Speculative Horizons has an interesting debate on whether or not authors should comment on reviews of their books.
The article cites the example of Peter V. Brett, who recently commented on a review of his novel The Painted Man over at The Book Smugglers as he felt the need to explain the reasoning behind a particular sexual scene in the book. After Peter left the comment, the conversation died a bit of a death – something he admits on his blog.
Now, maybe this was because the conversation had run its course. But maybe it was because readers felt reluctant to get involved once the author had posted a comment of his own. So, do authors kill debate by getting involved in online discussion, or does it depend on the nature of their contribution?
My opinion? It’s a question of etiquette really. Authors have never had the opportunity to really comment on reviews prior to the interwebs. It is important, I think, to correct any factual errors – there is no excuse for a reviewer being shoddy with the details, but in terms of offering opinions, I find myself reluctant in supporting that. Not out of a logic of whether something is good or bad; merely, that online, we must remember Godwin’s Law being the end result of many of online debates, and that’s an undignified situation for an author to be in. Besides, if a review is bad, and an author gets embroiled in an online battle, it only serves to draw attention to such negativity… Perhaps a stiff upper lip is required, because no single book can be liked by everyone.