I found this on another board: Dirty Pop MessageBoard (great board by the way) and I insanely loved it so I wanted to share it here. It's originally from fanfiction.net I did not write it. I'm just posting it here because it covers some great points and I think does it in a way that everyone can appreciate :)
(the red text is stuff that I think really needs attention)
Reviews and Why We Love Them
Summary: Tips for giving (and accepting!) reviews gracefully.
If youre the reviewer...
* Dont just write two words.
This is really what pushes my buttons. Yeah, its nice that somebody read your fic, but dont you think they could spare more than .5 seconds to write what they thought about it? Instead of lol, very funny, try writing about exactly what you found so funny. As an author, wouldnt you much rather receive a review that said I thought it was great how you built up the suspense right before they discovered the body instead of ooh, scary!?
* Use constructive criticism.
This kind of goes with the above. Authors love to hear what theyre doing right and wrong. If you thought an author needs to work on building a plot, say so. But say so politely (and via IM or email if possible, instead of as a post to the board). If you can think of any, give a couple suggestions. But dont just focus on the negative; maybe you could compliment the same author on their wonderful, original characters. Basically, be helpful.
* Flame intelligently.
Yes, I know thats a walking contradiction, but lets face it - self publication goes hand in hand with the risk for sucky stories. They are out there and always will be. So if you read a fic that absolutely reeks, dont review it. Period. Its impossibly hard not to lash out on the unsuspecting author, so why bother? However, if you think you can guide this poor soul along the wonderful path of writing, be my guest. Look to the first two tips of this column, and break the news as gently as possible (again in a private message of some sort). And whatever you do, dont you dare write This sucks. You dont deserve to be a writer.
* If you have a question, ask!
If you notice something in the story that bothers you, dont be afraid to ask about it. Its not rude at all (unless you make it that way), the author will be glad to answer your question, and you wont have to wonder for the rest of your life why Bobby said what he said to Jane.
If youre the reviewee...
* Thank you, thank you, thank you.
And thank you some more. If the reviewer left a question, answer it. If its an author whose work you like, compliment them.
* Dont get mad, get glad!
Do not (I repeat DO NOT!) get upset and defensive if somebody says anything even vaguely negative about your fic. If they were considerate enough to leave you a nice note about what you could do to improve, please take their advice seriously. Be happy that somebody was kind enough to point these things out to you. However, if they decided to write a horrible, degrading flame or something along that sort, just ignore it. Dont give that awful person the satisfaction of knowing you bothered to read their comment.
* Be realistic.
Its a fact of life - some fandoms are more popular than others. And in no way does the number of reviews you have determine your talent. If you upload a mediocre Harry Potter fic and a poem so beautiful it would make Emily Dickinson cry on the same day, dont be upset when the HP fic ends up with 30 reviews and the poem none. There are just a lot more people out there who read Harry Potter fiction than poetry.
* Dont beg, grovel
or in any other way destroy your pride as an author. (note from me: everything in this
section i believe is crucial as an author)
(note from me: everything in this section i believe is crucial as an author)
You are an author because you like words. You like writing stories, screenplays, poems, whatever. And you like it when people review them. People will not like your writing if:
- you have an uninteresting title and summary. Shallow, yes, but its true. You may be the most gifted author in the world, but nobody will want to read your story if it has a boring (or worse) nonexistent title. Same with summaries. Who wants to read a story if the summary is My first fic. Be nice. R/R.?
- you withhold the story from them. I remember I was once reading a wonderful story that wasnt complete. At the end of the final chapter (so far) the author had written OK, Im not gonna post the next couple chapters until I get at least 10 reviews. Well, she did get her 10 reviews, but they all went along the lines of You are pathetic.
- you arent confident about your talent. You really think people will have sympathy for you if you write I know this sucks but you should read it anyway.? Cmon - you had the courage to publish your fic in the first place. Thats enough for me. People can think what they want.
- you half-ass it. If your excuse for your fic is I wrote it at 2 in the morning on a caffeine high, youve just lost respect in my eyes. Why did you have to post it right then? Couldnt you wait till the next day when you were well rested and had a chance to proofread it?
My final thought...
From what Ive said above, you must think I want everybody to start writing these epic, ten page reviews. Not so. Reviews can help you become a better writer, and we all want that. All I can say now is take this advice wherever you go, and happy reviewing!