The Career Author Podcast: Episode 110 – Receiving Feedback and Criticism

Receiving Feedback and Criticism

Receiving Feedback and Criticism

Authors thrive on sharing their creations with the world. But by putting your work out there, you open yourself up to feedback and criticism, whether fair or unfair.

It can be difficult to navigate how to handle feedback, especially the negative kind. Your editor thinks that your character’s actions aren’t consistent with their personality. A beta reader didn’t like the ending of your upcoming novel. Someone left a nasty one-star review on your book. A passionate reader emails you and pleads with you not to kill their favorite character.

What feedback do you take to heart, and what do you ignore? And how do you know you aren’t messing up your story? Join us today as we discuss how we handle feedback and criticism.

The Career Author Podcast is a podcast where co-authors J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon share their struggles and successes as full-time authors, advice for improving your writing craft, and honest discussions of what it takes to build a successful career as an author.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • Why an editor’s feedback is important
  • How to get the most out of your beta readers
  • When it’s valuable to listen to reader feedback
  • Brian McDonald’s view on receiving feedback
  • Why it’s important to know your ending before writing your story

Also, learn about a free app that tracks how you sleep.

Send us your ways and hacks – https://thecareerauthor.com/waysandhacks/ 

Leave us a comment: How do you handle feedback and criticism?

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11 thoughts on “The Career Author Podcast: Episode 110 – Receiving Feedback and Criticism

  • Morning guys. Interesting hack Zach that Sleepscore app.
    Talking about walking out of movies reminds me of when a school-friend and I went to see a spaghetti western called Django Kill in 1974. The film was so awful that my friend and I were the only ones left watching at the end; the entire cinema audience had walked out. Must find that film again and try to watch it.
    Other convicts one can like might include Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman in the original Papillon, Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke and Burt Reynolds in the all time classic Longest Yard – all brilliant movies and spooky that these three amazing contemporary actors and Dustin Hoffman 🙂, all starred in great convict movies.
    I’ve always felt a problem with asking people for an opinion is they feel obliged to give you… an opinion.
    Interesting discussion about whether one might wish to to revisit a published book. A book is a product that one creates to earn money. Why would one not want to improve it to increase sales? It might have taken many months to create but it could be improved in hours.
    Non-fiction writers “update” their books all the time. Tolkein rewrote LOTR in between every issue; his publisher often had to tear it from his hands to get it into print for a reissue. Products like cars, laptops and phones are continuously updated to improve so why not a book?
    I understand the reluctance to revisit a book, but there are good reasons to do so. One is running a business, so consider continuous improvement, 1% better every time. One’s book is an income earner for the copyright holder for the whole of life +70 years, so for the sake of a few hours why not make the best of it? Writers often improve covers and blurbs to increase sales so why not content? Trad books are reprinted many times and each time they will have been re-edited and sometimes changes are made to the story.
    One doesn’t have to compromise one’s integrity to make improvements as long as one is not following trends or constantly rewriting. The suggestion is to improve one’s books where they would benefit to improve long term sales.
    To answer your question; if I felt feedback, even from a review of a published book was justified and I also felt it would improve my book and sales, I would eventually make changes, possibly get a new cover and blurb and relaunch as edition 2.
    Why wouldn’t I?
    This is Indie publishing; we make our own rules.
    Great show today.

    • Totally agree. Make your own rules. My fear is that constant rewriting is a form of resistance so as an author and business person you need to know when you’ve hit a point of diminishing returns.

      1% improvement only matters to a certain point when nobody can tell the difference between the 17th and 21st revisions.

  • I’m not suggesting constant rewriting; but if a book is not selling and there are improvements that might be made, why not?
    We replace covers and blurbs to increase sales; some improve adverts to increase sales, why not text? A published book is not sacrosanct (unless it is the Bible etc.) it is an investment.

  • I get feedback from my critique group, which consists of one editor and two indie authors, and also from a few beta readers. I listen to all feedback. I don’t always take it. But I have made substantial changes to one of the books in my trilogy. The first draft had a major flaw that a partner pointed out. I thought I could fix it with some ‘tweaks.’ Ha! I reread it and realized she was completely right–it needed a huge rewrite.

    Negative feedback stings, but once I sit with it for a while, I can see it clearly and then move ahead and either ignore it, or accept it and work on what was suggested.

    Since I’m writing in a time period where I know a lot more than my critique partners and beta readers, I have to stick to my guns sometimes, about how my characters act or what they say.

  • Walking out of movies – back in the early 90’s, my then girlfriend and I went to see the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie with kristie swanson. For me, it was perfect – a campy, tongue in cheek vampire flick. I about wet my pants laughing. That movie still has so many great lines (Kill him. A lot.). BUT – she and I were the only ones laughing. Almost everyone else left during the movie. I must have looked and sounded like an idiot, but who cares.

  • Consciously, I try not to give time & attention on criticism that in my opinion comes from a nasty place. Some people’s misery needs to stop with them. I move on. However, occasionally I spend time thinking on the fact that they didn’t take the time to relate to where I was coming from. People tend to react impulsively w/o thought. Therefore, a lot of criticism is just not relevant.

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