As an author I love reviews. I go out of the way to get them on my books, sending out ARCs before book release so readers get a chance to read and review my book as soon as possible after release ... that said, I sometimes see other authors letting reviews influence their writing choices, and this post is about why this isn't ideal.
Don't get me wrong. You're writing for your readers. You want to make them happy, and if all a book's reviews (or the majority) are clearly showing that it isn't connecting with your audience, it's time to evaluate who you are writing for and why you are writing because you aren't reaching them ...
That said, authors often give higher weight to the negative voices, and so much about what people like/dislike about books is simply taste. Sure, the reader may think they know what makes a book good or bad "objectively" but chances are someone somewhere disagrees with them.
If you don't believe me, let's play "why you can't depend on reviews to validate you as an author" ... also known as, "These review quotes are from the same book ..."
(note, I pulled these from my own reviews because I knew exactly where to find quotes to prove my point. I'm not saying either of the disagreeing reviewers is wrong. My point is IT'S ALL TASTE and there's no point in getting fussed over it.)
So ... here's why if you get a negative review that makes you want to quit, you shouldn't ...
I love that there are different types of females, like a married women and kids and also a warrior female.
I struggled to connect with the all-male cast.
And Alk, oh that snarky salamander; he makes the book
The fire salamander Alk is a tough character to love and he was the reason for my hesitancy.
Personally, I would have liked more depth to the characters - all of them
The characters. They were so well developed and so multi-faceted.
The magic system could use a little more explanation and/or development.
I really loved the way that magic works in this story — it was a fascinating, creative blend of traditional magical spells and computer programming!
Powerful, clever, beautiful and virtuous Rill skillfully holds her own amidst two dynamic male heroes.
Main thing I would change is to make his sister (Rill) a tad bit stronger there are times she comes out like a door mat and not because she feels she has to keep the peace between her brother and father
This is just a quick sampling based on my own books and ones that stuck out to me.
So yeah, it's all opinion. Does that mean you can dismiss any criticism of your book? No, but it means you have to choose carefully which voices to listen to, and chances are those voices aren't the anonymous reader leaving their take on Amazon or Goodreads. Find betas and editors you trust, who like your genre, who get what you are trying to do and are actively trying to make it better rather than tear it down ...
and if someone doesn't like something in your book, that's fine. No book is universally loved, and there's nothing wrong with not liking a book ... or liking it, so long as we don't try to make others feel bad for having a different opinion thane we do.