Can you be honest? Part 2 of 3

When I got back my original manuscripts from my (beta) readers, two out of the three hated the ending. They said they felt cheated and almost angry. I was crushed! I loved my ending! Instead of taking it personally, I needed to take the overall idea that my ending needed something more.  It was a clear signal I needed to rework my ending. Please note: I still get critical feedback about my ending, so maybe I should have worked it more.  You don’t have to take every suggestion they make to heart, but you better think long and hard if two early readers agree on something. Five people read my book in the beginning and I am so thankful for their honesty, suggestions and corrections.

If you have a publisher, you won’t have this problem. They will do it for you. Be aware, their readers will be a lot tougher than any reader you could choose. You are going to have to develop a thick skin. Any publisher will tell you that.

So, at this point I have to talk to you a little about a thick skin. This book does not define you. Yes, it will be a reflection of your writing skills but this book is not the next great Moby Dick. Trust me; the chances that you have written the next Gone With the Wind, are slim—real slim. Let’s just say for a minute that you have written a masterpiece, even the greatest classics of all time have people who hate them. Think of all those high school students who read Romeo and Juliet and reported back, “this is the stupidest book I was ever forced to read!”, “hated it!” “Couldn’t understand what William Shakespeare was trying to say. Why can’t the guy just learn English?” Every writer has to develop a thick skin, so you need to start doing that right now. Guess what, you are going to get bad reviews, thumbs down, and searing comments. Yes…yes you will. I will tell you what to do about some of those bad comments later in this book (especially when they happen on Amazon or Good Reads), but for now, resign yourself to the fact you are not the next Hemingway.  Chances are, you are a mid-range author.  Don’t cringe–mid range authors make a good living at writing! Work within that range and if your book soars to the New York Times Best Seller List–then God Bless your little heart!  Until then, lets focus on writing, proofing and putting the best product we can out to the marketplace!

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5 thoughts on “Can you be honest? Part 2 of 3

  1. I have yet to get a book deal, do I am slowly growing thick skin:) This was a helpful post!

    • Why are your waiting for a book deal? Why don’t you consider self-publication. Even if you self-publish and get a book deal…at least your book is out there.

  2. Reblogged this on Authors Helping Authors Resource Site and commented:
    Part 2 of 3 as promised Last Friday! Leave Reba a comment and tell her how you related to this article…we’ve all dealt with the issues she talks about in this series, with our own manuscripts.

  3. Reba, this is a great topic to be discussing. We ALL have to learn to deal with feedback/criticism if we really want our work to be the best that it can be. I think that acknowledging we aren’t perfect is a great place to start, then it might be easier to accept suggestions. Plus, beta readers are most likely people you consider close to you, friends. So, their suggestions aren’t meant to crush you, only to lift you. Their advice, though hard at first, has made my work all the better.

    • Yes and sometimes it takes prodding on our part to ask the important questions and make the reader feel comfortable with giving us their opinion.

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