Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I just did something I said I would never do

The title above says it all. So what did I do? I asked a reviewer to correct a rather large error in their review of Roses for a Diva on goodreads.com. It wasn’t a spur of the moment decision, however, since I’m from the school of “let the review chips fall where they may”. This is not the first time someone has made an error in a review, but it is the first time I felt compelled to ask them to correct it.

It’s not as if this person didn’t like the book. That didn’t really matter to me. But from the bulk of it, they did seem to enjoy a large part of the book. I got 3 stars, a fair to middling rating, and I believe based on the review it was a fair and accurate rating for this person’s reading of the plot, characters and voice.

A friend pointed out the problem to me. It was contained in the spoiler. Since I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone interested enough to want to read it, I won’t say what it was, but it was a misreading of something to do with the time frame of the story. I looked back at the uncorrected proof to be certain, but it was not something that needed to be fixed after ARCs were sent out. I got it right from the beginning.

To be fair, English might not be this reviewer’s native tongue (although the review was quite well written), so I don’t know if that was an issue. You would think, though that if you’re going to write a review and find fault with something, you would make sure that you’ve got your facts correct.

For some reason, it irked me enough this time that I had to make a comment. It was a very polite (and I went out of my way to make it so) request that this person change their review to correct their error. I don’t know what this person will do. I’m not even sure if you can edit reviews.

Now I’m worried that what I did was in bad form. Is it just me or should it be expected that reviews have correct information in them? I mean, I would certainly take it seriously if someone were to point out an error I made in writing any of my novels. It’s part of the covenant writers have with readers. Should we expect the same — even if it’s a review on a site such as Goodreads?


Jean Radko said...

Hi Rick,
I would be loathe to make a request that hinged on opinion, but your example deals with facts.

I think that a neutral posting of the facts shouldn't provoke a reaction, *but* if there is one the internet is good for, it's making mountains out of molehills.

Rick Blechta said...

Jean, I would NEVER disagree with someone's opinion of one of my books. First of all, it would be rude. Second, how do you argue with someone's opinion. And third, it seems to me to be the height of bad manners on an author's part.

But yeah, in this case the reviewer did get the major fact of her comment completely wrong.

Thanks for commenting!

Eileen Goudge said...

For what it's worth, I would have done the same. Let's hope the reviewer is as respectful in responding.

Rick Blechta said...

No word yet, Eileen. I think I'll go down to The Cloisters and do some writing. Wish it wasn't 400+ miles away!