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by Patricia Fry

Soliciting Feedback for Your Writing

From Patricia Fry's Publishing Blog:

There's nothing quite like positive feedback for your writing efforts. Whether it's a complimentary letter-to-the-editor published in a magazine that ran your article, a supportive comment from a friend who read something you wrote or a good review of your book, praise is always welcome. Writers and authors thrive on accolades. Second to a desire to write, of course, is the need to be read. A close third is our longing to be understood and validated.

And it doesn't take much to give us a thrill. Two SPAWN members who shared our SPAWN booth at the recent Los Angeles Festival of Books told me that they had followed some of my advice from one of my articles and it helped them to sell more books. I had mentioned the concept of giving something more than the consumer expects. One member brought his lovely books of poetry and small boxes of chocolates tied together with pretty pieces of pink ribbon. What lovely Mother's Day gifts these will make. Another member used raffia to combine his book on grammar with a binder and a pencil. Both members thanked me for making this suggestion.

How refreshing it is to know that you are being read. And why should we doubt it? I have thousands of copies of my books circulating among the public. My articles have appeared in hundreds of magazines and newsletters. My work is posted all over the Internet. Why should I doubt that it is being read? Of course, it's being read. But, hearing directly from someone who tells me how they are using my suggestions or how a certain passage, a certain article or one of my books helped them gives me a glorious boost in confidence and validates my intended purpose.

A good friend of mine told me just yesterday that she is having a very prolific period. She is just bursting with article ideas and she said, "Part of the credit goes to you." She explained. "I read what you wrote about doing a different activity to stir up the creativity in your brain. So I've been working on my beaded earrings and that really got me out of a stagnant spot."

It's true, if you feel blocked-you can't get an idea and when you do, you can't drum up the enthusiasm to work on it, try doing something else for a while. I recommend pursuing a creative activity. For me, gardening works or working on a needlework project. Redecorating a room or just a portion of a room is the key for some people. There's just something about shifting gears and actually experiencing success in another realm that helps to jumpstart the part of your brain that you need functioning in order to perform well when writing.

Of course, this is just one of thousands of useful tips I've offered through my articles and books. Read The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book for many, many additional tips and techniques. [Author's Note: Right Way has been retired. See my most recent books in the left column of this page.] If you want to write a book or if you have a manuscript in the works, I have just one piece of advice-educate yourself. Become informed about the publishing industry, your options and the possible consequences of your decisions. Ideally, you will spend several months studying the industry. Hopefully, you will read books and articles written by many experts in the field. In so doing, you will learn who to trust and who to believe. Among your reading materials, please read my book, The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book. [Author's Note: Right Way has been retired. See my most recent books in the left column of this page.] And if you want my list of recommended experts and professionals, please contact me through my Web site or through this blog.

Now, how can you get feedback for your writing? Here are a few ideas:

  • Build a Web site related to your book or your writing.
  • Run a survey among your readers.
  • Circulate your own newsletter, you'll receive feedback from subscribers.
  • Send emails to customers who have bought your book and ask for comments.
  • Start a blog.
  • Ask friends and random readers to add reviews to your Amazon page.
  • Teach a course related to your book topic.
  • Send copies of your latest article to your email list and ask for comments
  • Send your almost finished manuscript to experts for back of book testimonials.
  • Get your book reviewed many times over.

I'm heading off to Dubai next week to speak before a group of Toastmasters. I'm packing my camera, of course, and a journal. I'll also have my laptop in case anyone would like to communicate with me while I'm there. Just comment to this blog or contact me through my Web site.

In the meantime, if you haven't purchased The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book, this would be a good time. [Author's Note: Right Way has been retired. See my most recent books in the left column of this page.] It really is important that you understand the publishing industry, your choices and the ramification of your decisions BEFORE you even start writing that book. If the manuscript is completed, then you still have time to do the right thing-to make the right decisions-if you read this book BEFORE you start scurrying around trying to find someone to publish your book. You do NOT have to pay someone to publish your book. There are thousands of publishers out there looking for a good book. If this is news to you, you MUST read my book.

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