When it comes to online behavior, it's generally best for authors to steer clear of getting into tiffs with the online reading community — especially over a bad review. Whether you think you just need to say just one tiny thing because the reviewer clearly didn’t understand what you are trying to convey, or if you can’t help jump into a full-on comment war, authors should think long and hard before posting a response to a review. After all, nobody wants to become the next author to have an “Internet Meltdown” and join the ranks of the oft-joked about, for actions similar to those that lead to the self-destruction of Jacqueline Howett and bad behavior of Candace Sams. (Because, as we have just demonstrated, the Internet has a long, long memory.)
But it looks like authors are about to get some help from an unlikely source. The book-centric social networking site Goodreads is attempting to help authors stay on the “write” side of online etiquette. We learned via author Andrew Shaffer’s post on EvilReads, that the online reading community has installed a new feature, a message that appears if you (as an author) attempt to respond to a review of a book that you’ve written.