I am a self-published author (through Createspace) of six novels. In Search of Grace, Dragan’s Redemption, Aaron's Revenge, The Legacy, Kelly and the Angel, The Turning Point. I am no longer considered a newbie to the publishing world and I am happy to say that I have already exceeded my personal expectations in sales and am extremely happy where I am to date as an author.
I know that other self-published authors have made the decision to pay to have reviews written in an attempt to boost sales. I personally choose not to go that route even though I find the idea intriguing from a marketing standpoint.
How I Grew Up In Regards To My Reviews
I received a review from someone (they gave me 2 stars) that made absolutely no sense. (I have had one star reviews that didn't bother me like this one) This persons wording was not just about my writing but about me. This review bothered me for awhile, because it seemed "personal". An author friend told me that it felt personal because it was and more than likely it was someone that knows me and does not like me. This was their cheap way of hurting me. I pondered this a long time and finally had to agree. The 'reviewer' had no other reviews on any other book, only mine. This review made me realize that everyone has an opinion and not everyone is going to like my work, or me for that matter. I also realized that I am okay with that and will not allow someones opinion to dissuade me from writing. (Especially since I am getting paid for writing.) I also realized I need to quickly get a thick skin. There are readers out there that can be cruel just to be cruel. Another reviewer, in fact, had done many reviews, and every book she read, it was given no higher than 2 out of 5 stars. Instead of taking it personally, I started to wonder about the person that did the reading and whether or not any book would meet higher than a 2 star for this person.
So, to answer the question as to whether or not you should read the reviews? My answer is yes and no. For the yes side, it is a chance to connect with what some of my readers are thinking. There are some readers that actually have given great advise and encouragement and my writing style has changed because of their reviews and thoughtful advise, These are the reviews I am grateful for. They are the ones that like the storyline, and take into consideration that the author (such as myself) is doing it ALL, from editing to marketing to the actual writing. They are honest yet their ratings are kind. I like kind.
For the no side. If you, as an author, are going to live or die by a review and you could possibly stop writing because of a bad one.....then STAY AWAY from the comment/review sections.
Many of us write because it is as natural as breathing and to be without a pending story is a slow painful death into oblivion. There is no review on this planet that would stop me from writing - I hope you feel the same.