There seems to be a worrying trend where author participation via comments is seen as something to jump upon and put a stop to in certain online venues so I thought I’d make it clear that I welcome author’s comments (usual rules of civility apply as they do to everyone).

If you’d like to be clear on your blog feel free to borrow/copy/adapt as you see fit.


Sarah of BookWormBlues has written a great post to explain what welcoming an author means.

9 Thoughts on “I’m Open to Authors Commenting And If There Was Any Doubt I Made a Sign

  1. As I’ve said on Twitter, I’ve found the tone of the discussion around the relationship between some book bloggers and authors to be really quite disturbing on a number of levels. The most serious problem that I have is that it is, at its very heart, the marginalisation of dissent through the othering of the writer. They create a supposed power differential in order to justify the exclusion of the writer as a way to disempower them and protect the blogger from any potential unpleasant repercussions of having the author as a part of the conversation. The nature of those repercussions aren’t adequately explained.

    Ultimately, authors are just people. Some of them are lovely. Some are asshats. Mostly they are just normal, average folks who have good days and bad days. They aren’t powerful and they need to be treated just like any other commenter — if they are civil then they should be able to say whatever they like, even if they are in disagreement with the blogger. If they are abusive, then apply whatever standard sanctions for abusive people the blogger has decided upon.

    But excluding authors surely misses the whole point of writing about books – to gain a deeper insight into the work. If an author had one intention but the reviewer reads something else, there’s a great opportunity for exploration there which can enrich both parties. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

  2. I have to say, I’d never considered the possibility that I might not be welcome to comment or get involved (not here, but in general)! I know I’ve left comments on favourable reviews of my novel, but only to say thank you. Your point about civility is surely all that’s important.

    • I’ve run into it before when I commented on a review of a book I had read. When a few of the commenting people found out I was also an author they immediately wanted to know if I knew the author. Several people implied I had only joined the conversation to pimp the book (it happened to be a book I liked). The review was a positive one, so to this day I really have no idea where the comments were coming from or why the attitude was so hostile. Needless to say, I did not stick around.

  3. Pingback: AUTHORS WELCOME » Bookworm Blues

  4. A J Dalton on 16 September, 2013 at 9:10 am said:

    So refreshing to read that authors are welcome! (And it’s inspired an article on Bookworm Blues, too.) I’m an ‘international author’, but I’ve been warned by my publisher not to get involved in direct discussions of my own work, since it potentially ‘alienates’ too many people. Here are the really sad things about that:
    1. Authors often/sometimes/now-and-then get a ‘negative’ review written by a rival publisher or author – the review is usually completely unfair and inaccurate, since they haven’t had the decency to read the book properly (if at all). However, the author isn’t meant to respond. The only negative reviews my own work’s really had is in the Murdoch press – Murdoch owns HarperCollins, who are the main rival to my publisher when it comes to the UK market. Those reviews killed my sales in Australia and NZ. But I’m not meant to respond. Sheesh. He’s a billionaire and I’m just some bloke living hand-to-mouth in Manchester. Hasn’t he got anything better to do than use his global empire against me? And I’m just meant to take it on the chin.
    2. Since 95% of authors make less than 20 grand a year (ie most don’t make enough to live on), the majority of fantasy authors write fantasy because they LOVE the genre. They want to talk about whether George RR Martin doesn’t put enough magic in his books, etc. They want to talk about whether the ‘heroic fantasy’ sub genre is no longer relevant, etc. They want to write fantasy the way they think it should be written.
    3. As authors we LIKE to communicate. As human beings we NEED to communicate. Being gagged is one of the most horrendous things that can happen to a person!

    Anyway, thanks GavReads. This is now in my ‘favourite site in the whole world’ list – let’s just hope Murdoch doesn’t spot it, sue me and destroy me forever more! See, I’m already thinking I should edit my comments… maybe I should delete this post… maybe I shouldn’t say anything…

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  6. Pingback: On Review Etiquette in the Blogosphere | Joanne Hall

  7. *waves*

    I’m here to disagree with you. Sort of.

    In general, I don’t think the author automatically has a place in a readers conversation about their book, mainly because the author can never have a readers response to their own work. We have this odd situation where informal conversations are publicly visible; when the author joins in, it can feel creepy, and inhibiting, and makes me go and check the security settings on the Facebook page I don’t have.

    Remember, the author is in a position of privilege. It may not feel like it, but they (likely) have an agent, and an editor, and author friends, and fans. I’m just an idiot with an internet connection. Yes, I notice it more because I’m female and being female on the internet is fairly tiring some days, which brings me to the next point.

    I don’t want to have a conversation about everything I read, do, say, whatever. It’s right that I own my words, but that doesn’t mean I want to talk about why I did or did not enjoy a particular book. Sometimes it’s just an offhand comment because it’s time to update the blog, or because I keep track of everything I read on LibraryThing. It doesn’t mean I want to have a sparring match with somebody whose mileage varies. Sometimes I just don’t have anything else to say. Or maybe I don’t post at the same pace as life, so in the meatworld I’ve read 4 books since that one. Talking to my friends (or the imaginary Constant Blog Reader), I can be me. When the author shows up, I have to be Me in Front of my Boss, which, as I say, is tiring.

    I’ve had an author comment on one of my Amazon reviews. It was a one star review and all they did was thank me so it wasn’t that big of a deal, but I was still left very aware this book has 113 reviews, 92 of which are 5 *. When there are that many people that enthusiastic, it’s difficult to write a 1* review, but as I found the last 30% actively offensive as a woman, as a carer for somebody with mental health issues, and as a reader of literary fiction, I did anyway.
    It doesn’t stop there: one of the author’s fans left me a comment urging me to give the other books in the trilogy a try. He kindly let me know they had been inspired by the author’s own experiences. Then I found out the author had written a blog entry about a different 1 star review. For all I know he’s got one referencing me, all about how some people just pick holes in things because [whatever] really happened. It’s probably not going to happen, but it could. The bottom line is that when I give an opinion on the internet, I don’t always feel safe about it. It doesn’t take much for things to blow up.

    I’d suggest authors read up about Schroedinger’s Rapist (although I’d suggest everybody do that anyway). I think there’s a parallel to be made here. When an author comments on a review (or whatever), the reviewer doesn’t know if that’s going to be all there is, or whether a pack of rabid fans are going to descend upon them and the author’s agent will call them a bitch on Twitter (true story – not me btw).

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