|The alien sex bot's skin was cobalt, not azure! OMFG!!!|
A. Only when the reviewer gets something factually wrong. So wrong, that it causes your head to explode and your heart to wither inside your chest. Yes, so incredibly horribly wrong is this fact that the very wrongness of it threatens the fabric of the known universe (wherein the very fabric of the known universe = your book).
B. Only when the review takes on the overtones of a petulant toddler throwing a tantrum due to being interrupted midway through their stunning rendition of Honey Boo Boo’s greatest hits.
D. Only when your Mother eventually reads it, figures out the kind of smut you’re writing and outs you to everyone, including your fourth grade English teacher who always knew you’d come to no good. Damn you, Mother!
P.S. Though I guess that also depends on what kind of relationship you have with your mother.
Yes, it’s the truth. Or what I perceive to be the truth and since this is my blog, there you have it. If the reviewer is a review site/book blogger you might like to send them a polite note thanking them for taking the time to read and review your work, but that is it. Because they are providing a service and it’s nice that they picked up your book and gave it the time of day in the first place. And because manners. Though if they compared it to a pile of rotting remains, saying nothing is fine too.
A review is someone’s opinion. Nothing more, nothing less. It is not the final word on your literary masterpiece extolling the thrilling adventures of Marvin the Masochist Hedgehog. It is just one person's word. A lot of people might listen to that one person and judge MtMH accordingly, but there is nothing you can do about that. Suck it up. That’s the joy of being a writer (wherein joy = debilitating pain). Once you fling your baby book out into the world, it is out of your hands. Do your blog visits, promo your little heart out, but accept that you cannot control the audience’s reaction. Unless technology has come so far that tiny mind control robots are real; in which case I’d like to order a box, please.
So even when the review takes issue with Marvin's relationship with Bob, and there is NO DAMN BOB IN THE ENTIRE DAMN BOOK, it's best not to comment. It might seem unfair, but that's the way it is. The social norm or expectation that has evolved is that writers shouldn't respond. Because the fact is, sites like Shelfari and Goodreads are not there for authors. They're there for readers. Once you publish, for better or worse, you do now belong to the other camp. Sucky, because you probably started writing due to your overwhelming love of reading. I know.
Had a review that hurt you bad? God gave us vodka to deal with just such situations. Use it wisely. I quite enjoy a few rounds of the shoot-em-up Overkill: House of the Dead when things get me down.Or you could go for a walk. Get out of your dingy little office and away from your computer for a while. Cleanse your aura. Consider not looking at reviews at all. Or at least, not until a friend has cast an eye over it to give due warning.
Anyway, to sum up: you're never going to please everyone. Embrace this fact and hold it dear to your heart. Live by it. There's much that can be learnt from feedback, sure. But don't let it crush you. And most important of all, get busy writing your next book.