Many writers (and actors, and other artists) claim never to read reviews of their work. The conventional wisdom is that most of them are lying, but I understand the impulse not to read them. Negative reviews can spoil your day, and positive ones can make you insufferable.
I read my reviews. On Amazon or Goodreads, I’ll hit “like” on both the positive ones and on the middlin’ or negative ones that include some intelligent or constructive remark.
On personal websites or forums, I’ll sometimes drop a comment on those same positive or constructive reviews, but I limit myself to “thanks” and factual answers to questions or criticism. For instance, if someone says, “I hate that Radovan and Jeggare spend most of this book apart,” I might reply, “Then you might like Queen of Thorns better, since they’re together almost all the time.” For the folks who actually prefer the boys to follow separate stories, I can suggest Master of Devils or about half of Prince of Wolves, so that one works out either way.
What I never want to do is to take issue with someone’s opinion or to suggest that he or she has missed the point, because I’ve seen what happens to the writers who make that mistake. It’s your opinion, and you’re entitled to it. And if you deliver that opinion in a less than courteous manner, my remark to that effect probably won’t change your mind.
That said, I’ve had some lovely exchanges with readers who first came to my attention because of reviews or forum comments. (And, yes, I’ve had to decline to read someone’s manuscript or perform similar favors a few times, but no one has been a jerk about the “no” so far.) And while I can’t say that any one opinion has made me change the way I write, an accumulation of similar opinions has sometimes encouraged me to try something different or to do something I’d only considered before. For instance, the strong positive response to the third POV character in Master of Devils gave me the courage to try it with another third POV character in King of Chaos. Likewise, while we’d considered but ultimately didn’t label the chapters “Radovan” and “Varian” in Prince of Wolves, enough people mentioned that would be helpful that we began to do it by Queen of Thorns.
That preamble got a bit out of hand, so cutting to the question: Under what conditions, if ever, do you think writers should response to reviews of their work? Is there a difference between responding to a reader’s review and a critic’s review? Should writers correct factual errors in reviews? Should they suggest that the reviewer would like a different title of their work based on the review?