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UPDATE: How NOT to respond to a review...

I posted a review for a book I read and actually enjoyed. ALFONZO by S.W. Frank. You can read the review here.  While I didn't think I attacked the author or that I had given her a bad review (three-stars isn't bad, right?), one of her readers thought otherwise.

FeversD says:
First things first...And what makes you the expert Ms. Nikki-Michelle? Because you do not like series, that is you! Other readers find this Series fantastic! And furthermore, as an Author yourself, you should feel some kind of way, to tear apart a fellow author! This is what is drastically wrong with the African American Genre...we are so busy tearing each other down instead of supporting one another! Nora Roberts, and James Patterson and many more write extensive series that are very successful! And do you know why...because their fellow authors are not stabbing them in the back, but instead supporting them! The craft is just that and we all should rejoice in the diversity of great author minds. However, as an advid reader of this author and many others that write series, your comments mean very little. Any reader worth their weight in gold would read this book and series for themselves and enjoy it! So sorry you did not!!! Please remember my dear friend Karma is a B'Atch and what goes around will ALWAYS come back around, and as an Author, you should beware of defaming and slandering other authors.

As stated in the beginning of all my reviews, I'm an avid reader. I was a reader long before I was an author. I take my craft as a reviewer very serious. I try my hardest not to give any author I review on this site less than three-pages (think  three-stars).

I do not rip apart any author. I do NOT defame or slander authors. I buy every book I review. I do NOT get it on loan or from Kindle Unlimited. I pay my hard earned money to support each and every author I review. While FeversD response to my review on Amazon is quite abrasive and harsh, I am in no way angry at her as seen in my response.

Hello, FeversD! I'm so glad you took the time to read my review and respond. I greatly appreciate the time and effort. As you mentioned, I am an author myself, but before I became an author, I was and still am an avid reader. I love, love, LOVE myself a good book. I've been reviewing them for a few years now as can be seen on my Amazon review page. So please believe me when I say, I don't think I attacked author S.W. Frank at all. I gave an honest opinion of the story I read. As readers, aren't we allowed to do that? Also, I gave the author three-stars which isn't bad at all. I indeed supported S.W. Frank as I bought his/her book. I actually paid $4.99 for it. I didn't borrow it or get through KU. I spent hard earned money giving a new author a try. Is that not support? Does my three-star review mean I'm tearing the author apart? I don't think so. Trust me, I know what it is to be an author and read a less than stellar review. I've had my share. Go look at some of the reviews on my works. Go on. I'll wait...

Okay, now that you've done that, please understand that I, in no way, ripped the author apart. I kept my review strictly on the story. I absolutely applaud the author for sharing her work with the world. That takes time, talent, and hard work. S.W. did put in work and while I only gave the book three-stars, as you mentioned above, so many more readers love, love, LOVE this author's work. That's what's important. I'm so sorry to have upset you. That wasn't my intention either. Readers are important to us authors. We need you and while I'm sure S.W. loves all his/her readers, I'm not sure she/he would take too kindly to you attacking a reviewer. I appreciate the passion and show of support you put behind, who I'm assuming, is one of your favorite authors, but please note this is just one opinion. My little ole opinion, that's it. Thank you again and Happy Holidays!

However, I must ask that authors do NOT respond to reviews this way. It is unprofessional and unsavory.

Well since I posted this yesterday, the author as now responded on Amazon. Please read below:

 S.W.Frank says:
Thank you N.Michele for reading the first book in my 18 book series. I am glad that your friend Danielle enjoyed the story to book 5. The compliment I find is in her recommendation. Please be sure to pass on to your reader Danielle, my appreciation for sharing Alfonzo. At the end of the day, that is the most any writer can hope. I, too am an avid reader and cringe when any reviewer summarizes a story with a plethora of spoilers. Most, professional reviewers understand there are best practices, to which many abide. I thank those reviewers wholeheartedly for stating their critique without spoiling the enjoyment or lack thereof for potential readers. I must say, that you are also an Author and oftentimes, the author community prefers less spoilers, as well. Many professional author's critique of a peer, that I have come across is handled in an objective manner. The undertone of your review, "Typical" and "Dime Store Novel," along with the questionable remarks which would imply that you are a master of your craft. Ex: "To make a long story short, I'm giving this book three pages (think three-stars). The grammatical errors and inability to take a great story line and make it jump off the pages are two of the reasons for the three page review. Basically, I'd recommend this book if you're into those dime store novels from back in the day..."

However, I hold no such claim to a high distinction of a master writer. I am humble as a writer to aspire to an unattainable perfection. With each story I write, I seek to learn and improve. Of course, we are only representative of our values. To me, the author-reader book relationship should foster healthy discussion. Contentious, and spiteful commentary, unfortunately does not. I have carried on in my writing journey, and do not wish to be verbose. Perhaps, my recommendation to any reader would be to exercise the right to sample books before purchasing. It is that practice which best gives the customer an insight into whether he or she should buy. Best regards in your writing endeavors, N-Michelle.

I must admit, this caught me by surprise. I'm not used to this. Was there shade in her response? Of course. Am I offended? No. I can say that I'm disappointed my review has elicited this kind of response, especially since there are so many other one, two, and three-star reviews. I responded as can be seen below:

Good morning, S.W. I appreciate you for stopping through and reading my review as well. While I do take my craft of reviewing books to heart, I do not consider myself a professional reviewer. I am a book reader who happens to know the importance of reviews to authors. Therefore, I buy. I read. I post a review. I guess the fact that I said I found Alfonzo to be the typical male lead as in many of the books written on the topic of drugs, money, sex, and the criminal enterprise world, took away the fact that I said I actually liked him as a character? Also, 'dime-store novels' were very popular back in the day and they still are. However, I'm trying to find where I insinuated I was a master of my craft as I am not. If readers got a look at my manuscripts before professional editors had a look at it, they would cringe and I'd have a hell of a lot more one, two, and if I'm lucky, three-star reviews.

Even still, I am in no way a master author. I remember my first book I submitted to my agent. I mean I just knew I'd written a masterpiece. After all, all my friends and family loved any and everything I wrote. However, my agent is a best-selling author who has been at this for almost twenty years. It took her to tell me that my writing was good, but needed a hell of a lot of work. That stung. That burned like crap. I had tears in my eyes reading her edits, but you know what? In the end, she was right. That first story I sent to her sucked severely! Now, I am in no way telling you that ALFONZO sucked as it didn't which is why I gave it three-stars. I simply gave an opinion.

I must ask why my review bothered you so much? After taking a look at other reviews, I see some one and two-star reviews from other readers that didn't garner this kind of attention. Is it because I'm an author that it rubbed you the wrong way? If so, please push me being an author to the back of your mind. Are there grammatical errors in your book? Yes. To be honest, you can probably find a few in mine as well. Did your story jump off the page at me? No, it did not. Just as I'm sure my stories don't jump off the page to every reader either. However, you did write well enough to make me read to the very last page. That is what's important. I am just another reader who gave an OPINION of your work. My opinion is NOT law. It will not stop your loyal reading base from supporting you. When you have readers like FeversD who come to your aid in such a scathing manner, I can assure you, your writing is solidified in their hearts.
As authors, we must understand that readers have a right to their opinions whether we agree with it or not. As authors, we have to get it through our heads that not everyone will like our work. Not every review will be glowing and that is okay. I did not attack you personally. I kept my review strictly to the book and nothing more. Again, I supported you. I paid $4.99 just like everyone else, and at the end of the day, I am entitled to my opinion as a reader.
Again, I thank you so much for taking the time to read my review. I appreciate it and I wish you the best in all your writing endeavors as well. Much love, S.W.

I responded one last time and this will be it as I can see it heading in a direction I have no interest  in going. I highly recommend that as authors, we don't take this route. I have never responded to a review, even when they've hurt and I never will.


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