It's a lot of work and stress to put yourself out there and submit your novel to reviewers. Especially knowing you may never hear from any of the reviewers. You may wonder, why don't I hear back? Well, I currently have around 300 requests for reviews and more are sent to me every day. I only read about one book every two weeks at night before I go to bed. That's the only time I have to read. So I have to be really, really picky about which ones I choose.
My first contact is normally the email I get requesting a review. I will judge you through this email. Did you give me all the information I asked for? I'm not going to search for information on you or your book. If I have to work I am probably going to skip you. Please make sure all the info I ask for is there.
Make sure you have read a few of my reviews so you know what your getting yourself into. I'm pretty hard sometimes because at this point I keep seeing the same stuff over and over and over and over and over again. Find out through my reviews if I'll even be interested in your book or not. Don't send me your love triangles! Twilight is long over with, but I still keep getting love triangles.
Next I click the link to see the book on amazon or where ever it is available. I want to see the cover and I want to see how many reviews the book already has. If the cover looks bad then I may not consider reviewing the book. It's fine to make your own book cover, but it better look good. I make my own, but i also know how to use Photoshop. If the book already has hundreds of reviews I might not consider it unless the description sounds really good to me and makes me want to read it. I want to help people who need it more, but I'm not going to pass up a good one either.
If it is available anywhere, I will read the first chapter. If the writing is bad or I don't like the style, or there are a lot of grammar issues, I will stop reading and move on. If I'm confused in any way or a ton of characters are being introduced at once and I can't keep track, or the first chapter is all exposition, I will stop reading and move on. If something about the first chapter interests me or for some reason I like the main character, then I will normally select that book to review.
It's rare for me to not finish a book I decided on, but once in a while I do stop if the book is just really going down hill for me. When this happens I stop reading and I don't review it. I don't want to hurt authors. I am an author and I want to help authors promote their work, not ruin it and make people not want to read it. I normally contact the author and let them know what I thought privately. What they do with that information is up to them.
Even if I do review your book low, I'm only one reader who may not be the right reader for your book. I'd only worry if you get multiple people with the same issues. Then there really is something wrong with your book or you have completely targeted the wrong crowd. My low review will help the right readers find your book.