This should be of interest to all writers, but non-fiction writers in particular. I’ve had this happen to me. Sometimes the reader has been right. Sometimes (thankfully, most of the time) I’ve been right.
My process is simple:
- I investigate the claim.
- If I’m wrong, I fix my copy and repost. Then I let the reader know, the correction has been made and thank him or her.
- If I’m right, I let the person know that I looked into their claim, and I still support the original version. I also send them any supporting information about it. I then thank them.
- If they continue to insist I’m wrong, then I end the conversation. This has only happened to me when the claim of being wrong is about someone’s opinion versus my opinion. In the past, I have tried to talk it through with the person with no success. It has led to one person leaving a one-star review on one of my books. I can’t do anything about that but move forward. In another case, someone got really belligerent on a blog, so I just deleted their comments.
I know I’m not right all the time, and I’m willing to consider making corrections, but in the end, I make the decision whether to make the change or not. Whichever way I go, I make sure that I support my position.
Here’s another writer’s view on the subject. I meant to simply post this, but then being a writer, I decided to weigh in with my experience.