Let’s imagine this situation.
You’ve sent your work in progress to a beta reader or editor. You’ve put it to the back of your mind until you get the dreaded notification. Your work’s back.
Instead of opening it right away you avoid it like the plague, imagining all sorts of hideous things. You distract yourself as best you can when a voice starts to nag you to look at it.
‘It might not be so bad.’
‘It could be really positive.’
With a cup of coffee (or tea, whichever you prefer) you sit down to open the email.
I still do this now, even though I’ve been asking for feedback for years. I’ve only had a couple of really bad critiques of which I’m thankful for.
But how do you handle receiving feedback?
Here are a few tips:
1. Say Thanks.
Whether the outcome is positive or negative say thank you. This person has taken the time to read your work. That’s what I always remember. Even if I disagree I find it’s common courtesy.
2. Don’t Argue.
This can make you come across as unapproachable. You don’t need to defend your work to said person because you know where you’re coming from. Explain if there’s confusion, but don’t tell them that their wrong or stupid for not seeing what you see.
3. Take Time To Evaluate Each Point.
There’s no denying that feedback can make a book better. However, it’s important to remember that a person’s feedback is just an opinion. You can agree or disagree. If the person says that they found the pacing slow re read it and check. If a comment is repeated, then it’s important to pay attention to that as well.
4. Ask What They Would Change Or Do Differently
It’s always good to have a second opinion. Sometimes the person giving you feedback will come up with an idea that intrigues you to experiment. It can also draw attention to an area that you never thought about doing differently.
5. Update The Person Giving You Feedback.
This is only an option. I do this if someone asks me to or if I find that a part of their criticism was integral to my story improving.
These are just some of the things I go by when I receive feedback.
I hope they are of use to you.
Until next week,
Thanks to Dariusz Sankowski for the image via Unsplash.com.