This question was asked by hummingbird35. Well, first it hits hard, then I take a deep breath and analyze what is being criticized. Early on when I first released A Diamond in my Pocket in 2011, I was hit hard by the Grammar Police. I had failed to have my manuscript edited and it was in poor shape. However, the storyline was good enough for a few people to give me good ratings. Instead of pouting that I'd been insulted, (one reviewer referred to my writing as 4th grade level,) I looked to what I could do to improve. When the criticism is something that can be fixed, it's easy to get over the initial blow.
But what about when the criticism is about the storyline or characters? That is a bit harder to deal with. My character Brand was attacked as being someone teens shouldn't be reading about in book two. I posted a blog post on my main blog and addressed the issue. I was amazed at the support that my readers poured out to me. Only a few left comments on the blog, but several sent me emails saying they disagreed with the person and didn't think Brand's behavior was that bad. It is all a matter of perspective, really.
My recent release, The Diamond of Freedom, has some unhappy readers. They dislike the ending. All I can say is as an author, I write the story in my head. Not everyone will like it. I can only be true to myself and write a story I'd like to read. I like stories with twists and turns, deception, and heroes and heroines who will do whatever it takes to win or succeed. Sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better. I like happy endings, but I know as well as everyone else, life doesn't always end happily. However, when I pick up a book or sit down to watch a movie, I like to be entertained and escape the realities of life. I can guarantee that if I wrote a story with the intention of keeping everyone happy that story would be boring! And there would be people who criticized it.
So, to address the original question, how do I handle criticism? I try to keep an open mind and see if there's something about the bad review that I can learn from and improve about myself. Unless it goes against my storyline and is merely someone's opinion, which we are all entitled to. I respect anyone who takes the time out of their day to express their opinion. It means they've invested many hours into reading my book, not to mention money.
Last night I read through some Amazon reviews for other books by Indie authors. Some were simply brutal. Yet, most of the brutal comments held constructive criticism. Some authors went on the defensive while others thanked the reviewers. What I found interesting was how other readers would comment on how impressed they were with the author's responses to bad reviews. Humility goes a long way.
The ending of The Diamond of Freedom leaves the reader wondering many things. Most readers absolutely love it, some do not. While I know where my story is going in book 4, my readers are in the dark. I don't want to give away the plot, but I don't want to lose my readers either. It's a tricky, sticky situation I've put myself in, one that I'm hoping my fans will hang around to find out how everything fits together.