If you have to explain it isn’t working.

I’m in the front row these days, having recently been published.

This doesn’t get me off the target of critique. If anything it rather makes my work a bull’s eye. I’ve gotten my share of comments, complaints and suggestions. I decided very early to consider each of them carefully and do my best not to get defensive.

Listening and carefully filtering what other people have to say has made me a better writer.

I note some aspiring authors want to argue with readers, instead of asking why it’s confusing, not well executed.

When an aspiring author posts parts of their writing to a social board or blog, they should expect readers to express their opinion. They are giving their time to your unpublished work, and as such should be treated with respect. Telling the reader they are wrong, or that it is explained in the next chapter isn’t respectful.

When you go into a bookstore is the author of every book standing next to their displays? No, and you won’t be either.

If you don’t catch a reader in the first paragraph, it doesn’t matter how brilliant the rest of the book is. They will put it back on the shelf and move on until one does capture their attention.

Should you listen to every criticism? Of course not, you’d go crazy trying to make everyone happy..it can’t be done.  When the same comment is repeatedly being made, give it consideration.  Could that many readers have simply misunderstood your intent? Or as an author did you fail to convey it properly?

Social sites and contests are a great place to learn. Take advantage of the reader’s observations, and learn from them. Writing is a solitary occupation. Sharing your work is not.

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