Handling Feedback (For Writers)

Before we begin with today’s topic, I just want to say thank you for following me! I couldn’t believe it when I saw 636 of you. I never expected this blog to turn into anything, but I’m glad it’s touched so many of you. Speaking of which, I do need to respond to some comments, so I’ll be doing that later today.

Also, I want to apologize for the lack of updates. Recently, I started a campaign to help writers who are struggling to get their stories noticed. The focus is to help them not feel alone and to provide support (similar to my blog).

I know I talked about this before, but I want to bring it up again, and methods to cope. Yesterday, I provided feedback to a writer. Now, this writer has a lot of reads and followers for her story. However, when I read the first chapter, I noticed it lacked any hint of backstory. It was vague, and I didn’t get a feeling I wanted to know the characters. Well, when I said I wish it was more developed and then explained why, the writer went off on me. She also told me having backstory in the first chapter is boring, and most readers don’t care about backstory until they know the characters better.

My reaction:

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She apologized, and I said it’s ok. As a reviewer, I should have explained myself better at first. However, I told her after attacking me and calling me, “a troll who only wants to leave bad feedback on her story,” I said I’m no longer interested in reading it.

Her reply to this was:

“Your loss.”

My second reaction:

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The reason for this reaction was because the writer still hadn’t learned. Now, I’m not perfect, but I would never tell a potential reader it’s “Your Loss.” Maybe the writer was young, but clearly, she didn’t know how to handle feedback.

I told her that not every bad comment is out to attack her. She may feel that way because it’s the internet, but if she hopes to publish, she can’t show attacks to reviewers on Amazon or Goodreads.

It took me a long time to learn this, but as a writer, we are selling ourselves just as much as our books. The attitude we display to our readers is important.

As I said before, I am not perfect. My readers say the worst of me – a writer who wasn’t confident in their work and deleted everything. I was a monster, and I feel like I treated my readers poorly in the past. Now, I’m trying to get better and not delete my work out of self-doubt.

That brings up my main point today – How do we handle the feedback we get and not come off defensive? Feedback makes us feel attacked (some of us), feel bad (some of us), and lowers our confidence (some of us).

Here are some tips I’ve used to handle feedback:

  • Thank the reviewer! Always thank the reviewer for leaving you feedback. Even if you didn’t like it. When I get feedback like this, I take a step back and distant myself from my story. Sometimes thinking, “I know I’m upset right now, but as a reader, what would I think if I read this?

My responses to those reviews are usually, “Thanks for the feedback! I’ll take it into consideration when I do the rewrite.” – That is simple and to the point. You acknowledged the reviewer and were polite.

  • Take a deep breath. Sometimes, this helps to relax me from what I just read. When you do this, take your hands off the keyboard ^__^
  • Step away and come back. If you want to know why the person felt the way they did, and you’re upset at the time, then step away. Step away and then come back later. Think of a nice way to write the response that doesn’t attack the reviewer or make you seem defensive. Something like, “Thanks for the feedback. Can you explain to me why you felt this way? I’m really curious.”

And after you get your response, don’t say, “It’s your loss.” > < Like I said, that writer was probably young, but she should realize the world is full of stories to read, and hers is one story in a sea of many.

Anyway, I hope you found the tips helpful:

Remember, if you get feedback you don’t like, you got this!

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How do you handle feedback on your stories?

 

 

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16 thoughts on “Handling Feedback (For Writers)

  1. I like getting feedback good and bad. I know I’m not the best writer and my stories are bound to have mistakes (a lot of them). You’ve made some really good points. 🙂
    It’s important not to think the reviewer or reader is attacking you, but rather they don’t agree with something in the book or see it differently than you do. Fair enough if a reader is constantly picking on your work and being mean about it then just ignore them (there are jerks out there but a majority are actually just trying to help).
    At a workshop I went to they said, ‘When receiving feedback get your left brain into action”. With bad feedback, this is where your ‘left brain’ has to kick in. If you are thinking of it as your precious work then a majority of the time you will want to defend yourself. So look at it as a chance to change or improve your story. If the feedback doesn’t seem to match your vision or plan for your work, then just thank the reader and leave it be. After all you still have to be true to yourself!
    Anyway, this is a huge comment so I’ll stop there. XD Great post as always! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I recently started a(nother) blog with the similar goal of helping writers, and I was about to mention that good feedback and bad feedback are both better than no feedback. Or you could think about it like this: Write something good, or write something bad. Don’t write something boring that nobody cares about.
    That said, I love that you’re working to support writers and you definitely deserve all your followers and likes. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I liked Shadow Summit’s take on feedback.
    It does take a degree of maturity to engage in giving and receiving criticism but most people can learn to do it. For years I’ve been a member of a group that operated on the idea that criticism can be offered in a way that doesn’t tear down a work. More recently, my son was enrolled in a violin school that used the Suzuki method and I benefited tremendously from that experience.
    There I learned that criticism comes, or should come, from a place of caring, a place of love. Then it’s guaranteed to be supportive of and acceptable to the recipient.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I recently answered an ask on Tumblr about getting reads on Wattpad and one point in my advice was to never, ever get into a pissing match with a commenter, no matter how badly you disagree with them..

    Putting our work out to the world is harrowing. Personally, every time The Star and the Ocean is selected as a BotW for a book club I hold my breath and mentally prepare myself for the onslaught of comments (my biggest concern with book clubs is that participants all seem to be hell bent on finding SOMETHING to critique).

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned since I started posting my writing online it’s that you get to choose what feedback you listen to and what you ignore. Even if what a person is saying about your work is true, if they’re being a dick about it, just let it go.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. There is nothing better than feedback or a criticized feedback that can turn you better. Though a genuine one. Even if it is not, handle it with a response rather than a reaction. 🙂
    Anyone who tells you your pitfalls, pay attention to what they said. Maybe they are right, or maybe not too. But pay attention.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah. I got really depressed afterwards because it was the fifth draft and I was certain it was almost done. Had to set it down for a while and work on some other projects to let the thoughts sink in and start figuring out ways to fix the issues she had with it, as well as my own.

        Liked by 2 people

      • It is. Just reading has helped a lot though. I’m almost done with Stephen King’s On Writing and that has been a big help. I think my first novel has all the right elements to be great, from interesting characters to a good premise and a creative world, but they just haven’t quite come together yet. Hopefully the sixth draft will do it.

        Liked by 3 people

      • His book is so helpful!! I quote it a lot in my blog post. Six drafts, whoa! You’ve been busy. I’m sure your story will come out great! If you need a beta, please let me know.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ll keep the answer simple, Akaluv. I’m careful who I ask for feedback and I’m careful who I give it to. My own opinion is paramount and I don’t follow all the rules us writers are supposed to follow, cos I’m over 50, which can be when you get to think differently – and I have to say, this aspect of it feels great!

    Like

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