Author Topic: Tactful way to say this to readers?  (Read 1892 times)  

Offline Vidya

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Tactful way to say this to readers?
« on: October 10, 2017, 07:42:01 PM »
At the end of Book 1 of my YA PNR, after my request to the reader to leave reviews and an invitation to join my mailing list, I want to write something like this:

If you would like to give me any feedback on the story, you can email me at ___

Feel free to tell me what you liked and didnt like about the story. Which characters would you like to see more of? Which would you like to see less of? Would you like to see [character name] end up with [2nd character name]?

Where would you like the story to go? What would you like me to write next? Feel free to make suggestions about the plot and characters.

Ill read and consider every suggestion, though time may not permit me to reply to all of them. Thank you.

***
Im being cautious because I might get a deluge of suggestions, some of which may be unrealistic and which I might have to use a ton of tact to reply to.

While I would like to hear feedback from readers, I fear getting inundated with too many letters that would take too much time to reply to.

So can you please help me come up with a tactful way to encourage readers to send feedback while also warning them I won't actually be replying to any of it. If a reader gave me some brilliant suggestion, Id reply to that.

Im aware I may be opening a can of worms here and giving some readers the idea they have the right to dictate my story, but as I said, I want to make it clear I won't be replying.

Thanks!

Offline Philip Gibson

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2017, 07:51:21 PM »
Where I do this, I write:

"If you have any questions or comments, or would simply like to get in touch, please feel free to email me at: XXXXXXXX@yahoo.com.  I read all my emails and always write back."

Philip

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Offline Jena H

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2017, 08:18:51 PM »
I'm not sure I would get that in-depth with your comments, especially to the point of asking readers "what do you want to see more of," "where would you like the story to go," etc.  On one hand, generating interest and ideas from readers is fine, but to suggest that you might write your next book based on fan feedback...  that could be a self-defeating proposition.  That makes it sound like you don't have your own idea of where the story is going to go.

Personally, I prefer to keep it simple, short & sweet:
Feedback on [Book Title] or any of my other books is always welcome, so feel free to review this book, or contact me at emailaddress@whatever.com.
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Offline Vidya

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2017, 08:20:00 PM »
I read all my emails and always write back."

yes, Im aware this is what most writers write. I DONT want the hassle of writing back, so Im asking for a tactful way to say that.

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2017, 08:26:42 PM »
I read all my emails and always write back."

yes, Im aware this is what most writers write. I DONT want the hassle of writing back, so Im asking for a tactful way to say that.

Then maybe you should do a Facebook poll or send out a survey with a comments section to readers.

If I was asked for feedback and didn't get a reply, I'd think that writer was a poo. Well, maybe not, but I personally love have reader interaction. If you don't, then use a method where that isn't expected.

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2017, 08:28:26 PM »
yes, Im aware this is what most writers write. I DONT want the hassle of writing back, so Im asking for a tactful way to say that.

Don't solicit for reader feedback if you don't want the hassle of responding.

Put in your social media links so interested readers can find you and leave it at that. The way you have worded your request for "feedback on the story" sounds like the book is a draft that's not done yet and also could result in writing by committee where readers expect you to alter the story to reflect what they want.

Offline The Bass Bagwhan

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2017, 08:53:42 PM »
I sounds a bit needy to me, opening a Pandora's Box of trying to write your next book by committee. Plus, providing an email address I say pretty much obligates you to respond to everything. Whereas it's more acceptable to ignore and even block unpleasant Facebook posts and website comments.
And, of course, every email you receive is potentially robbing you of a valuable Amazon review instead.

Good luck.
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Offline LilyBLily

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2017, 10:37:17 PM »
Also note that if you ask readers for their ideas for your next stories, someone will assume that s/he owns that idea and that, if you write it or something like it, you owe him/her money. While there is no copyright on ideas, only on the execution of them, most people neither understand nor believe that.

Offline Vidya

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2017, 10:47:54 PM »
Also note that if you ask readers for their ideas for your next stories, someone will assume that s/he owns that idea and that, if you write it or something like it, you owe him/her money. While there is no copyright on ideas, only on the execution of them, most people neither understand nor believe that.

Yikes. I thought it would be a good idea to make readers feel like they have some say and involvement in the way the story progresses, but it sounds like it could be risky.

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2017, 01:20:10 AM »
I have absolutely no idea how many books you sell, obviously, but my first thought is that I probably wouldn't worry too much about being inundated by a deluge of email unless you really shift hundreds of thousands of books (in which case, you kind of wouldn't need the reader feedback anyway, to be brutally honest). Only a tiny percentage of readers are going to take the time to get in touch, I'm going to guess around the same proportion as leave reviews / sign up to mailing lists.

To get round the copyright question above, which is tiresome but more hassle than you can be bothered dealing with, and also to bolster you against any flood of emails if it does happen, why not just include a link to a surveymonkey (or other such) poll, where you give them a few multiple choice options for your questions about favourite / least favourite characters and pairings. At least then you'd have the data all in one place, and no particular expectation from readers that you're going to respond personally.


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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2017, 01:28:15 AM »
These are questions you ask your beta readers or you ARC's. Not the general reader.

Best thing you can do is try to get them on to your ARC list,  send them a free book and then ask all those questions.

Offline Ros_Jackson

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2017, 03:35:00 AM »
Also note that if you ask readers for their ideas for your next stories, someone will assume that s/he owns that idea and that, if you write it or something like it, you owe him/her money. While there is no copyright on ideas, only on the execution of them, most people neither understand nor believe that.

I believe this is one of the reasons certain comic studios don't accept or read story ideas from readers; Marvel and DC have this policy.

While I would like to hear feedback from readers, I fear getting inundated with too many letters that would take too much time to reply to.

So can you please help me come up with a tactful way to encourage readers to send feedback while also warning them I won't actually be replying to any of it. If a reader gave me some brilliant suggestion, Id reply to that.

Im aware I may be opening a can of worms here and giving some readers the idea they have the right to dictate my story, but as I said, I want to make it clear I won't be replying.

If people want to give feedback and leave story suggestions they'll do so on forums, social media, and in reviews if they don't have an outlet to email you directly. I know which I'd rather encourage. I think the proposed text doesn't strike the right tone; you're the boss of your story, after all.

There's no obligation to conform to the trend of the super-approachable writer who answers all emails and is always on social media. It's not rude to set boundaries.

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Offline Vidya

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2017, 03:43:13 AM »
There's no obligation to conform to the trend of the super-approachable writer who answers all emails and is always on social media. It's not rude to set boundaries.

Thank you! Today so many writers are as you say above that I fear readers will think someone like me, who has little interest in social media, an anomaly. But it is my choice if I don't want to do FB or Twitter.

I wonder how many other writers here are like me? How many of you have little to no social media presence and have little interest in interacting with your readers?

Offline Jena H

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2017, 04:06:31 AM »
Also note that if you ask readers for their ideas for your next stories, someone will assume that s/he owns that idea and that, if you write it or something like it, you owe him/her money. While there is no copyright on ideas, only on the execution of them, most people neither understand nor believe that.

Yikes. I thought it would be a good idea to make readers feel like they have some say and involvement in the way the story progresses, but it sounds like it could be risky.

There's a difference between 'having fun' or creating interest/activity on a Facebook page, and seeming to solicit/invite suggestions for future storylines from your readers, especially in the backmatter.  And yes, if readers have ideas or "I'd love to see..." comments, they'll put them in reviews.
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Offline she-la-ti-da

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2017, 04:25:01 AM »
Quote
I wonder how many other writers here are like me? How many of you have little to no social media presence and have little interest in interacting with your readers?

You aren't alone, but I suspect most keep mum about it, because it's totally against what we're told as indie writers. I have no interest in tweeting all the time, running a Facebook page or whatever the latest "thing" is to interact with readers. Others do it, some even enjoy it, but it's not me. Heck, if I didn't go on a couple of writer forum on FB, I'd never know what others posted to my own page, that's how little I deal with it.

I keep trying to get myself a little more involved, but so far it's not working. :(

One thing you said was about how would you know what readers want, their opinions on what the story evolved to? Well, my answer is, you don't need to know their opinions, or what they'd like to see, or whatever it is you're aiming for. The story is yours. You write it the way that's best for the story. If you ask for opinions, if you got ten, or a hundred and ten, or ten thousand, they would all be different. And then what do you do?

The most I would do is offer links to places where you decide what you're going to say about upcoming books (sequels, cover reveals, etc.), and where they can comment as readers/fans. An author page on FB would work fine for that. Or a series page, or whatever. You do that from your personal FB account, by the way, not by starting a new account under a fake name, as FB doesn't allow that.
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Offline BillyDeCarlo

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2017, 05:06:23 AM »
I just say something short and sweet to the effect that "If you enjoyed my book please leave a review. If you didn't, I would appreciate your feedback at xxx in order to improve my books and writing." No promise to write back, and I do encourage them to participate in the forum on my website or social media to discuss book ideas, etc.
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Offline Laran Mithras

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2017, 05:08:26 AM »
You definitely don't want to write your book by committee. Readers will be disappointed when it isn't exactly what they imagined.
 

Offline Ann in Arlington

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2017, 05:13:44 AM »
As a reader, I'd roll my eyes and ignore something like that. It's like asking for a book report and I certainly wouldn't do that. It may also put me off buying more books from the author who does it.

I think the others are correct that the most you should do is thank them for reading and gently encourage them to review on Amazon or Goodreads (do NOT use the phrase 'honest review' because that sounds like you expect they wouldn't be honest unless you remind them) and provide info on how to get on a mailing list and/or access your website or FB page. If you want more detailed feedback, ask for it through said mailing list, website, and FB page.

Absolutely do NOT promise to respond, or even imply you will, if you know darn well you probably won't.

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Offline Jena H

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2017, 05:19:28 AM »

I wonder how many other writers here are like me? How many of you have little to no social media presence and have little interest in interacting with your readers?

*raises hand*  I'm not on Twitter.  Don't do Insta- anything.  I have a FB page with not a huge number of followers or likers or whatever.  And it's not necessarily that I have no interest in interacting with readers, but A) I'm a private person, and B) I'm kinda lazy, not to mention C) it seems a little creepy to me for authors to 'socialize' with readers.  I know things have changed over the past couple of decades, but still, it's not what I'm used to.
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Offline Anarchist

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2017, 05:59:40 AM »
Don't solicit for reader feedback if you don't want the hassle of responding.

Put in your social media links so interested readers can find you and leave it at that. The way you have worded your request for "feedback on the story" sounds like the book is a draft that's not done yet and also could result in writing by committee where readers expect you to alter the story to reflect what they want.

This.


Also note that if you ask readers for their ideas for your next stories, someone will assume that s/he owns that idea and that, if you write it or something like it, you owe him/her money. While there is no copyright on ideas, only on the execution of them, most people neither understand nor believe that.

And this.

My opinion: don't ask for feedback in your book. Include your social links. Ask the reader to join your mailing list. Engage readers through those platforms.

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Offline Skip Knox

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #20 on: October 11, 2017, 08:28:12 AM »
It doesn't matter how you phrase it, here is what you are saying:  I want you to talk to me, but I don't want to talk to you.

That is unfriendly and is a clear break in the author-reader relationship. If you don't want people to talk to you, then don't talk to them. That's what reviews are for. But if you expect something from others, you'd better be prepared to give something in return.

Offline Al Stevens

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #21 on: October 11, 2017, 09:15:51 AM »
Your message is apologetic and displays insecurity. You're begging. You're trawling for attaboys. Or so it will seem to readers.

Include a Contact link on your website. The ones who want to will find it.

You don't need to ask for reviews from Amazon readers. Amazon puts that after "the end" for you. If the book is wide, a mention might help. "...from where you purchased the book."

Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2017, 09:29:13 AM »
I sounds a bit needy to me,

This. So much this.

You are a business person. Not a child that needs validation from the parents or friends. While I enjoy getting emails from readers, I don't BEG for it. Truth is, considering the volume of emails I get each day, I genuinely don't want to do anything to encourage more. You just don't want feedback from every random person that picks up your book. You just don't. trust me when I say this. No good comes of it. Are you going to write by committee? There are better ways to get what you want without creating more work for yourself and opening the door to interactions you may come to regret.

Particularly the part about offering suggestions about plots and characters. Do you even realize the number of lawsuits that have happened over the decades from stuff like this? There is a reason so many companies won't even entertain these kinds of emails from fans. It runs the risk of you getting accused of 'stealing' someone's idea. The Crazy is strong online, and do you want to deal with some random fan blasting you on social media for "stealing" their idea and then not paying them, and then they produce an email they sent to you with your reply about the idea?

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Offline KeithWardFiction

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2017, 09:53:37 AM »
I enjoy interacting with my readers. I consider it part of my job as an indie author, but more than that, getting to know them, and them getting to know me, is a lot of fun. I don't generally have long dialogues with them, but I always respond to their emails. Many readers have been surprised that I'd take the time to do that. They appreciate it, and I certainly appreciate them taking the time to reach out to me; I'm not the only one who's busy, after all...  :)

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Offline JsFan

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2017, 10:35:10 AM »
I think the others are correct that the most you should do is thank them for reading and gently encourage them to review on Amazon or Goodreads (do NOT use the phrase 'honest review' because that sounds like you expect they wouldn't be honest unless you remind them)

I actually like it when authors ask for honest reviews because it means they are open to receiving less-than-positive reviews. I've seen authors say 'If you liked my book, please give it a five star rating' and find this a lot less palatable than a request for an honest review.

Offline HopelessFanatic

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2017, 11:08:42 AM »
I actually like it when authors ask for honest reviews because it means they are open to receiving less-than-positive reviews. I've seen authors say 'If you liked my book, please give it a five star rating' and find this a lot less palatable than a request for an honest review.

There's a big difference between "give my book a five star rating" and asking for a review without asking for an honest review.

"Thank you for reading TITLE. Reviews are a great way to tell others what you liked and didn't like about a book (Reviews are a great way to tell others if a book is worth their time) (Lots of variations of this). Please consider leaving a review at the retailer of your choice. Thanks!"

Honest review is implied here. Saying "please consider leaving an honest review at the retailer of your choice' can be seen as insulting the reader's integrity.

Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2017, 11:09:09 AM »
I actually like it when authors ask for honest reviews because it means they are open to receiving less-than-positive reviews. I've seen authors say 'If you liked my book, please give it a five star rating' and find this a lot less palatable than a request for an honest review.

Nobody asks for "honest reviews" unless they expect praise. Take it from someone who used to review indie books regularly and was attacked on more than one occasion after giving an "honest review" that was three stars or less.

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Offline HopelessFanatic

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2017, 11:15:58 AM »
If you are asking readers to reach out and talk to you, but have no intention of responding to everyone, you appear rude. It's one thing if you aren't comfortable responding to all your emails, though even a short sentence or two thanking them for reaching out can be appreciated, but soliciting responses and not responding shows you value your own time more than theirs.

My husband once sent an email to Brandon Sanderson when the Wheel of Time series finished. The series means a lot to him, because it was something he shared with his father before he died. So he sent a heartfelt email thanking Sanderson. He didn't expect a response. About a month later, he got one. A long one.

Now, I don't know if it Brandon Sanderson wrote back personally (he's quite busy writing all his books), or if it was a PA, but it left a lasting impression on my husband and now we buy multiple versions of all his books at release. (Not that it makes any kind of difference.)

Offline Ann in Arlington

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2017, 11:25:57 AM »
I actually like it when authors ask for honest reviews because it means they are open to receiving less-than-positive reviews. I've seen authors say 'If you liked my book, please give it a five star rating' and find this a lot less palatable than a request for an honest review.

Yeah, that's definitely a turn off. I see the same thing with merchants who ask you to go on yelp and rate them highly.

But, I still don't like being asked for an honest review. Where you see it as a person being open to less then stellar, I see it, too often, used as a 'nudge nudge wink wink' type thing where what they're really saying is "don't bother if you don't like it". Just assume that, if you're asking me for a review, I will give you an honest one, and you don't need to remind me of that. :)

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2017, 12:07:09 PM »
I actually like it when authors ask for honest reviews because it means they are open to receiving less-than-positive reviews.

I've found the opposite to be the case and the authors who gush that they just want "honest reviews" actually just want all their friends and families to leave them glowing 5-stars and they can't actually handle honest feedback. I've seen authors have meltdowns in public forums over well written 3-star reviews because apparently anything under a 4 doesn't qualify as an honest review.

Offline Laran Mithras

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #30 on: October 11, 2017, 12:12:57 PM »
At the end of one of mt recent stories, I put:

All reviews are greatly appreciated. Even 1-stars. If you didn't like it, 1-star me, baby.

Once, anyway. I didn't get any extra reviews out of it and not any 1-stars.

I think readers are going to review if they want and only then. Worrying about reviews is a waste of time.
 

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #31 on: October 11, 2017, 12:21:41 PM »
Should I feel bad now that I just threw out my email, twitter and web page links with a "I hope you enjoyed Elera, next book coming soon"in the back?. :D
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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #32 on: October 11, 2017, 12:30:26 PM »
These are questions you ask your beta readers or you ARC's. Not the general reader.

Best thing you can do is try to get them on to your ARC list,  send them a free book and then ask all those questions.
I agree with this.
              

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #33 on: October 12, 2017, 09:16:21 AM »
Yeah, that's definitely a turn off. I see the same thing with merchants who ask you to go on yelp and rate them highly.

Ugh, I know what you mean. The dealership did this when I bought my car. And they always want you to leave a glowing review right away. Not after you've had time to decide if you like their service/product or not. One service guy my parents were talking to immediately started trying to justify his terrible Yelp reviews as soon as I mentioned that I'd looked his company up. All these excuses. So very off-putting.

To the OP: if you want suggestions but don't want to reply, you could try to come up with some kind of digital suggestion box form on your website. People are used to physical suggestion boxes not getting replies so maybe that would work. Although I kind of agree with everyone else that the whole idea may not be the most advisable.

Offline JsFan

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #34 on: October 12, 2017, 11:23:59 AM »
There's a big difference between "give my book a five star rating" and asking for a review without asking for an honest review.

"Thank you for reading TITLE. Reviews are a great way to tell others what you liked and didn't like about a book (Reviews are a great way to tell others if a book is worth their time) (Lots of variations of this). Please consider leaving a review at the retailer of your choice. Thanks!"

Honest review is implied here. Saying "please consider leaving an honest review at the retailer of your choice' can be seen as insulting the reader's integrity.

Your version may be more artful, but it still doesn't prove that asking for honest reviews is questioning my integrity. That meaning is entirely inferred by you and I think it's unfair to criticise an author for it, since the author didn't say the words you read. I doubt that most authors have such low opinions of their readers, since most authors are first readers. Really, why would strangers expend the energy it takes to judge other strangers' integrity?

I don't think it's wise to ask a reader to write what they like and/or don't like because if you said this to me I would try to find things that I like and don't like about your book (because that would now be in my working memory).

It can also be argued that pontificating to me about the usefulness of reviews is offensive. I, for one, prefer a straight request, without all the reasons. I don't know that I even think actively about whether an author wants a review before writing one. I review books because (1) I like to and (2) I'm used to reviewing. The request is at best a respectful reminder.

Nobody asks for "honest reviews" unless they expect praise. Take it from someone who used to review indie books regularly and was attacked on more than one occasion after giving an "honest review" that was three stars or less.

I'm not one of those 'nobody' people; if I request honest reviews, I mean exactly what I've said.

Are you saying the authors attacked you because they asked for honest reviews?

Yeah, that's definitely a turn off. I see the same thing with merchants who ask you to go on yelp and rate them highly.

But, I still don't like being asked for an honest review. Where you see it as a person being open to less then stellar, I see it, too often, used as a 'nudge nudge wink wink' type thing where what they're really saying is "don't bother if you don't like it". Just assume that, if you're asking me for a review, I will give you an honest one, and you don't need to remind me of that. :)

But why not take the author at his/her word and imagine he genuinely wants your honest review? I've just said how I would react to being asked to write a review of what I did and didn't like. What's the solution, then, to refrain from asking for honest reviews to avoid offending you, or to ask for the good and bad and make me reach for bad things I wasn't going to say anyway?

I've found the opposite to be the case and the authors who gush that they just want "honest reviews" actually just want all their friends and families to leave them glowing 5-stars and they can't actually handle honest feedback. I've seen authors have meltdowns in public forums over well written 3-star reviews because apparently anything under a 4 doesn't qualify as an honest review.

How do you know that they just want positive reviews from friends and family? Have a good enough number admitted this, directly or indirectly? Why would authors put these words at the back of their books to reach friends and family --- I'd imagine they could talk directly to those in their circles and possibly give them free copies of their books.

I think life is hard enough for authors without attaching negative meanings to everything they say without any evidence that they meant to say what we've understood.

At the end of one of mt recent stories, I put:

All reviews are greatly appreciated. Even 1-stars. If you didn't like it, 1-star me, baby.

I think readers are going to review if they want and only then. Worrying about reviews is a waste of time.

I like this!
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 11:31:12 AM by JsFan »

Offline JsFan

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #35 on: October 12, 2017, 11:50:21 AM »
At the end of Book 1 of my YA PNR, after my request to the reader to leave reviews and an invitation to join my mailing list, I want to write something like this:

If you would like to give me any feedback on the story, you can email me at ___

Feel free to tell me what you liked and didnt like about the story. Which characters would you like to see more of? Which would you like to see less of? Would you like to see [character name] end up with [2nd character name]?

Where would you like the story to go? What would you like me to write next? Feel free to make suggestions about the plot and characters.

Ill read and consider every suggestion, though time may not permit me to reply to all of them. Thank you.

***
Im being cautious because I might get a deluge of suggestions, some of which may be unrealistic and which I might have to use a ton of tact to reply to.

While I would like to hear feedback from readers, I fear getting inundated with too many letters that would take too much time to reply to.

So can you please help me come up with a tactful way to encourage readers to send feedback while also warning them I won't actually be replying to any of it. If a reader gave me some brilliant suggestion, Id reply to that.

Im aware I may be opening a can of worms here and giving some readers the idea they have the right to dictate my story, but as I said, I want to make it clear I won't be replying.

Thanks!

I had actually decided to ask for direct feedback once I've published. Great teammates have been known to be found this way. I don't expect that I'll get so much mail that I'll be unable to reply or write. If that happens, I'll "simply" remove the promise.

I think it would be fun to reader-fund a book at some point in my author journey. I don't think I'll do that at the beginning, though, since my mailing list doesn't even exist and I think such an enterprise would require a cetain level of camaraderie with my readers to work.

Offline HopelessFanatic

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #36 on: October 12, 2017, 12:03:40 PM »
Your version may be more artful, but it still doesn't prove that asking for honest reviews is questioning my integrity. That meaning is entirely inferred by you and I think it's unfair to criticise an author for it, since the author didn't say the words you read. I doubt that most authors have such low opinions of their readers, since most authors are first readers. Really, why would strangers expend the energy it takes to judge other strangers' integrity?

I don't think it's wise to ask a reader to write what they like and/or don't like because if you said this to me I would try to find things that I like and don't like about your book (because that would now be in my working memory).

It can also be argued that pontificating to me about the usefulness of reviews is offensive. I, for one, prefer a straight request, without all the reasons. I don't know that I even think actively about whether an author wants a review before writing one. I review books because (1) I like to and (2) I'm used to reviewing. The request is at best a respectful reminder.

I'm not sure I understood what you are saying here, so if I misunderstood I apologize. There's no way for me to prove asking for honest reviews, over just asking for reviews period, is implying that someone has questionable integrity, because there is no right or wrong answer. It's not provable either way. It's opinion, and frankly, I sway the direction of not offending unintentionally because some readers will read that implication. How do I know? Because I talk to readers, both as an author and as a reader myself.

As for it being unfair to criticize an author, well, fairness has nothing to do with how someone feels or interprets an author's words. I don't understand the rest of your paragraph. You seem to be arguing that readers shouldn't infer an author's intentions (or maybe the author's assumption of the reader's intentions/integrity?) As for authors having low opinions of readers, when it comes to reviews, I've seen a lot of 'bad behaving authors' as have many readers.

The point is that asking for an honest review over just asking for a review without the qualifier isn't going to give you more reviews, or better reviews, or going to have any positive effect. So why risk offending some of your readers for no gain?

As for how I worded the review request example, this was just an example I pulled out of my booty. I don't actually ask for reviews at the end of my books, so I don't word it like anything. Other, quite successful, authors have stated in the past that explaining why reviews are important to authors and other readers lets readers know when they otherwise don't realize that reviews are important. Personally, I don't worry about reviews at all.

As for it not being wise to ask what they liked and didn't like because then they might leave a review saying both what they liked and didn't like, I strongly disagree. I want people to say what they liked and didn't like because it informs readers (who reviews are for. They aren't for me.) whether the book is a good fit for them before they buy it. I mean, I have to question this here. If you're really looking for an honest review, you'd want the good with the bad right? Not just the good? Otherwise, you're not looking for honest reviews; you're looking for good reviews.

Too many authors these days complain about their low star reviews (even 3-stars), calling the reviewers trolls, or questioning what kind of person would leave such a low rating. There are enough examples of authors who ask for honest reviews who turn around and argue against the low star reviews that readers are wary of the wording. It happens a lot with ARC reviewers specifically, because it's usually emphasized by the author to leave an honest review.

You don't have to ask for honest reviews. (And my post was specifically about the difference between asking for an honest review and asking for a 5-star review. There's a middle ground, which arguably is the better choice.)

Offline Ann in Arlington

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #37 on: October 12, 2017, 04:13:45 PM »
Quote
The point is that asking for an honest review over just asking for a review without the qualifier isn't going to give you more reviews, or better reviews, or going to have any positive effect. So why risk offending some of your readers for no gain?

This.

I'm not saying that EVERY reader is going to read 'honest review' as 'positive review'. But I know that a lot of readers WILL read it that way even if the author doesn't mean it that way.

OTOH, if you just ask for a review, without the qualifier, there's nothing for anyone to read into it.

For me, the question is "why risk annoying people if you don't have to?"

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Online Tilly

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #38 on: October 12, 2017, 05:00:20 PM »
How do you know that they just want positive reviews from friends and family? Have a good enough number admitted this, directly or indirectly?

Because other forums are full of threads from authors lambasting readers for giving their "book baby" anything less than a 5/4 star review because all their other reviews (from family) are 5 star. Goodreads is particularly bad for authors calling genuine reviewers the t-word for anything less than a 4-star which apparently isn't "useful feedback" while at the same time they are whining that they can't get "honest reviews" on their books. And yes I have seen authors say that critical reviews aren't useful feedback (again in GR forums) because they don't like being told their basic craft is lacking (usually).

And you're right - they don't just want positive reviews from friends and family, they want them from other authors too. Goodreads is (unfortunately) host to numerous groups where authors can swap "positive feedback" with each other in the form of reciprocal 4/5 star reviews on Amazon and GR. When you read the small print in these groups they often specifically say "positive feedback" only and that authors are required to ONLY post 4/5 star "honest reviews".

Offline Lorri Moulton

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #39 on: October 12, 2017, 05:32:58 PM »
I don't ask for reviews.  At the end of my book, it says I hope you enjoyed the story and here's my website and email. 

I think I've had one person email me and over 900 follow my website.

Social media is where I talk to readers.  Facebook is a great place to chat. :)

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