Recent events have gotten me thinking once again on why I feel so strongly that authors should never respond to bad reviews. I think I’ve previously talked about it in terms of politeness, and of not looking bad, stuff like that.
But what I think I really mean is that most authors have more power than the reviewer. Often reviewers aren’t as well known as the person they’re reviewing. So when the disgruntled writer says, “What about my rights? Why can’t I respond?” The answer is that you can. But what will it gain you? Besides you already have a reply to your critics: your books. Your last book, your current book, your future books.
Why does an established writer with an army of books feel the need to go after a critic who happens to not like their latest book? They have a much bigger audience than that critic does. Many more people will read the book in question than the bad review. It’s madness.
Even when the author is brand new and has only one book what will they achieve by going after a critic? They’ll make themselves look small and petty minded and incapable of taking criticism. If you’re irked by a bad review respond by making your next book even better.
I have yet to see anything good come out of an author turning on a specific critic.