Book Reviewers: To Thank or Not to Thank; What is the Etiquette?

I find myself in a peculiar place. I’m at that point in my writing career where I’m starting to get book reviews for my debut novel, which is exciting and nerve wrecking at the same time. People are out there taking the time to read my book and write a review. I feel like I should thank them. But at the same time, I don’t want them to think I’m lurking around in the background.

So, I’m reaching out to you (readers, reviewers, writers) to get your opinions.

  1. True or False. If a reviewer thinks an author will read the review, it adds extra pressure and might intimidate the reviewer.
  2. True or False. A writer should never respond to a review.
  3. True or False. Responding to Amazon reviews is considered self-promotion or spam.

I’ve done my share of book reviews knowing the author would most likely read it, and hoping others would because how cool would it be to get a response from the author of a book I enjoyed. Though, I’m still not sure how to handle responses to Edge of Truth. So far, I’ve only thanked the reviewer, but have not left comments on the actual review. I don’t want to seem like I’m a shameless self-promoter (which to some extent writers need to be) nor do I want to come off as a suck up or tarred as a Badly Behaving Author.

These days, communication between author and readers/reviewers/authors is easier than ever. Sometimes, our In Box gets out of control, but I still believe common courtesy, even something as simple as saying ‘Thank You,’ is important. So, if I turn into that author lurking in the background, it’s most likely to show appreciation for another person’s time.

What are your thoughts? Readers and reviewers, does it bother you to think an author might read your review? Authors, do you comment on reviews and/or send a ‘Thank You’ note?

33 comments on “Book Reviewers: To Thank or Not to Thank; What is the Etiquette?

  1. dawnall says:

    Good questions. I’m anxious to see what people think.

  2. Amy Gregory says:

    Hi honey,
    I always thank a blogger or someone I’ve asked to review one of my books. But as for people on Amazon or B&N, I don’t because like you said, I don’t want them to feel pressured. Occasionally I’ll put a broad thank you out on FB or Twitter thanking people for their kind words and time, but not often enough to make anyone feel like I’m in their face 😀 I hope that helps. xoxo

  3. Most of the people I’ve talked to think the author shouldn’t leave a comment on the review itself, even if it is a thank you. It makes the readers feel uncomfortable sharing their true opinions and all that.

    I think it’s perfectly acceptable to thank them via Facebook, Twitter, etc. though. 😀

  4. I had a author thank me for marking his book as ‘to read’ on Goodreads the other day. I figured he was just trying to be nice, but still, it felt kind of creepy.

    I’m with Carrie. I think authors should let reviews be.

    • I can see how him thanking you for that would seem odd. Like he’s sitting around watching who adds his book. Personally, I’d rather spend my time writing the next book. Thanks for commenting.

  5. E.Arroyo says:

    Great thoughts! As a reviewer, I don’t expect a response. It’s nice for other readers of my blog to know the author is lurking if they have any questions or such so that it’s more interactive with my blog readers. But for me, it doesn’t influence me one way or another. As a reviewer. As an author, I did thank the reviewer and I kept up with any reader comments in case a question was thrown out or something I can answer. But that was pretty much it. I did follow some reviewers facebooks and blogs because I love the interaction with them and their readers, but I didn’t blast them with messages of my book. Not sure if that was a good thing or not, but … =)

  6. […] Book Reviewers: To Thank or Not to Thank; What is the Ettiquette? ( […]

  7. Booklover says:

    I’d love to hear what the author thinks about my review! It’s great to spread the word and share my thoughts about the books I read. Comments from the authors don’t add pressure.

  8. FictionFan says:

    As a reviewer, I love getting feedback from an author – if I’ve given a positive review, that is. I don’t ever want to get into a debate over a less than enthusiastic review. However, as an Amazon reviewer both in the UK and US, other readers and reviewers tend to think that a comment from the author means the review is a shill – and that doesn’t benefit either author or reviewer. So for me

    1 – True – but sometimes it’s good for a reviewer to be reminded that authors are human too. It can get too easy to be brutally rude about something someone else has put heart and soul into. Remembering that the author might read the review generally makes me try to be a bit more constructive rather than destructive with my criticism.

    2 – False – reviewers are also human and like a bit of positive feedback too!

    3 – True – yes, that seems to be the prevailing view amongst reviewers/review readers, but lots of reviewers have public e-mail addresses on their Amazon profiles and any who’ve mentioned getting author feedback through that have sounded pleased about it.

    • I appreciate this thorough answer, FictionFan. “Sometimes it’s good for a reviewer to be reminded that authors are human, too.” I really liked this line. I tell myself the same thing about reviewers: They are just people reading a book. It helps reiterate that not everyone will like my book. And I love “constructive rather than destructive.”

      I’m all about positive feedback and, when the time comes, may have to use your advice on #3.

  9. Dana Mason says:

    If the review is from a book blogger, I always thank them. I also follow their pages. I think it’s common courtesy to do so. They have hundreds of books to choose from, I’d like them to know I appreciate that they picked mine. I never, ever comment on Amazon reviews. I consider those off limits. I have commented on a couple of Goodreads reviews when the reviewer lamented the lack of an epilogue. I thought it was a good idea to tell the the book was the first in a series and they could catch up with the story in book two.

    • Dana, first of all, great cover on your upcoming book, Precious Embrace.

      I think I, too, will abstain from commenting on Amazon reviews. I get the impression that it’s a big no no.

  10. I have to answer True to all three of your questions. And as a long time reviewer, no, a thank you is not necessary. 🙂 A good review means your work was enjoyable to read and that is thanks enough in my world.

  11. Anna Silver says:

    I always thank reviewers whom I’ve asked to read my work via email or a comment on their blog. I often “like” the positive reviews left for me on Goodreads, but don’t comment. I pretty much leave Amazon reviews alone. 🙂

  12. I’ve never responded to a review on Amazon, however, if the blogger is someone I’m acquainted with, I’ll definitely say thanks. I took part in a hop last year about this same subject. If you’re interested, you can have a look at the post and links here –>

  13. Hi, Natasha! I’ve struggled with this myself. As a rule I don’t respond at all, unless they’ve tagged me on that particular social media site, or their tweet/post was worded like they perhaps wanted me to respond to something. But yes I’ve never replied on an Amazon review, ever. 🙂

  14. Junior says:

    I don’t respond on Amazon or BnN but other places outside of the ebook retailers, I will respond with a simple: “Thank you for taking the time to read my book.” It’s just a thank you without actually addressing the actual review. When someone takes time out of their lives to read something I wrote, the least I can do is say…thank you!

  15. I can’t help with this one, although I’m definitely interested in the answer.

  16. 1. If the review personally knows the reviewer, then true. Otherwise, not really.

    2. Debatable. I don’t expect authors to respond, but I wouldn’t mind if they did. It might be better to contact the reviewer privately rather than in the comments, though. Oh, and only argue about a bad review if you want that review to go viral 😉

    3. See above

    Incidentally, I’m having an issue with 1 right now, since the book I’m reading isn’t going so well for me. It’s a bit awkward, but I don’t intend to give anything less than a completely honest review when the time comes. I’ll keep it civil, mind.

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