Occasionally we authors are challenged on how to respond to reviews. Reviews I have learned are simply readers documenting how they experienced an authors writing.
Because of that I have overall taken the mindset that reviews in general are like walking into an ice cream store. I should not expect someone who wants and likes chocolate to be thrilled when they taste vanilla. There is no right and wrong in such instances but merely preferences.
Because of this and because of the general advice given to authors to not respond to reviews, when a person writes something that indicates a weakness in my writing or a distaste for the work I typically remain silent.
I read the review, try to gather what I can that might benefit me as a writer and further my readers engagement.
Yesterday however, I was again confronted with a review that not just indicated the authors distaste for the narrative I wrote, but falsely attributed aspects to my novel that simple was not true.
As a Christian I am often confronted with how to respond to such reviews. Generally speaking my thinking has been to say to myself that “people have the right to be wrong.”. To let “the Lord fight my battles.” Or other types of platitudes. Overall, it is a schema to remain non-confrontational.
Nevertheless, I am also a business person who has placed a product in the market, and if someone makes a false claim about the nature of the product then as a businessperson I feel compelled to address the false claims as it can be not just damaging for business, but is also in my opinion slander, and can impugn the testimony of what God is trying to do through my writing ministry.
My dilemma was such that I reached out to a more accomplished Christian author who gave me some sound advice. In the end I decided that this review needed to be responded to.
Yesterday a reviewer who I suspect (but cannot prove) is an alias for a person who has actually stalked me online for two years; posted a two star review. The two stars did not move me, as every author I’m sure has received their fair share of critical reviews. Nor would this have been my first two star review.
What peeked my attention was the nature of the review. Nothing was mentioned about the actual story, nothing about if the characters were good or bad, or if the plot was sound, not even any mention to grammar or poor word choice. What was mentioned was the reviewers articulated need to seemingly protect possible readers from my work, as it might lead people astray.
Specifically the review stated, and I quote, “Am rating this low because of a major theological issue with it. Am concerned that it will lead people astray with the proposition that Jesus was “created” from an angel. Sorry for the spoiler. The word is very clear on this. He was Creator, not created. The rest is not bad “fiction.” Just remember – it is “fiction.” Always, stay grounded in the word. “
While this is not the first review that mentions someone having a theological problem with the book. It is the first critical review, that not only specifies the nature of the readers problem, but is actually false. The claim that “Jesus was created from an angel” is so false that it begged the question as whether the reviewer actually read the book. I must admit I’m still floored by such a statement from someone who claims to have read the book. Which again brings the whole review in my into question, and if this is merely another plot from a person who shall remain nameless to bring disrepute on my work.
I did choose to respond, and I hope that the tone lends itself well. I will let you be the judge.
My response in the comments section were as follows,
…“Firstly, I want to thank the reviewer for her “reading” and “review” of my work. I do not usually comment on reviews as every reader’s experience with a book is unique, and everyone does not have to enjoy an author’s work.
However, due to the false claim listed in this review, I feel compelled for the sake of accuracy and future readership to address this review.
While all believers might disagree as to the level of accuracy concerning the speculative nature of this tale, which is our mutual right. Her statement I believe leaves questions and is an exaggeration I feel compelled for the sake of accuracy and future readership to address.
Therefore, I must unfortunately repudiate the false claim leveled against my work in this review that, “it will lead people astray with the proposition that Jesus was “created” from an angel.”
No where in my fictional narrative does it state either directly or by implication that God manifested as either Father, Son or Holy Ghost is a created being. I challenge the reviewer or any reader to find the page number and quote from the book in the comment section here, that indicates that Jesus was created from an angel.
Anyone looking for such a “spoiler” will be greatly disappointed, as there is NO such instance in the book. The reviewer and I would agree, that the word is very clear on this. He was Creator, not created.”
A quick kindle search of the word “Jesus” will find that there are nine references in the whole book; four of which are in the preface. Two are quotes that clearly state him as the Son of God, and the others are similar. The last reference being an appeal to make him Lord and Savior. There are five references of the word “yeshua” with similar results. Not one of these references depict Jesus as “created”.
Please note, that the reviewer and I are in agreement to the paramount importance, that all believers study to show ourselves approved unto God, and to rightly divide the word. (2 Tim 2:15.) We absolutely stand together in this.
Therefore, please note that as a believer, I personally do not adhere to such a doctrine that Jesus is a created being nor is it evident in my work.
Persons who would like to know this author’s Christian doctrinal beliefs may feel free to see them listed plainly at the below listed link.
For any person who would like to learn more about what Christian teachings the book does affirm please feel free to visit my website where I give a complete listing of doctrinal truths the book acknowledges.
With my highest regards to the Christian community.
Blessings in Christ,
So there you have it. What do you think of this? Should I have responded in a different manner? How have others dealt with this issue? I’m not looking for right or wrong answers just honest feedback.
Thanks for tuning in!