Review Etiquette?

Not really sure if this 'appropriate' or not, so I'll just cut straight to it. Is it okay to ask reviewers to amend their reviews if a criticism they made has been addressed, or should they be left for posterity?

Personally, I don't think reviews should be changed - and if it's a small criticism, I'd say leave it.

If it's a huge criticism and the story would be great without it, but with it the story bleeds readers (the only thing I can think of would be a great story with terrible grammar, and then they hire an editor) then maybe asking to put a final line into the review like "Update: I have been informed the writer hired an editor and my grammar concerns, noted above, have been addressed."

But yeah, other than that, I'd say no, not really. I don't think it's appropriate at all.

If it's me, then ask away. :) Actually, I'll go look over the one I did a while back even if it's not me specifically that you meant. At the very least, I can add a date to my review and a note that says "as of this time and things may have changed by the time you're reading this." (I just realized that the reviews themselves are not dated.)

I think one approach could be to thank the reviewer for pointing it out and letting them know you've tried to address the criticism. Some might offer to update and others might not. Not sure how I'd feel about somebody asking me to update a review. it might depend on how much time has passed since the review was written.

Personally? Absolutely not. You left your work to stand on its own and these are the thoughts and opinions that were had. Even if you sent the reader a note that the review misinterpreted something, to me, that still falls on you for not conveying it to that particular reader. It is what it is, and your job is to take that feedback on board or let it go as the subjective tastes of this guy or girl who's outside your target demographic. In the long run, you'll get the real average, so you can't get caught up on every individual review anyway.

The only exception I have is if the review isn't actually reviewing what you wrote. Like if I wrote a scathing review about how the pirate ship that exploded on your world's fifth moon was ridiculous and you were like, "Wtf that never happened." That's a lie. Reviews are an honest opinion, and while that includes reader confusion or just a 'feeling' that they didn't like it, it does NOT include outright contradictions of the story's facts. Say you think these blue shoes are a metaphor for cheese instead of depression, whatever, but you can't say they're red shoes. The facts of the story say blue.

And past that, you can definitely ask the reviewer to elaborate for your benefit - not to nudge the person into changing their review, which happens and bothers the hell out of me, but to be sure you understand the feedback. Then if you make changes based on it, there's no trouble with asking them to read it again and maybe give their thoughts on that.

Echoing @Tartra here.

You don't respond to reviews, except to maybe say thank you. That's it. That's all. The only exception to that is MAJOR falsification, and *even then*, you need to remember that if the reader read your story and their mind filled in parts of the plot erroneously... that's never something you can control. You don't even own it.

Every story read is at least 50% the readers, at least. We wrote the words, but their mind has to compile them and make them into the reading experience. I see a lot of new writers get frustrated or confused when readers talk about minor details (or even major ones) in a story that, flat-out, they didn't write. That doesn't change that the reader experienced it. Maybe your plot was too loose. Maybe your story wasn't fast-paced enough, and their mind wandered, or back-filled in gaps. It happens. You can't control it.

And you *cannot* invalidate that reader's experience. (And trying to will backfire, it will always backfire, it will forever backfire, just don't do it.)

Here's the better solution: Get more reviews for your story, by fresh eyes.

If it's my review, I'm happy to amend it. I was never very happy with how it turned out, honestly.

Eh, all attention is good attention, right? A 1 star review will still get you more clicks than none. I'd just try and fix what wasn't working and leave it up there.

In my opinion, as soon as you publish something online, you open it for critique. If it's not good enough yet, don't publish it. Therefore, reviews are valid even if you edit later.

It's definitely not your "right" to have a reviewer amend a review if you make changes. The person already took some time to read your writing and presumably write constructive criticism that you could act upon.

However, I know that some reviewers are quite happy to go over your writing again and change their review, so it doesn't hurt to ask really, really politely.

Another thing I've seen is that people who've gone back and made major edits often note this (with the date) in their summary so that people know that certain reviews might be out of date.

To clarify, because I just realized that at least half of my reply to the OP took place primarily in my head and was based on me guessing what he might mean as opposed to directly answering his actual question:

I did add a note to my March review of Outliers stating what date it was written and that the only issue I had with the story--editing and formatting--may have been addressed by a later date. Honestly, I view it as less a change in my review and more a footnote that I would've included to begin with if I'd been thinking about it.

Generally speaking, I'm of the "say thank you and walk away" school of responding to reviews. That said, I never object to being approached in a polite and reasonable fashion about... pretty much anything. ;)

Whoops, it seems I wasn't very clear. Sorry. I was quite tired In this case, both Lori and Shaeor's reviews (which I still do appreciate very much, and I'm sorry if I seemed ungrateful) criticized the story's beginning, quite rightfully too: it wasn't great. Since then, thoug, I've actually gone back and redone the beginning from scratch, so I was wondering, when it's something that large, if it's okay to ask reviewers to signal in some way that a change has been happened, or simply date the review, as Lori has now done (thank you again!). I promise, I'm not going 'wahhh, they didn't understand my masterpiece, fix it, wahh' :)

(Shaeor, I promise I haven't forgotten about your review, I've just been real busy. Soon, I promise.)


Outliers is really one I enjoyed reading. Call me hopeful, but I'll put it on the back of my review train. As I said, I wasn't happy with the outcome of my review, and I think your story deserves better. I'm impressed to hear you went to that length.

So, you are now the caboose.

I just have to get to you, after Once Giants and the Saga story with a funny name. Chuga-chuga-chuga woot-woot!