So, just what is your responsibility as a writer?
I recently witnessed a young writer who’d asked for critique on their first chapter, get frustrated and leave a rather snarky message on a group.
It showed little for the writer’s maturity, when they lashed out and even less for their ability to accept criticism.
Do the work
As writers we have to accept some responsibility. This includes completing our manuscript, editing it and asking for and accepting criticism.
Having critiqued works for some people, I did get backlash from one after I pointed out some structural flaws and heavily disjointed writing, as well as a lack of understanding about the world created or even the character.
It felt like a first draft when really, by the time it came to a beta reader or critique partner, it should have been through numerous edits by the author.
I’ve been asked to Beta read stories that were so heavily in need of a basic edit, it would have taken a lot of my time and felt like I was doing most of the work. In these situations, I usually bow out.
I have even heard a published writer complain about a bad review where the reader didn’t finish the book because there it was dull. Their frustration came that the reader should have “pushed through” as it got better in the end.
A book should not be dull to read with all the excitement and character development at the very end. No one wants to read that.
Beta Readers and Critique Partners
People who agree to be Beta Readers and Critique Partners, are giving up their time to help you grow as a writer. Not everything they suggest will be good and as the author you can accept or reject it.
However, one thing you should do, is not waste their time. You, the author need to take responsibility for your writing. That means editing your story yourself before you give it someone else to read.
I don’t care if editing isn’t your strong suit, it’s not up to someone else to do this work for you. Especially not people who are giving up their time for free to assist.
Know your audience
It’s the writer’s responsibility to make sure their book is marketing for the right audience. Don’t blanket bomb everyone you know asking them to read your book.
Are they your target audience?
If you have joined a popular group on Facebook, say for Sci-Fi writers then don’t drop in post after post promoting your historical romance.
I was asked to read a book purported to be sci-fi. That was all I was given. In truth it was a sci-fi, but it read like a children’s book. I was definitely not their target audience so couldn’t even get through the entire book.
You have to be clear on who your audience is and make sure you market to them. Don’t market to everyone. It’s a waste of your time and theirs.
Don’t blame the reader
Never blame the reader for not enjoying your book and for not pushing through to the “good bit” at the end or for struggling to be captured by your story.
It’s your responsibility as the reader to write a story that pulls a reader in. You won’t catch them all and some will hate your work because of personal preference. That’s part of the writing life.
Take pride in your work. No one has to read your stories, so you need to make them the best they can be. But that is up to you. Betas and CPs will help, as will a professional editor but you, the author has to do the bulk of the work.
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Hope you found this article interesting. As always, if you have any thoughts, drop them