author, creative writing, writing

Writers: Reasons to Seek Feedback

Morning all, I hope your week has been filled with sunshine and smiles.

I’m working really hard on another round of edits at the moment, thanks to feedback from my first readers. The sheer support, useful feedback and encouragement from these readers has made this next step very exciting.

Readers have included my wonderful fiance and my best friend, as well as some of my friends from this online writing community. (Huge amazing thank you to K.M. Allan and Aarika Copeland – you are both so wonderful!)

So today I want to talk about reasons all writers should seek feedback, despite the fear. It is such an anxious thought, the prospect of sharing your work, and I personally never thought I’d manage it. But I’m so glad I did, and you will be to. Just take a look at these amazing reasons why.

1. Feedback helps you improve
When you seek feedback you want to ensure you are being given honest opinions. This means not just being told what works but what doesn’t. This can be really hard. Undoubtedly, by this point, you’ve spent a lot of time writing your story and negative feedback can be difficult to accept. However, constructive criticism is vital. It will help you find everything from typos and errors to plot holes, weak characters and boring subplots. It may be gut wrenching to have these things pointed out, but it’s better to come from beta readers than agents. It means you’ll have time to improve the story and make it even better.

2. Feedback can boost your confidence
When a beta reader gives you constructive criticism it doesn’t always mean they didn’t enjoy the story. And even if the story wasn’t for them (no work of literature is enjoyed by everybody) they may still have something positive to say about your style and skill. What I’m saying is, we all know what it’s like to have writer’s doubt. We doubt if our story is exciting, entertaining, surprising…we only have our own opinion to go on and often our own opinions are tainted with self-consciousness and a need for perfection. Receiving positive feedback can really boost your confidence and help you realise that others can and will enjoy your story.

3. Feedback can help with submissions
I read somewhere once that agents don’t want to feel as though they’re the first people to have ever read your manuscript. I’m not saying you should never submit your novel until it’s been read by others; at the end of the day that’s your choice. But for the reasons stated above, your novel is likely to be more polished after advice from readers, making it as ready as it can be for submissions.

Some tips on finding readers
You can definitely ask friends and family to read your novel. In fact, I encourage it. But be aware that no matter how frank and honest they are, they may still be slightly bias. It’s always worth asking impartial readers to take a look too. There are beta readers and editors who offer this service online; don’t just blindly ask them. These are professionals, earning a living with their skill. Be prepared to pay. Alternatively, you can seek out friends from your online writing community. This can work really well by offering to return the favour, and reading each other’s work for free, in exchange for honest feedback. Not only that, but this is a great way to get a glimpse at an up and coming story that could well be published in the near future. I’ve read and provided feedback for one so far, and absolutely loved the story. Everybody’s a winner!

You don’t have to take any of your feedback as gospel. Everybody has different opinions, and at the end of the day your story needs to be yours. You get the final say. Don’t dismiss suggestions just because you don’t like the feedback; take some time to consider if you should act upon the advice or not. But never feel as though you need to make every single change suggested to you, not if you don’t want to. Your story, your rules.

Has anyone else sought feedback on their novels/stories? Or perhaps you’re finding the prospect too daunting? I’d love to hear your thoughts so do comment below, or contact me, for a chat.

Until then,
Keep writing,

44 thoughts on “Writers: Reasons to Seek Feedback”

  1. Hi this very helpful – I’m at a point where I have to start looking for beta readers and there’s a few things I’m not sure about like How many readers do you think are a good number? Would you give them the whole manuscript to read or chapter by chapter? Also how do you find non-bias readers you feel you can trust? Oops sorry looks like I’ve just bombarded you with questions .. just ignore if it’s too many 😎 thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, Hello! No worries for the questions. Do you talk to any writer’s online that you think you could trust? Either on here or on other social media? I found my readers through instagram, but they’re also friends through my blog. It’s a horrible moment, sending out your work to other people but sometimes you have to bite the bullet and trust. It helps if they want to exchange work to read, because then the trust is mutual. I chose four at first. Don’t choose too many, as you’ll want more feedback after you’ve edited again. You could go as little as two readers to start. Also, you can send as much as you want. To get used to it/build your confidence you could just ask someone to read your first three chapters, then move onto the full manuscript later. Hope this helps!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. thanks yes that does help I think a mutual thing is a good idea! I’m only starting out with my blog but I’ll give that a think thanks – I’ve already sent a few chapters to my sister who is my most loyal but very honest critic 😂 so I have no issue at all with constructive feedback – and yes not too many that’s very helpful thank you and all the best for yours! Have a good week!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am glad to see this kind of post from you as I am preparing for beta phase of my own to-be story (I still avoid the word ‘novel’ for some reason and probably will avoid it before it’s complete). I know it’ll be tough because part of me would still rather put it into a drawer so no one ever sees what the hell did I write.
    On the other hand, I am anxious to improve and believe I reached the point where further progress is impossible without external feedback so it’ll hopefully help me learn more and see things I could not notice myself.
    Entering beta stage will surely be scary (for now I plan to ask around Goodreads groups, offering beta swaps) but it’ll be just another step forward.

    Also, good luck with your own work, hope it goes well!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was so, so super scared and never thought I’d send it out. But I’m so glad I did. I think it’ll be the same for you too and you’ll be pleased you got it out there and the feedback will help. Best of luck! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post, M (and not just because I get a shoutout 😅). It was an honour to beta read for you and your post sums up why it’s a great thing for all writers to do. I learned so much from beta reading for others and having fellow writers beta read for me. It was better than paying for professional assessments, which I’ve done in the past, and I can’t agree more with your tips.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You definitely helped encourage me to do this, and I’m so glad! I think sometimes to professionals will have quite a rigid approach, but beta readers are more like those who would read the book if it were out “in the wild”, as it were, and so the feedback works extra well. Thanks for commenting ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post! My writing improved hugely when I met two amazing women who became my beta readers after a writing workshop.
    Beta readers can be helpful in the early stages of a novel – questions about motivations, or whether a seemingly innocent sentence is going to lead to something later – opened my eyes to plot developments I hadn’t seen considered.
    Engage your beta readers early on would be my advice!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Excellent topic. One of my favorites.

    I don’t care how long I’ve been doing this I will always get nervous just before I hear a readers feedback. I often imagine this is what it’s like for an actor in a play seconds before the curtain is pulled.

    Feedback is vital. If a writer wants their work to grow from hobby to professional feedback is part of the game. The key is to listen to things you do not want to hear. We all love it when things work but the most important feedback comes from things that do not work. The trick is to turn off your defense mechanism and listen.

    It took me a while but once I got over the hump the information I received was priceless.

    Thanks for doing this. It is a topic every writer needs to read.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Bryan! You’re so right that seeking and listening to feedback is vital. It has improved my story so much, and I’m sure it’s the same for all writers. A tough hurdle to overcome, but so worth it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.