I saw a post earlier on Facebook put up by KM Weiland that said "Only a true author will realize the sheer terror of the slight pause that follows the words: 'So I just read your book...'". Just seeing those words mad emu stomach flipflop. It is true. Very little can prepare you for what may come next. That little breath between the announcement and the following opinion lasts a lifetime for person waiting to hear the verdict.
When we submit to agents or publishers we are prepared for the potential rejection, at least we should be. When we prepare for publishing and send the manuscript out to beta readers we know that there is a decent chance they will find typos or editing errors we need to correct. After all that is what they are there for, catch editing mistakes and plot holes so we may fix them before they go off to our official editor. No matter what we know they will have comments. That moment of panic comes from someone that has read the book after it is published and any control if out of our hands.
I am about to release my fourth book, second in my charity series, as well as working on the beta reading / editing stage for a couple others but it never gets easier to hear those words. There is the elation of knowing someone was interested in your work, mixed simultaneously with the full body, heart stopping dread of the possibility that they hated it. Regardless of the decision we must respect their opinion.
That is one of the most difficult things I have ever had to learn. A review is an opinion, nothing more. Some will like what you do and some will not. A bad review is not the end of the world though it can certainly feel that way at the beginning. The burning slap to the face takes some time to heal but by taking it in, objectively looking for any constructive criticism that may help you going forward and then moving on you can thicken your skin and use the experience to more deeply appreciate the good reviews.
There will always be those moments when you hear the words, "So I just read your book..." and the world will stop until you hear what follows. That is going to happen as long as you continue to put out your work for the public to read. With each book we grow and with every day of practice we improve. Take the negative as a way to boost that growth and celebrate the accomplishments and positivity. We write because we love it, it is a part of us. Let it all in and hold on to the joy that comes with the experience.