a reviewer's rights and freedoms
Okay, I'd like to make something clear to the entire world. Yes, that's right, the entire freaking world.
You are not entitled to reviews. And yes, that includes me. I realize that if I wrote something and got no reviews, no comments, no feedback for it, that would be perfectly justified. So please, please, do not bother me with the fact that I haven't reviewed your fic in a while. Seriously.
I guess you might be wondering where this sudden rant is coming from. Well, I'll tell you. I received an email tonight. From whom, it doesn't matter. That's entirely irrelevant. The point is, the email was from the author of a fic that I had been enjoying, along with many other readers. I had, on occasion, reviewed in the past, when I felt the chapter moved me enough to do so. I, quite honestly, am a rare reviewer. Does that make me a hypocrite because of all the kind and lovely people who review my stuff, because of all the fic I read? Possibly.
But the point I am trying to make here, is that when a reader who reviews often suddenly stops, who am I to question it? I did have a reviewer, a lovely, lovely person, who stopped reviewing for a few chapters. Did I wonder where she'd gone? Yes. Did I try to track her down and ask her why she'd stopped? No. If, by some randomness, you know her, then you know that she was always an anonymous reviewer. I did, in time and by chance, come back into contact with her, and she's one of my favourite reviewers yet. But there have been others, who reviewed a few times, I got to recognize their usernames, and sometimes, they would stop reviewing. Did I try to track them down? No. Because I write for me, and for the people that choose to read, regardless of whether they review or not.
In this particular case, fanfiction.net's email system was down again, resulting in the email I received, explaining that a similar, if not identical email was also being sent out to other "MIA reviewers". Okay, so I reviewed once or twice. Does that mean I'm 'missing in action' just because I stopped? I don't think so. As I replied, " I do make it a point to not question a reader if they choose not to review for a period of time, and would appreciate the same consideration extended to myself."
I realize that sounds bitchy. Sounds unappreciative of the writer's efforts to inform me of an update on a fic that I had clearly expressed interest for in the past. In fact, I had read the latest chapter. It was, uniform with the rest of the fic, good. However, one thing bothered me. This personal email was sent because fanfiction.net's email system was down. But I was not on the email alert list for this fic - in fact, I chose long ago to not subscribe to email alerts for any fic. Sending personal notifications to those on the list, I get. But me? I don't think so.
What I'm getting at here, is that I perceived this email as interrogatory. Why aren't you reviewing? The latest chapter is up. Why haven't you read and reviewed it? You've done so in the past, so why not now?
As I responded, "I would like it to be understood that I will review when I choose to, and not otherwise."
Every reader has the right to either review or to abstain from reviewing. I, as a writer and a reader, like to think I respect this right. I would appreciate it if others would do the same.
Now, I have, in fact, received an apology for what I perceived as an overly intrusive email. And while I needed no apology, it was greatly appreciated.
But the point is, everything I have said is not directed to a particular individual. It's to writers as a whole. We tend to get greedy, spoilt by kind reviewers. Some have gone so far as to demand a certain number of reviews before continuing. There is nothing that bothers me more than that.
In short. Write because you love it. Write for yourself, write for the readers, for the fandom, for the fan in you. Reviews are just the icing on the cake.
End unusually calm and profanity-free rant.