Sunday, January 22, 2012

Acceptable Author Behavior

We pose the following question to the GR reviewer posse:

Author A receives a number of 1-star reviews on GR which he/she claims are retaliation for something he/she posted on the Internet. Which of the following do you find as ethical and mature responses:

A. The author rates his/her own book 5 stars to balance out all those 1-star ratings by "trolls" and explains in the review that he/she has done so because of the "vindictive" ratings.

B. The author's significant other posts a positive review of the book.

C. The author's friends and "beta readers" post positive reviews of the book.

D. The author doesn't respond to the 1-star reviews because GR is a site for readers not authors, and authors and authors' friends and family posting positive reviews (or liking positive reviews) is gaming the system and therefore unethical.

E. A, B, and C.


Alright, we're back.

First, our answer to the above multiple choice: We find (A) and (B) unethical, but we would not be opposed to the  author or author's significant other simply liking the positive reviews. We find (C) ethical because friends aren't immediate family (and immediate family is TOO close to the author to be posting actual reviews for our comfort). We are also fine with (D) - the author not responding at all, not even liking the other reviews - although not because responding is "gaming the system" but because responding is futile and might come across as hyper-sensitivity. See "The Skinny on Us" page for more info.

Now, what do we think the GR reviewers would say? Easy, (D) of course!

Let's make the question more interesting then. Let's say Author A is also a GR reviewer and that the author's significant other, friends, and beta readers are also GR reviewers who contributed to some of the recent YA mega-complaining-threads. Now, GR reviewers, how do you answer the above question? Do you denounce Author A and the others just like you've denounced other authors recently? Or do you let these actions "slide" because you are all GR friends?

Since this question has now left the realm of the hypothetical, we already know the answer.


  1. I suppose the whole 'beta-reading and friends' thing would depend on whether they included a starred rating along with the review. Besides, unless an author has something like 15 friends/beta-readers, it wouldn't really be a problem.

    By the way, what are these 'YA mega-complaing-threads' you speak of?

  2. Stephanie, we wanted to let you know that we saw your comment and will address it in a blog post tomorrow.

  3. My only problem with A is the part where the author explains that they're rating their book to balance out bad ratings; that seems like something that would backfire. Authors who rate their books and then leave cute little comments ("of course I rated my book 5 stars! I wrote it!") aren't helpful to me, but I don't get mad about it.

    I think you assume there's a uniformity of opinion amongst reviewers that just doesn't exist. Maybe you only hear from the people who get angry on this subject; I know I've spoken up on this subject clear on GR once or twice, but I don't need to jump into the fray every time the issue comes up.

    By the same token, I don't get mad at people for being more lenient with their friends than with strangers.