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Item #411411
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Item #411411
Etiquette of Responding to Reviews - by Arwee
Issue #25 of the Writing.Com Reviewing Newsletter.
Your editor is: Arwee


[ Table of Contents ]

1. About this Newsletter
2. Letter from the Editor
3. Editor's Picks
4. Ask & Answer
5. Useful Links


[ About this Newsletter ]

I will be addressing the etiquette of responding to reviews. Let’s say you received a review where the reviewer has obviously put a ton of effort into writing it up for you and you’re unsure of how to thank them. What if you received a review that has offended, annoyed or hasn’t helped you at all? And what do you do when someone sends a short review that made you smile? If you’re ever confused during these moments, hopefully these tips will spark some ideas.


[ Letter from the Editor ]

One of the intricacies of being a part of the Writing.com community is what to do when
someone reviews you. We have a lot of items and guides that detail what to review, who to
review, why you should review and what you get when you do review. In the midst of all
these guides, there’s very little guidance for how to respond to reviews themselves. There is an unspoken understanding that everyone should respond to a review they receive, to not do so is rude and may make other reviewers less likely to view your work. But that still leaves the question of what one is supposed to do. The following suggestions are what I tend to think about when I’m faced with a situation where I need to respond to a review.

The first thing one should keep in mind is that not responding to a review is often
considered rude. However, there are some exceptions to not responding at all. Situations
where I find myself not responding to a review could vary. But when I avoid responding to
a review, it is because I found the review offensive without being helpful or a blatant
self-promotion. Offensive reviews are not necessarily reviews that tell you things you
don’t want to hear about your item.

I classify offensive reviews as ones where the reviewer has attacked me personally by
calling me names or being generally abusive without saying a single helpful thing about
my work. Self-promotion reviews are fairly rare, but sometimes you might receive a review
where the reviewer says a single sentence that is related to your piece and spend the rest
of the review dedicated to talking about which piece of their work you should read and why
they’re so great. Such attention seeking is best ignored. The final reason why someone would not receive a response to their review to me would be because it got lost or I’m not available to respond immediately. But technical problems like that are rare.

Now that we’ve gotten the issue of when I don’t respond to a review out of the way, let’s get to the meat of this article. When you respond to reviews, keep in mind that the best thing to keep in mind is to stay polite. Reviewers usually write reviews to try and help you as a writer. Whether or not you agree with their suggestions is another matter. The main point at the forefront is that someone spent time to read and respond to your writing and such feedback is often helpful but at the very least it should be respected.

Let’s say you received a big review that told you what the reviewer thought of your piece. But you don’t agree with a single word they said. It’s not an abusive review, but one that doesn’t make any sense to you and you really doubt you would consider any of the suggestions. First thing you need to do is sit back and relax. Are you upset? Get up from your desk or leave the review for a little while and come back to it later. There is no set timeline where you must respond to a review, but try not to leave it sitting in your inbox for months.

Once you’ve had a chance to cool off, it’s best to avoid writing a long response to a review you don’t agree with and point out exactly why you disagree with the review and why you think the reviewer is wrong. Remember, reviewing is also mostly the reviewer’s impressions and opinions as they read your story. And unless the reviewer specifically asks for an answer, it comes off badly when you write a rebuttal to their review. Instead, send them a thank you. Just a simple thank you that said you appreciate the time they spent. No need to get into lengthy explanations, which may result in lengthy arguments.

Now that we have the tough situations out of the way, the best way to respond to a regular review is just with a sincere thanks. These reviews are just reviews that tell you areas to fix, areas that were great and was just generally a good review. I’ve written my share of reviews that haven’t gotten replies, and it disheartens me a little every time. Not responding to a review makes your reviewer wonder what went wrong. Or worse, it makes them wonder if you even read it. So a simple thank you e-mail goes a long way.

If you include gift points with your response or want to make your thank you responses a
bit more special, there were a great set of ideas by LotusNeko you can read in Issue #18
of this newsletter. However, a simple but honest thank you really does go a long way. And
whether you choose to thank your reviewer with a response, or offering a review in turn,
or giving them some gift points or other presents, most reviewers appreciate the gesture.
And, at the very least, responding to your reviewers can spark new friendships. So don’t be too scared to respond to your reviews, you might miss out on more valuable feedback.


[ Editor’s Picks ]
I’ll be highlighting works from randomly selected readers of this newsletter this time. If you have any suggestions for Editor’s Picks, please let me know about them.

         
 Coming Through  (E)
It's best to make sure you can come through on your promises before you make them!
#1088647 by Breezy-E ~ In College


         
 Steer Chase  (E)
A story I was told as a child.
#863038 by Angela's Niece needs Praye



[ Ask and Answer ]

If you have any questions, comments, general suggestions, or suggestions for editor’s pick (even your own work! *Smile* ), please send them to me. I’ll be more than happy to feature them in the next newsletter and address them to the best of my ability.


[ Useful Links ]

*Bullet* "Feedback Central – Send the editors some suggestions and general feedback.
*Bullet* "Reviewing Newsletters – View previous issues of the Reviewing
Newsletter.
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Created: 03-21-09 @ 6:48pm | Modified: 03-26-09 @ 12:37pm      

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