Suggestion 1: Get honest feedback
If you’ve written the perfect book, congratulations! You’re done. If you’re like me, and you haven’t written the perfect book, here are my suggestions for managing feedback. You must take time to process, but you don’t have time to wallow. Remember: right now I have twenty-five days. Step 1: Take time to digest. When I get comments, I read through them once and then set them aside for a day or two. I let my subconscious process what’s there. I don’t judge myself or my editor. I just take it all in like a neutral observer. Step 2: Get detailed. After my self-imposed time out, I go through the comments again. This time, I underline sentences, circle words, scribble notes in the margins. I do this as many times as I have to in order to understand the critique. There may be big themes like pacing and PoV. There might be issues like the number of characters or the setting. Perhaps–maybe–your dialogue sounds stilted. Whatever is there in the comments, make sure you understand it, even if you don’t agree with it. Step 3: Decide what resonates with you. I happen to think my editor is right on over 90% of her suggestions. That leaves less than 10% to be ironed out. If that 10% is important to you, be clear in your own mind about why it is. If you just love a particular description, but deep down you know it doesn’t add to the story, you need to part with it. Really. Step 4: Communicate. This is when I send an email or text and set up a convenient time to talk to my editor. I’m a big believer in talking. Some writers may be able to skip this, I can’t. I need to be able to ask questions and make sure I understand the answers. For me, it’s the most efficient way to understand the reason behind the comments. I come away knowing what needs to be done and, if I’m lucky, I even end up with a plan for how to do it. That’s the wonderful thing about editors. They see things in a way writers don’t. That’s it for today! Tune in tomorrow to meet Mike Cavaioni, the CEO of CritiqueMatch.com, and find your perfect critique partner so you, too, can join in the fun of feedback.