Should Indie Authors Respond to Negative Reviews?

On the upside, if you are getting sincere reviews, this is great. Yours is one of a bajillion’ Indie books so congratulations.

The standard applied in the trad pub world does not apply in the Indie publishing world so the answer to should you respond to negative reviews is yes but it depends. It may just come down to the math.

If you have 100 reviews, and 10 of them are what you perceive to be “negative”, probably let it go. This is only 10% of your reviews. (As an Indie Author, if you have 100 reviews, WOW! Good for you! Your job is done!)

If you have 15 reviews and over half of them are what you perceive to be “negative” then you may want to post a comment especially if all they focus on is that your book needs more editing. Also, post a comment if the person reviewing book waited over three months to post the review and you have since revised your book. We are opposed to completely open-ended free reviews because of this. Sure it’s free, but you may wait two years for the review!

We’re not talking leaving a comment like “hey assholes, I spent four years writing that book and two researching it and I wrote it from my heart so f- you!” You may FEEL like posting this but don’t. Yell at the wall, a stuffed animal, punch a pillow–but don’t post this. What you CAN post is the modified version:

“Thank you for your review. I would like to take this opportunity to clarify that the version of the book XX reviewed has since been revised and many of the errors he has pointed out have been fixed. (Optional: insert next sentence if the review constitutes pretty much just a public whacking about the editing). I appreciate reviewers that find the time to focus also on the content of my book in addition to pointing out the editing errors. Feel free to provide a review focusing on the content. I would also like to point out that I sent my book to XX for a review over _____ months/years ago. Indie publishing is different from trad pub in that we are in complete control of our creations and we may revise our books. The version of the book XX reviewed is not the current/final version. Thank you.”

This is a “nice” way of standing up for your creation, something Indie’s are going to have to do and should do if they feel the review is unfair, “lazy”, or just plain off (likely because the reviewer didn’t have a clue about the genre).

So the answer is YES but don’t hurt your/our cause in the process.

(After you post your diplomatic reply, get up and out, feed your spirit. Smile).