex's player status changes when he becomes interested in Rae, while Rae learns to open up and show her intimate and vulnerable side. What I liked most of all besides the steamy romance scenes that I've come to love from all of the author's novels, was the witty banter between Alex and Rae, they kept me thoroughly entertained and smirking. And if that isn't enough to keep the reader turning the pages, the author throws in some mystery and intrigue involving corporate espionage and high-tech security into the mix.
With a quirky cast of characters who are realistic and have unique personalities, issues and personal baggage; witty dialogue and dramatic interactions; a touch of mystery and intrigue; and a sigh worthy steamy romance that only author Rosalind James can weave, Nothing Personal is a wonderful romance novel that will leave the reader with a warm and fuzzy feeling and yearning for more!
RATING: 5 STARS *****
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