Remember that old rhyme "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me?"
We used to chant it in school when someone insulted us. It never really made us feel better, of course.
And I feel the same way about reviews. I just read one in which the reviewer clearly didn't GET the book. It was Royal Blood, that is supposed to be a comedy spoof on vampires. The reviewer blasts my heroine for being stupid enough to believe in vampires. Well, I guess that reviewer has never been in a castle in Transylvania at night, with no electricity, during a snowstorm. If the situation is right, one starts to believe in anything. I have stayed at various old castles and houses in Europe and trust me, if you hear a strange noise in the night or see something moving that you can't identify, even the most rational of us can begin to believe in ghosts, ghouls, vampires etc.
So why should I feel so upset about one review? It's just one person's opinion, after all, and there are people in the world who actually like Lady Gaga. I don't think most people realize how fragile most writers' egos are. We never believe what we have written is any good until our agents and editors tell us so. As we write we go through pockets of despair in which we tell ourselves that we are writing rubbish and will never write anything of consequence again and all our fans will leave us and the publisher will drop us. Then we get an email from our editor saying "This was fabulous" and we dance around for a few days saying "It's fabulous. I always knew it."
Some writer friends have made a pact never to read reviews. I should learn to follow that advice, but I love reading the glowing kind and I have to say that before online bloggers I always got only good reviews from the traditional sources, PW, Kirkus, Booklist etc. They have all given me starred reviews. RT Reviews always makes me a top pick. So I have to remind myself that online reviewers are not pros. They give a personal rather than an unbiased reaction to what they read.
Sometimes I'm tempted to respond and explain where the reviewer didn't quite understand what I wanted to achieve, but that's not a good idea. And besides, if one person didn't GET my book, then I still have improvements to make in my writing. So it's back to work, I guess.
And tell me--are you ever influenced by reviews? Do you read the Amazon reviews before you buy? I confess to doing that before purchasing something eletronic and if a book got all 1 stars I don't think I'd try it.