Leaving Feedback

So, today against my better judgment, I hopped on over to Wattpad to read some books. Mind you I’m really picky about what I read, so I choose a book that looked promising.

As I was reading the story, I saw a lot of things that could be improved. My thinking was, “Oh, I’ll leave feedback to help out a fellow author.” My feedback, always, and I mean always, mentions what the author does well and what I feel they can improve upon.

To make a long story short, I was wrong. Not even 15 minutes later the author PMed me and said the following:

 One of my biggest pet peeves are people who go around and tell others what’s wrong with their book. I don’t do that, because I know I’m not perfect in my writing and because. Like. It’s Wattpad. This work hasn’t been edited and I’m sure my editor will catch all mistakes. But thanks.

Needless to say, this was me:

9GA9g

(I know the picture is funny, but seriously, this is how I felt inside.)

To say the least, I was shocked! I’ve left feedback on many stories, and I’ve never had a writer say this to me before. I wasn’t pointing out improvements to be mean, but she felt the need to write this to me. I responded to her by saying you could have simply told me you don’t want feedback. At that moment, I remembered how I acted when people left me feedback. I was a brat, and a whiner, and I don’t blame other authors who got sick of me. Since I’m on the receiving end and handle feedback so much better now, I just shrugged my shoulders and said meh.

I tend to forget a lot of writers just want to be told their story is awesome, and that’s it. A true writer will want feedback, and if the feedback isn’t what the author wanted to hear, they know not to attack the person who was genuinely trying to help them.

Sadly, this behavior is very common among popular writers on Wattpad. Stupid me for thinking I found an author who was different.

Feedback hurts, I know it does, but we need it to improve. I just hope this author learns the same lessons I did.

To my fellow writers, did you ever have someone attack you over feedback?

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26 thoughts on “Leaving Feedback

  1. That’s awful how dome people can’t handle constructive criticism. It’s there for a reason. You can’t improve very well without it. I’ve seen it in the past, but I’ve never taken offense, thinking it was meant to be hurtful or an attack on me. Of course, I’ve had my share of haters in the past, but they were looking for trouble.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well said! I also try to give a balanced review when I’m providing feedback. I generally tell the writer what they did well and what I feel still needs work. However, I’ve learned to only give feedback when asked.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can never get enough feedback. I hate it. I want feedback haha.

    But honestly, anybody who doesn’t accept feedback from their consumer is like Time Warner Cable. Shouldn’t be in the business they’re in.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I usually don’t leave feedback for people, unless they specifically seek me out and ask for it. However, in a format like Wattpad where people are asking openly for it – what can you do?

    One method of providing feedback I use (for clients and friends) is something I call sandwiching. When I find an issue, especially in the way of content, I usually offer advice in this way: First, I explain what my issue was. I don’t say it’s wrong, I explain why the section didn’t work for me (i.e. flow, strange dialogue, context, etc). Then I offer some examples of other authors who have used what they are doing successfully (this requires a pretty decent backlog of information in your brain housing unit).

    I say something like, “Have you considered trying x, y, or z? This author did x, y, and z.” Then I offer a few solutions.

    When it comes to writing, it’s important to understand (and I think you do) that there is no ONE solution to a perceived problem. There are many. By offering feedback backed by examples, and tempered with solutions. You are aren’t saying – this is wrong, this is why this is wrong, change it to this. You are offering your feelings, providing education, and leaving the decision making process up to them.

    This method works for me because the writer is left holding the reigns. I’m not snatching the steering wheel from them, I’m just acting like a GPS. “Next turn in 50 feet.” They can listen to my advice, or they can “Make U turn at your soonest convenience.”

    Honestly, this is a minefield for anyone who ventures into it. I’ve had people lose their minds when I give them honest, kind, feedback in the manner I just offered. Truth be told, you hit it on the head when you said, “…a lot of writers just want to be told their story is awesome, and that’s it.”

    That’s fine for Wattpad, but as a contracted copy-editor, and you’ve been hired to help, it can be a rather large pothole to drive through. Great post today! This is a problem area most of us have dealt with in the past, and will certainly encounter in the future.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Exactly! Wattpad is a website with a comment system; so naturally, people are going to leave feedback as they read the story. However, this writer is so popular she thought I was purposely attacking her. I kindly told the writer I don’t have time to go around and attack other writers. After reading my messages, she understood I wasn’t being malicious. Either way, she turned me from reading her story.

      I agree with you! And that’s a great method for providing feedback. I really do like the way you think, and I’m sure you’ll do well when you publish your book. I’ve met a lot of writers that seem to be stuck up and look down at other people, but I’m fortunate I haven’t experienced that on WordPress.

      I like how you said you try to steer them in a different direction. Sadly, a lot of writers don’t like to be steered.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, what a terrible experience!

    I only leave constructive criticism on stories by my writing buddies or in the con-crit section of the writing forum I participate in. Everything, I just say what I liked about the story–sadly, unless you know the person, it’s safer that way.

    Meanwhile, I try to be gracious and genuinely thankful when I receive con-crit. Pinky swear!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I find if the authoreader says thy don’t want people correcting or providing constructive feedback, I drop the books, no matter how good or promising it is.

    If you need some good reads/recommendations on wattpad I have some recommendations for mostly werewolf and fantasy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I encourage feedback, whether negative or positive. And I’m not going to lie, the negative feedback/criticism does hurt sometimes, but since I wanna improve my writing skills, I think about the bigger picture and take it with a smile. But yes, I have come across writers who get defensive about their work and I just shrug and leave. If they don’t want feedback, then fine.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. In my opinion, being able to take feedback – even constructive criticism – is a learning process. I spent most of my life taking personal offence to even the most well-intended feedback to my writing. It wasn’t until I got older and acknowledged that I want my writing to be as good as it can possibly be that I was finally able to set my ego aside and not get so defensive when someone offers their opinion on my work. I know most of us tend to fall in love with our first concepts and drafts, but rarely is the first crack at anything as good as we imagine it to be!

    It’s a struggle though because, like you said, some people just don’t want to hear it, no matter how positive and helpful you are about it. I’m part of a few different book clubs on Wattpad and while a couple of them encourage participants to leave comments that explore both the positives and negatives of the works we’re reviewing, it’s clear that not all participants are ready for constructive criticism.

    And so, as much as we as writers need to learn how to accept constructive criticism, I think we as readers also need to recognise when it’s time just to walk away. At the end of the day, unless someone’s paying you to be their editor, it’s not our responsibility to elevate another author’s work, especially if they aren’t receptive. And goodness knows the drama just isn’t worth it!

    Like

  8. I have been through similar experiences on wattpad. It’s most frustrating when writers personally ask you for feedback, but then get annoyed or aggressive if you mention any constructive criticism (like you, I would always point out positives, too).

    I think if someone takes the time to leave you feedback–particularly if you’ve asked for it–then you have to acknowledge that they have invested time in helping you out and that they see potential in your writing. It’s a matter of respect but I think a lot of young writers on wattpad (and some of the older ones, too) still find it difficult to accept the criticism because they view it as some kind of personal attack.

    Great post, by the way!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This post is so relatable! By the comments on here it looks like quite a few people had negative experiences leaving feedback for writers on Wattpad. I remember one writer on Wattpad PMed me asking me to read and comment on their story. The description of the story sounded promising so I took a chance on it. Naturally, I value feedback considering how hard it is to get reviews on my stories so I read the 1st chapter with heightened expectations. Needless to say the story needed work so I left some constructive feedback on the story, highlighting what I liked and what needed work. The next day my comment was deleted.

    While I felt like I wasted my time reading and commenting only for the writer to not like my review (which wasn’t mean or bashing the author). But then like yourself, I had to reflect on how I responded in the past when people gave me constructive criticism. Secretly I wanted people to tell me they loved my story so when they told me something I didn’t like I found myself getting defensive and offended. Thinking back on it 90% of the feedback was valid and was what I needed to hear. It’s not easy to swallow your pride but I’ve really grown as a writer by learning from the criticism (if it’s valid).

    Like

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