First of all, I don't read reviews unless they're sent to me. I adore my readers and its because of you that I was able to quit my job last October and become a writer full time. But tracking down reviews when there are so many places to post them can become tiresome very quickly. That's why I love receiving emails from you. There were so many questions when Almost Paradise came out last June about where the pack was going and what was left unexplained that a lot of that was put into the next book. I cried with a reader as they told me how much Marked by Grief meant to them after losing someone close because they could relate to Kit's suffering and how he felt like the world just kept going even though his had shattered. Those moments are magical.
But every single author everywhere in the world will have a negative review someday. Even those bestsellers out there that make millions of dollars have people that could not finish their books. There are a few like that for me and my best friend is ecstatic about one author and I do not see what she sees in this person's writing. That's fine. At least we're all still reading.
But reviews are opinions and everyone is allowed to have them. I review books on my blog and sometimes I don't connect with a book and that's perfectly fine. I had someone I really respect tell me that they couldn't get into something that I wrote and that's great feedback. They had reasons and I listened and will be using that information to help make the second book better.
For me reviews fall into three categories- glowing, wonderful reviews and then fair but critical reviews followed by complete nonsense.
The first is wonderful when you need a pick me up. Bookmark those for when you're having a bad day. Instant happy points right there. Fair but critical ones help construct the next book or help you grow as a writer. When you're working reflect back on those to see what you could have improved. Not everything that a reviewer says is right but you'll find the pieces that make sense. Maybe your pronouns were confusing. Maybe you rambled. These are things you can work on to make your writing better the next time around.
The final reviews, the ones that rage on or personally attack you or your characters- these have to be ignored. Look for multiple exclamation points or whole sentences that are capitalized as if the person is screaming at you and then click the back button. Just walk away because you can't reason with these people and you shouldn't try to defend your writing against a reviewer anyway. It's bad form and usually backfires against the author.
Those aren't reviews, they are opinions. Try not to let them affect you, or if this works- look at a well known author's reviews and click on their one star ratings to read them. You'll see just as much hate directed at them as there is at you. It helps put things in perspective. There will always be people that try to bring you or your writing down or try to make you feel less than. Sometimes for no other reason than because you out sold their favorite author or because you won an award and they didn't.
The bottom line though is that reviews are for readers, not for us. The publisher you went with took a chance on your book and believed in it enough to publish it. That's your validation. If you can ignore the painful reviews to find the gems then use that to fuel your next book but don't rely on your reviews to tell you if you're a good author or not. It simply does not work.
Hope I helped. Hugs and now I'm off to go do more edits from my fantastic editor at Extasy and then get writing on