Wednesday, 7 December 2011

In Fear of Feedback

When we send our works of art out into the world we do it in the hope that everyone will love what we’ve slaved over.  But that’s not terribly realistic is it?  We do need feedback for lots of reasons.  It can help us to make our work better, as although it’s often hard to receive criticism, if it’s well thought out, it can really help you to improve your work.

Good feedback is lovely, and is worthy of celebration if it comes from a trusted source.  If it comes from your mum, or another devoted fan it’s still nice, but not quite so useful.

Bad feedback makes you feel horrible.  Rule one – do not call the person an ignorant numpty, even if you think they are.  Shout and scream in private, but then calm down and try to see if there’s anything that rings true about the negative criticism that you can then use to make your work better.    

Conflicting feedback when one person says they really like the death scene in chapter four, but another person says you can’t possibly keep that death scene in chapter four.  Hurrah, you’ve got the best of both worlds here.  Choose which opinion you trust most and act accordingly.  Everyone has opinions, and you need to decide if what they’re saying is useful, or if it’s just something that’s peculiar to them.

Structural feedback, when people criticize spelling, grammar, or technical details about the presentation of your work is really valuable.  Thank them and make corrections immediately.

Golden Rule:  Don’t let it get to you.  How important is the person who has given you feedback?  Are they in a position to help or hinder your work?  Let’s say Richard & Judy announce on national telly that your book is the biggest pile of tosh they’ve ever seen.  Well at least they’ve noticed you, and let’s face it your sales would probably rocket!  

Just to make you feel better, the review below is for George Orwell’s 1984
‘Give me a break. The writing was lousy, the concepts and ideas were questionable’.

Amazon Reviews.  Yes if we’re on there we need them, but if your book is clearly described, and if you offer a ‘try before you buy’ then the people reading your book should already be on your side.  So be brave, ask for feedback and use it well!

If you've read my book 'Brighton Sucks' I'd really love to hear what you think, and if you really like it I truly value your opinion and would really appreciate a review on Amazon.

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