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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is probably a little different from the 1* review pain we all experience once a while. Interested in hearing what you think about how I might (or not) respond.

About two months ago, I had a reader email me saying they loved my books but found several proofreading issues, and whether I'd be interested in seeing them if they sent it to me. I was very thankful (and ashamed, rightly so) and said yes, and this incredibly helpful person sent me a series of screenshots with the issues marked on it. I was very, very grateful and not only did I fix all of them but also decided to change / use a different proofreader.

Now, somewhere during this process, this person left me an Amazon review. It's a 5* review saying they loved the books BUT that they found many issues and I should use a proofreader (all fair, well deserved criticism, since fixed), but what really surprised me was they also added that they felt I got fed up with their feedback. I was really taken aback by that comment  - I've looked at my correspondence and I was repeatedly thankful, but I definitely seem to have said something or used some word that made them feel so, which is really unfortunate because they were awesome.

Now, this leads me to two points

(a) I didn't want them to feel this way and I'd like to make it right

(b) anyone reading that review would think this author is an ass, look at this ungrateful wretch! :) which couldn't be farther than the truth because I really, really am thankful.

What's the best course of action?

- I have their email address and can of course reach out saying "hey I saw your review, I apologize if you felt that..."  and re-iterate how thankful I was

- do nothing

- something else? some other way to address this?

- should I also put a sentence at the bottom of the blurb saying "some earlier proofreading issues have since been fixed?"

I'll happily use any phrases y'all might help me with because clearly I sucked at expressing my gratitude. They are based in UK, so maybe something I said ticked them off? I looked at all my emails, and I used standard thank you phrases like "I am really appreciative" or "thank you very much."

thank you,

-clueless.
 

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Huh. That sounds odd enough that my impulse would be to do nothing, so as to disengage.
 

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Without going in details, I have participated in enough message  feel boards and projects to know there are just some people you cannot continue to please or make them feel appreciated.  You can say thank you 99 times, but if you don't say it 100 times, they feel you are insulting them and will have tantrums, etc.  I am not sure of your situation or if this is the case, but maybe it is something to consider.  I agree with Becca Miills, I would start to disengage. 
 

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It's likely their own social anxiety doing a little jig in their mind. I know I overthink things when I reach out to a stranger about something. Hell, even acquaintances or friends. Their review is five stars; they aren't calling you out or being two-faced.

If you've established a relationship with this reader, I'd email them, but I wouldn't ask if you'd done anything wrong or what-have-you. I'd reiterate that you're deeply appreciative of their feedback and that they helped you out a great deal. Maybe ask if they'd like to be a part of your beta reading team or something (if you make use of those). Don't use language that puts them on the defensive, and try not to inadvertently make them feel guilty for their review. If their aside was due to social anxiety, really zeroing in on it will just result in everyone losing and nobody winning. They'll feel silly either way, but better to feel silly with a smile on their face instead of a sinking feeling in their stomach.

If, however, you don't have a relationship with this reader and it was just the "hey, you've got some errors," "thanks," exchange, I wouldn't bother. You can't chase every butterfly with a net.
 

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I’d say leave it. One of the problems with the internet is the number of people who WILL misunderstand the simplest thing or take offense where none was meant. I’ve had the experience it’s very difficult to convince them they were wrong. I know it’s tempting to set them straight, but I suspect it will be a fruitless effort.

It might even be your reader is imagining or inventing some exchange that never even happened and is convinced it happened. And will remain convinced no matter what you say. I encountered people like that at least twice and I realized I was never going to convince them otherwise.

There are a LOT of people with emotional and comprehension problems on the net. It may be why they’re on the net. It’s easier for them to find some kind of acceptance here than in real life.

Seriously, from what you describe, I can’t help suspecting this is the case here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks, everyone. Seems like the broader note is to let it be. If I do reach out to them, it will be without opening the past but simply asking if they'd be interested in being an early reader for my next work because to be honest, the feedback was really good. But I will think through.
 

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jm2019 said:
- should I also put a sentence at the bottom of the blurb saying "some earlier proofreading issues have since been fixed?"

I'll happily use any phrases y'all might help me with because clearly I sucked at expressing my gratitude. They are based in UK, so maybe something I said ticked them off? I looked at all my emails, and I used standard thank you phrases like "I am really appreciative" or "thank you very much."

thank you,

-clueless.
I did this when a couple of reviewers objected to (mild, imho) language in my MG books. I did put a sentence at the end of my blurb noting that dialogue has been edited for 'questionable' language. I also added "as of November 2017," so readers can see that negative reviews posted before that date are more or less irrelevant.
 

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I agree with alhawke. You just can’t trust someone who has said false negative things about you, and in a very public way, on a review.

Like I said, this person has either emotional or comprehension problems or both. Sometimes you just have to let it go.
 

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jm2019 said:
Thanks, everyone. Seems like the broader note is to let it be. If I do reach out to them, it will be without opening the past but simply asking if they'd be interested in being an early reader for my next work because to be honest, the feedback was really good. But I will think through.
Why would you do that? They have already established taking personal offence by you. What do you think would happen when you do not take 100 percent of their advice?
 

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I'd devote my energy to improving my proof-reading skills, getting somebody else to cooperate with me on the task, or hiring a professional copy editor. Sending an unready book out into the world is a mistake, and it's not one that ever be entirely repaired.
 

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notjohn said:
I'd devote my energy to improving my proof-reading skills, getting somebody else to cooperate with me on the task, or hiring a professional copy editor. Sending an unready book out into the world is a mistake, and it's not one that ever be entirely repaired.
This.
 

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Okay, here's my passive-aggressive suggestion. Put the note in the description about how you've made proof-reading updates and thank the reviewer for bringing the errors to your attention. Maybe even mention that you made all of her corrections and hired a new proof reader based on her suggestion. Then do nothing else. Future readers of the review will see the conflicting conflicting narratives and put two-and-two together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks all. Last note on this.

I will not be reaching out - I think I'll leave it be.

I've added a simple note that certain earlier proofreading issues have been addressed and that's it.

Bottom line (for me) is they were truly generous in providing that feedback and taking the time to pointing them out, but somewhere in that communication something tripped, and that's life.

(I don't provide an author email anywhere. The way it happened was I have a contact form, they reached out through that and I responded. But I don't actively publish an email for correspondence.)

Appreciate all the perspective,
 

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Ignore it. I suspect the review was worded that way because you didn't offer to hire them, or add them to your beta team. I wouldn't offer anything to them, just move on.

In future, when someone sends an email like this, simply reply that you appreciate them letting you know there were errors (without asking for specifics) and that you will have your editor give it another pass. End of message. Sometimes people are wrong, you know.
 
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