Thursday, 15 December 2016

How to Respond to Negative Reader Comments

Wattpad was essential to me becoming a published author. I blogged about that here. My gratitude for the community of writers and readers goes far and wide.

I don't read reviews on Goodreads because those comments are meant for potential readers not me, the author. And I've never read a comment yet that could improve my writing.

However, I recently received a message from a Wattpad reader about NIGHT SHIFT. They were upset the rest of the books in the series were not on the site in their entirety and would have to buy them to find out how the rest of the story goes. And because of this they were boycotting all my present/future books.

I felt horrible. So I waited for the emotion to take a backseat to reason before I responded.

What bothered me was how this felt like an attack on my character as opposed to a comment about my characters. This had nothing to do with my writing, but rather my choice as an author to use Wattpad as a platform to further my brand.

And I should add that when I made the decision to post NIGHT SHIFT, the other two books in the series hadn't been written.

I realize this reader doesn't understand the cost of self publishing, or that I'm presently saving money to finance the last book in the series, or that I'm losing revenue because NIGHT SHIFT is up in its entirety for free.

I considered not responding at all.

But when I reread the comment the next day, it was clear my professionalism was in question and I decided this was worth defending. I saw an opportunity to demonstrate that I'd heard their concern and then I offered a solution.

Here's what I said...

To date there has been no reply, but the response from other writers has been outstanding.

I think we love writing so much that we forget putting all those words down is actual work, and what we do—by creating stories for others to enjoy—should never be undervalued.

Now go write something amazing!

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