The four star reviews we take with equal enthusiasm, four is close to five, right?. We are still happy and elated. Now we get to the two and three star review area where comments are made knocking some aspect of our story we have worked so hard on. Well the fact is we all think a little differently and reading is all about interpretation and impression.
For example I could write, "Joe was feeling fine on this cool morning. " Someone in a happy mood would probably interpret this as Joe feels good. But someone feeling depressed may feel that Joe is down today, not his usual, he is 'only' fine. Thus to follow on from this, if the previous chapter in the story was sad, you have set the theme for a 'low'. If the previous chapter was joyous, happy, etc, then the average person would take this as a positive. Thus we take two and three star reviews, if we are in a happy mood we shrug them off and are happy, if our mood is down we try to find the problem, and perhaps ever try to fix it. Now, grammar and spelling are one thing. If readers are finding these kinds of errors, then they must be corrected, but sometimes it is hard to understand what the complainant is meaning. Shrug it off, not everyone is going to understand your style of writing or 'get your wit'.
Now we tackle the dreaded one star ratings and scathing reviews. Again if these deal with tangible problems, then fix them. But if these deal with story line issues, such as; "I don't know why Joe was fine, he just woke up to the worst day of his life....." Well, shrug it off and remember what we said earlier about everyone thinking differently. Carefully examine the one star ratings and poor reviews it to see where the readers expectations were not met. How was the person let down? Is there any merit to their comments? Does the book need a change? Does it need a fresh edit? What are they really saying? These are some of the questions that need to be considered.
The hardest reviews to understand are from the folks that only read the free sample portion, then leave scathing remarks or even post one star ratings. The whole point of these sample portions is to see if folks will enjoy the story and writing style. How can someone leave an honest opinion about an entire story base on the first portion? When writers get these I suggest they look at the comments to see how it is the reader become so disenchanted they felt the need to leave remarks based on a preview. Some people even feel that it is duty to give a low rating in order to compensate for good ratings, they can't imagine anyone else enjoying your work. Some people are so threatened by the words they read they are 'forced' into such drastic action in order to balance the universe. Sadly these people do exist. Once a group of like minded people get it into their minds to 'Trash' your work, nothing will sway them. Just hope they don't follow you as an author, ironic isn't it, being so bad as to be followed.
Anyway in closing I will say, enjoy the great reviews, examine the poor ones for truth, then move on and a write the next book. A sure fire way to becoming a better author is to keep writing.
Take it easy mates.