Please Help… I Need Some Advice
Honestly, I’m looking for some advice. For those of you who are fans of my writing, I thank you and am very grateful. I feel blessed to have you on board.
And for those of you who have offered constructive critique - misspelled words or an error here and there- I doubly thank you. Your efforts have strengthened my storytelling.
But what is an author to do when someone writes in a review something that they are entirely wrong about? That is were I need advice.
Case in point. In a recent review of The First Pharaoh, the reviewer makes some solid, critical points. Hey, I accept that. No book, no matter how well written, is for everyone. But then the reviewer goes on to say that I made a historical error in describing King Narmer’s wife’s negative reaction to him taking a Second Wife. It was common practice back then, she said in her review, and even multiple concubines was common practice, so the Queen’s reaction was overboard and historically inaccurate.
Excuse me? This reviewer is dead wrong! What she is describing is an Ancient Egypt far later than Narmer’s time. The fact is that we know precious little about the First Dynasty and we have absolutely no reason to believe that even a Second Wife was a common occurrence at that time, let alone concubines servicing the King. This is backed by original source materials by such current notable Egyptologists as Dr. Toby Wilkinson of Cambridge University and Dr. Gunther Dryer of the German Archaeological Institute, both specialists in the earliest Dynasties and both my mentors for the historical accuracy of my books.
Egypt was not a static culture and many of their traditions developed slowly over time. While once adopted they were slow to change, but they did, in fact, change. The difficulty arises when people take a static snapshot of Ancient Egypt, mostly because their reading focuses on the later Dynasties, but then erroneously extrapolate that knowledge to the entire 3,000-plus year span of Dynastic rule.
So my questions to you readers go like this:
How do you feel an author should respond to such errors by a reviewer? Do I keep silent or respond in print? Assuming my tone is respectful and not argumentative, does responding accomplish anything? Does it make the author look petty and/or defensive?
Like I said at the top, I would sincerely appreciate your input. How should an author respond, if at all? And, thanks in advance.