Anathema has been out for a month, reviews are beginning to trickle in. Do I read them? Of course! Any writer who tells you they don't read reviews is lying. I've had some five star reviews from family & friends. Just a couple, most of the people I know aren't into reviewing books on the web.
What I'm really interested in are the reviews by people I don't know. Those are the readers I want to reach and their opinions are important to me - good or bad.
I've received a few great reviews, that for me, hit my intentions for Anathema right on the nose. It was as if I'd told them exactly what I wanted to achieve with the book and they wrote the review to reflect that. That's one aspect of writing I love - conveying a particular feeling to the reader. I want to entertain too, and if I can do both I'm thrilled.
Then I saw this morning I received a one-star review (ouch!) that lamented the speed of my book. Everything happened too fast. S/he felt I hadn't given relationships time to develop. That's fair. When I read, I want to be entertained. I want action. I want to move the story along. I have been known to skip pages in books where all characters do is wax on and on about their love for each other. Boring. Let's blow something up instead. Maybe even one of those schmoopy characters!
As a former bookseller, I always made recommendations based on what the reader loves. So, if you love long, drawn-out books with pages and pages and pages of character development, don't read Anathema. If you like a fast-paced novel with magic, romance, and mystery, then I suggest you give Anathema a try. It's that simple.