Sharing your manuscript with others can be menacing. If you ask for feedback, feedback is what you will get, and even if it would be nice to hear that your writing is perfect, you are more likely to get suggestions on what to improve. This can hurt your ego, but when handled right, it can help you make your novel sparkle. Below are three handy tips on how to do go about when asking for feedback.
Handy tip #1: Stow away your ego
If you are too close to your text, hearing about its faults can sound like it’s you who need betterment. This can cloud your judgement when deciding on how to improve the text. A good way to remedy this natural reflex is to pretend that someone else wrote your story, and that you are simply reading or listening to what another someone thought about it.
Handy tip #2: Know your critic
Even if stowing away your ego helps you receive feedback without crying like your inner child, you still need to handle the fact that all feedback is not great feedback. Try to understand who your reader is and how they read your text when you analyze their feedback. Use specialists to confirm details (e.g. a law enforcer to go through a crime scene, a doctor or nurse to verify medical details), professional editors to check your dramaturgy and phrasing, and regular bookworms to gauge the effect of your words on your target audience.
Handy tip #3: Don’t trust one opinion
At least not when it comes to taste. People will have lots of opinions about your book. Not all of them will “get” it, and only you know why you write and what you want to say. If you jump on every possibility to change something, you will end up zig-zagging together a mess of a story that’s farther and farther from yourself. So, unless it’s a typo or a verifiable fact, wait until at least three readers point out the same thing before you decide to tweak things.