Last time, we talked about how self-awareness can help you edit your manuscript and get it to the best version possible.  Today, we’ll explore how to use self-awareness when receiving feedback from others on your work.

Let’s get started.

Feedback: Self-Aware, Not Self-Absorbed

Everyone needs feedback on their writing.  It doesn’t matter what it is; if you intend to publish it, you’ll want to take the time to have another person – or other people – read it and get their honest feedback about the work.

Being a self-aware writer is knowing that there are areas of the writing process that are your strengths.  Still, others are weaknesses that you need to improve upon.  Getting feedback from others can help you pinpoint these weak areas so you can improve them before you send the manuscript out to the next reader.

These initial readers should be people you know and trust who will be honest with you about any problems they find.  This is where being a self-aware writer comes in handy.  You want to make it clear to the reader that you want them to be truthful with you about anything they find that needs work.  You can’t make it better if all they do is shower you with false praise.

You’ve given them the manuscript for a reason, and you want to make sure that what you need from them is what you get.  

Feedback: Know What You Want

Two words: BE SPECIFIC.  “Let me know if you like it or not” is not a good way to get strong feedback.  Before you send your manuscript off to anyone, think of aspects you want them to focus on and look for.  This will ensure they stay engaged since you’ve given them a task related to the book.

Some questions you could pose to your reader include:

  • Is the main character’s story arc strong enough?  
  • Does the story keep them engaged?  
  • Is there any place during the story where the energy dies or the pacing slows?  
  • Were there any parts that were confusing or hard to understand?  
  • Did any of the subplots cause you to lose interest?  
  • Was the villain’s motivation strong enough?  
  • Did the conflict keep you invested?

Then, when you meet with them after they’re done, they have clear and specific answers that will help you improve the manuscript going forward.  

Feedback: Know What You Don’t Want

This is where picking the right people to read for you is key.  You should ask people who will actually READ the manuscript and provide you with the feedback you need.  There’s nothing more frustrating than asking someone to read your manuscript only to have them say they haven’t even started it a month after you sent it to them.

You also want to do all you can to get detailed information from your reader.  “It was good,” “I didn’t like it,” or “It wasn’t my type of book” are not helpful feedback statements.  This is why giving your readers clear direction can make a huge difference as you work to make changes and improvements to the next draft.

Next Time…

The feedback was good, and it allowed you to make changes to your manuscript that have made it even stronger than it was before.  You’re feeling confident…maybe even a little cocky about yourself as a writer.  But will that inflated ego hurt you in the long run?

Happy Writing, and I’ll see you next time!

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