Tag Archives: Review vs Feedback

IWSG 79: We are Part of the Publishing Team


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This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.

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CO-HOSTS

 Ronel Janse van Vuuren | J Lenni Dorner | Gwen Gardner | Sandra Cox | Louise – Fundy Blue

OPTIONAL IWSG DAY QUESTION:

Being a writer, when you’re reading someone elses work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other peoples books?

All of us need to remember that all books are a team effort: writer, editors, and artist.

Substandard copy

I’ve closed books because the copy was substandard. In not talking about a couple of mistakes. I’m referring to every page has an error. The story is incoherent. Because the team who should have cleaned it up to a squeaky clean finish, didn’t do their job.

After it’s published, there really isn’t much left to do. But before it gets out there? We should rally and help whoever asks us for honest input.

Yeah, I’m looking at you. 😉

Lots of work doesn’t get published because the critters didn’t bump it up.

What makes the difference?

Us. We are a community, and we are also on the publishing team. We are the critters, the beta readers and critique partners.

I warn everyone I read that I’ll be brutally honest because I know no matter how gentle I try to be, what I’ll say could hurt. I want the writer to be prepared—to strengthen their resolve—before they read a word of what I have to say.

Truth is truth. Being honest is hard. And each writer deserves nothing less.

No one is perfect. We all have weaknesses. For me, it’s mostly homophones and spelling. No editing program can point out all of them. Only my brave critters can save me there. I depend on them more than they know.

Bravery

We all want to improve our craft. That takes bravery. Baring our soul and our words. So when agreeing to give feedback. Remember two things: be honest and be as gentle as possible. We trust you to be there for us and not stroke our egos.

Have you ever been let down by a critter? What did you change the next time around?

Reviews: Why I Say No + Where to Look

A review from me does my friends no good. Why you ask?

Well, I’ve done some reviewing a while back and my reputation came into question. They asked me directly if I was promoting a friend, if I really liked it or was I just trying to bring up their sales.

To be honest. I was promoting a friend and I was trying to improve their sales. So, I stopped doing reviews.

My reputation was on the line.certification-571151_1280

I found another way to help my fellow writers when and if they let me. I share all my writing discoveries with them. I’ll read their work to help them meet their goals. I’ll be as supportive as possible to help them get where they want to go.

But no, I will not review their work. I’m too biased. I love their work before I read it because I truly care about them.

And what happens when I don’t connect or worse the story isn’t for me? I can’t lie. Not for anyone. I’ll be honest. If I have any reason to dislike a story, I’d rather bring it up when the writer can or might want to do something about it.

Sharing negative opinions in public can backfire. Some might question if I’m being petty or trying to get rid of the competition. Anyone who really knows me knows this would never be true.

So who should do reviews? There are so many book bloggers on the net right now you can’t help but hit several doing an internet search. You want reputable reviews? Then look for professional readers and reviewers. Check out their review guidelines and meet them. You will get honest reviews from people that don’t have anything to gain or lose.

Writers are not the only ones looking for book bloggers.

They are the go to place for the reader looking for a new read. The connection is made. The work is done. Use this resource. Visit and comment once in a while. Since most writers do more than their share of reading, you may find more than you bargain for.

bookworm-151738_1280Here Are My Favorite Book Bloggers:

| Jennifer @ Bad Bird Reads | Ali @ My Guilty Obsession | Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer | Laura @ Laura’s Ramblin’s and Reviews | Ruty @ Reading… Dreaming | Sherry @ Sherry Fundin This and That | Terri @ Alexia’s Books and Such… | Adrianna @ She Got Books on Her mind |

We all need reviewers, please add your list of book bloggers to the comments. I encourage all of us to take notes  🙂

Help Your Beta Reader I

The goal of writing every day is to get better. And we do, but we also become accustom to how we phrase our thoughts. In those phrases hide an assumption that what we mean is what the reader understands. A problem for the most talented and experienced writer. This is why all of us, in every skill level, need feedback.

Feedback is constructive information that the writer can choose to use, or not. Anyone that reads can offer feedback. What I mean is, your beta reader doesn’t have to be in the industry. If they know what they like, and are willing to be honest, they qualify.

You can make it easier on both of you by focusing your reader on your weaknesses. (You’ll know them better than your beta does unless they’ve read for you before.) Give them a list of specific questions. And understand that answers/opinions are very subjective. One reader will love something that another might not comment on at all. Or both will hate something that will demand a call to action.

Constructive or not, words can hurt. But before you react, let’s look at it from the beta’s point of view.squirrel-304021_1280_nobg

Imagine your beta reader not enjoying everything they read. They endure the rough patches, examine them, and eventually write their notes. Notes, not just on the questions you’ve offered, but also on things they really, really hated or loved. This will take hours of their time and all because you asked for their opinion.

Don’t like their opinion? Well, then walk it off, bite your tongue, and thank them over and over again. Because thanks to them, you can begin another round of revisions and determine if each comment needs addressing.

What, you say. Not every comment will improve your work. Some comments may take you away from the story core. You need to keep true to your message. So take each comment and consider it carefully before implementing the change. (Unless several readers repeat the comment. Then you have no choice, but to deal with it as they suggest.)

Here’s what happens if your beta cares too much about your feelings and not enough about your work.

Your reader reads until a rough patch and won’t go any further or skips it and continues later on. Not wanting to let you down, the reader goes over the questions and answers in very general terms, glazing over their honest opinions to save your feelings. They rave about the patches they liked.

What exactly can you do with that?

Nothing, so you send it off to a publisher and get a form rejection.

Which one do you prefer?

3 Places to Find Reveiwers

So everyone that is anyone knows that the Portals anthology release is June 5th, what you may not know is that we are looking for reviewers.  If you’d like to sign up here’s the link.

A few weeks back I decided to apply myself and hunt down some reviewers myself. We — the other authors and myself — needed to get the word out. Here is what I did to find reviewers:

Twitter

I went through all my follow/follower listed. I clicked each tweep with a website/blog and looked for their review policies. Then email or filled out a form.

Blogs I knew

I’ve posted cover reveals, spotlights, and blitzs to help promote other’s books. So I felt it wasn’t out of line to ask some of my fellow bloggers. Not many responded but no one was unsupportive. And I did get some sign ups.

Blogs I Visit Occasionally

Here I needed more nerve. Sometimes I had commented on their site, but many a time I didn’t. I checked for a review policy listed in their menu and when I found it I took a long hard look and followed their guidelines.

Avoided

I avoided anyone I didn’t know well and didn’t have a review policy, fellow authors and anyone that had all ready signed up through my publisher. My first concern was being a pest; I didn’t want to go there. The second was just trying to be kind; too many trolls misunderstand the support among writers and think we are all about selling books–good or not. The last group had all ready signed on or opted out.

Review Policies

I found them in the drop down menus and what a blessing they are. They let you know if there are any restrictions like genre. They include guidelines to follow so you can supply exactly what the blogger needs. They also state clearly whether the blogger is open to a review request.

When I found someone right for me, I didn’t feel shy about asking. They knew I wasn’t a spammer which was such a  huge relief.

Not all of them accepted and I was good with it. Rejection is part of the gig.

Positive Response

I can’t say it was an overwhelming response but there were some positives and that meant I succeed in getting more reviews. I’m proud of my work.

Being Grateful

I was completely aware that I was asking for a favor. Don’t misunderstand — I was only asking for an honest review. The favor was asking for someone to take the time out of their lives to read something they weren’t sure of and share their opinion with the world. To all that have signed up — Thank you.

The Latest About The ARCs

They should be sent out any day now. Please be patient with us.

Have I forgotten anything? I’ll take any advice on how to improve my begging, uhm requesting skills. What have you got? 🙂

Aside

I don’t know of any group in the Scribophile realm that is more supportive or helpful than the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pens. It could be the fact that some of the members are published, so there is experience behind … Continue reading