Monday, June 21, 2010

How I deal with feedback

I know it's a big deal to get someone else to read my work and give me feedback on it. I value those individuals very highly, and I KNOW that I wouldn't be able to make my books what they need to be without their critiques. But there's more to getting and using feedback than just looking over my beta readers' notes.

First I have to make sure that I'm comfortable with the story. After all, I don't want to send out a book that more than likely undergo serious changes. Any improvements that I can make on my own are gotten out of the way before I seek help. This is also important because most of the people who do the critiquing don't have a lot of free time, so their probably only going to have the time to read through it once. I never want to waste their time and mine by giving them a version of the story that will provide useless notes.

When my critiquing friends are doing their work, I try to take time off... you know, play some video games, read a book or two, send out query letters... that kind of stuff.

Then I get the feedback notes! My first reaction (after biting back untrue comments about the reader's parentage) is to keep the notes in my e-mail folder until I actually sit down to edit. I'll glance over the notes now and then, but I like to tackle them one at a time, focusing on the areas the notes point out as problematic. I go through each one in order (I'm a little OCD that way), and sometimes I make several passes at each section to make sure I get it right.

I follow all of that up with my own read-through, making more edits as I go, and if I'm happy with the book, I start querying. Otherwise, I find more people willing to read through and give me more critique notes...and repeat the process.


  1. Your process is the same as mine. I have all your comments (and my 1 other reader's) in an email folder labeled "SOTS Critique" just waiting to be reviewed and noted.

    I have to admit, I do read them as they come in (you know this because I reply some of the time), but I don't take any action until I sit down to edit the project as a whole.

    Editing is probably the only part of the writing process where I have no choice but to be organized. Maybe that's why I dislike it so much?

  2. This is a great approach and one I will use as well. I often print the critique out and once I feel it's addressed, I throw it away. Good luck on your edits.