“[A]s far as I’m concerned, a good beta reader is like proof that there’s hope for humanity.” – Fellow blogger Cathleen Townsend
It’s surprisingly hard to find beta readers who will actually read and then critique your work which is why I love my writers groups so much. It’s sincerely difficult to get honest, constructive feedback. This afternoon, I just helped a fellow writer out with a beta read. I spent several hours wading through passive voice, filler words, and vague language. I deleted 1,000 words just by removing the words: really, much, in order, actually, just, basically, that, and very. I sent the revised book with inline comments on the content.
Here’s the response verbatim: “I really don’t need or want an edit. I just need feedback on the content.”
This reminded me of a Grover Levy song released in 2007 called “Tell Us What We Want To Hear”. You can buy his CD on Amazon for $3.99.
The lyrics were
“Won’t you tell us what we wanna hear?
Tell us we’re the victims, play on our fear,
Won’t you tell us what we wanna hear?
Tell us that we’re blameless,
We’ll make you rich and famous, and cheer for what we wanna hear.”
When you receive feedback, positive or negative, there is only one appropriate response.
Executive coach Marshall Goldsmith wrote a great article and book on receiving feedback. You can read the entire thing here. Let me quote just a touch “The next time someone gives you an idea or counsel, listen without judgment, try to find value in what you’re hearing, and say: “Thank you””
If you want to only hear praise, let your mom read your book. She’ll love it.
Write Something That Matters.