Writing a Book: Not All Feedback is Created Equal

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When you’re writing a book, you’ll get feedback whether you want it or not. Well-meaning friends and relatives will offer comments that they intend to be helpful. Remember this, though. All feedback is a gift. Some is useful.

Because all feedback is a gift, be sure to say, “Thank you.” Then, because only some is useful, pay attention to the good stuff and ignore the rest.

Feedback to Ignore

Ignore feedback from people with no expertise. This usually includes those loved ones or friends. They mean well, but most of them won’t have the background to offer you helpful insights.

You can ignore the feedback that’s not helpful. It’s okay. Pay attention to the feedback that will make your book better.

Get feedback on the technical issues of grammar and usage.

Someone needs to comb through your manuscript and make sure that you’re using the English language correctly. That means paying attention to grammar and usage and phrasing.

A professional edit will catch most of this. But you should catch as much of it as you can while you’re working on the manuscript. Friends and loved ones who have special expertise or are great readers will probably offer you this kind of feedback. Sometimes, they will think it’s their job to correct you.

Check your facts.

The time to check your facts is before your book is published. You can do this yourself or hire someone to do it. I do a lot of this for my clients, and I suspect other book-writing coaches do the same.

Some years back, I worked on a book where we needed to run down a common marketing “fact” about the impact a price change in Chivas Regal scotch. The truth turned out to be far more complex than we thought. I even wrote a post about it.

Have content experts review your material.

Content experts will catch things no other reviewers will catch. They also usually offer helpful suggestions. My client, Terry Moore, sought input from commercial brokers and others who knew about apartment investing. They suggested several changes that improved the book.

Get feedback from the people like the ones you expect to buy and read your book.

You should have an ideal reader in mind as you write your book. In fact, you should write directly to him or her.

Readers like your ideal reader are the only ones who can tell you if your explanations make sense. They’re the only ones who can give you reasonable feedback on whether they can do any exercises that you put into the book.

Takeaways

All feedback is a gift. Say “Thank you.” Only some is useful. Pay attention to the good stuff and ignore the rest.

You need feedback on the technical issues of grammar and usage.

You need to check your facts.

You should have content experts review your material.

You need feedback from people like the ones you expect to buy and read your book.

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