I was on the Ellora's Cave chat loop and multi-published, NY Times and USA Today best selling author Allyson James (who also writes as Jennifer Ashley and Ashley Gardner) made some really great comments about how reviews, as heart-breaking or as exhilarating as they may be for us as authors, actually have little impact on sales for that book. I asked Allyson if I could share her comments with you here and she agreed!
"I've been around the publishing block several times now and have had every reader rating from 5 (this is the best book ever and all other books should cease to be) to a 1 (I took it back to the bookstore and demanded an apology).What do you guys think about reviews - reader reviews, official reviews? Do they make a difference on your decision to read something, or buy something? Authors, do reviews make a difference in your sales?
"I've had people rip me apart for too much heat, not enough heat (usually about the same book), too much plot/not enough plot (again, same book), dialog, character, word choice, cover model, lettering on the cover, driving distance, you name it. I once had a reader give me a 1-star because my couple wasn't white. I've been trashed on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, and Twitter; and have been trashed by RT, Publisher's Weekly, and others, sometimes weeks before the book comes out.
"The point is that having bad reviews hasn't marred my overall career. I've had terrific sales on books that got bad reviews, plus terrific reviews and awards on books that tanked. Many, many bestselling authors out there have had the same experience.
"There are plenty of nasty things that can totally ruin your career (publishers closing, booksellers severely cutting the number of books they carry, readers unable to find your books, pirating, and many, many other uncontrollable factors--isn't that nice to know?), that it’s kind of futile to stress about reviews, good or bad. I know it's hard, but please, please don't let worry over your reviews stop you from writing.
Allyson (been kicked around) James