Today, I am shamelessly piggybacking on Kristi Charish's article about how authors AND reviewers navigate the Temple of Bad Reviews. I strongly recommend you all read it at some point because it's a balanced commentary reflecting both sides of the coin.
I know this topic has been beaten to death, and just like zombies and immortal, otherworldly beings, the case that is Author & Street Team v. Reader/Blogger refuses to die down. As book bloggers, I think we're closer to the flame than the average reader because we're in the frontline and our voices are "louder" to some degree. As we are applauded for well-written reviews, we also take the most heat when we rate a book 3 stars or below. Here's where KC's article comes in. She eloquently speaks from both the standpoints of author and reviewer:
Let me ask you this: would you rather have an honest review even if that means it's a 3 or below, or a BS 4 or 5 because you don't want your star rating to suffer? To remind you of the standard review disclaimer: Copy recieved for free in exchange for an honest review. By giving me your book, you've also given me permission to rate and review your work based on my experience with it.
I for one have encountered at least one author who took my review personally, and if memory serves, I even gave it a good rating with a few critiques because there were aspects that didn't work for me (as a side-note, you know who you are, Dear Author). My first reaction was sadness, then when that eased, I got pissed off. I can only speak for myself, but when I end up disliking a book, more often than not, it's a case of it's not you, it's me followed by a list of why it didn't work for me.
The way I see it, I'm just ONE reader and even though I have a certain degree of influence, I don't make decisions for others. They can make their own judgments based on the package as a whole (blurb, cover art, average star ratings, and other reviews). So if you're novel is as strong as you believe it is, then my high/low rating shouldn't devastate your ranking and sales.
Now if your book isn't on fire then I suggest you look at that same package. Do you have enough reviews? Are those reviews curated? What's the ratio between reviews from sales versus those from review requests and book tours? From a customer stand-point, it looks dubious if you have less than 100 ratings and it's mostly 4s and 5s from people who didn't purchase your book.
In closing, allow me to reiterate that Talk Supe is a personal blog, therefore my reviews are subjective. My responsibility as a professional reader ends on reviewing your book. The rest are fringe benefits including (but not limited to) gushing about it in social media and virtually forcing it down my follower's throats (sorry guys!). Your star rating, book sales and reputation is not part of my job description, so if I end up disliking your work and its not ranking high, it's just pure coincidence. Don't take it personal.