My experience of the last few months has changed my mind about responding to reviews of my novel on blogs.
This is a biggie.
Not so long ago, a discussion of this very same question occurred on the main email loop of ACFW, a major writer's organization. Many well-known writers weighed in. A goodly number of them said Never Ever! respond to any review of your own book.
I took that as a guideline. After all, it made sense that an author should never argue with a negative review--that's unprofessional.
But it didn't feel right to me when some readers wrote fantastic, encouraging reviews on their blogs and I held myself back from commenting. Intuitively, I wanted to thank them, each and every one. But I kept saying to myself: "Don't do it. So-and-so big name author said she never does it and it's not professional, even for the positive reviews."
Well, times, they are a'changin'.
I was already planning to post on this topic when I ran across an excellent discussion of social media on Mike Duran's blog last week.
This discussion galvanized my half-formed plan into action. Yes, I'm coming to believe that for many of the reasons Mike and his commenters propose, the "rules" are different.
Should we comment on highly negative reviews of our work? No, I think that's a bad idea. Such a comment has the potential to embarrass the poster, and that's not right. People should be free to give bad reviews in peace. ;-)
However, we live now in a much more connected world, a world of instant dialogue. If we can have more fulfilling, immediate contact with our readers by thanking them and acknowledging their kind reviews, how is that a bad thing for either author or reader?
I've changed my mind. I value my readers and I think this world of social media is constantly reshaping our opportunities to show readers that we appreciate them, and what we do is all about them. I'm seizing the day.