Purple Prose + psychology

What the @#*!? (or Dealing with Critiques)

How many of you have beta read for someone and received a thank you from the person even though your suggestions caused her to do massive rewrites? How many of you received, instead, a nasty email telling you how wrong you are?

We’ve all heard the sage advice that you should wait at least three days before responding to a critique. What you don’t want to do is criticize the person who beta reads your book and undermine her opinion. If you don’t agree with it, then simply ignore it.

I recently sent feedback on a novel I was beta reading. For the most part I had been enjoying it, but there were a few clichés and aspects that I felt were cruel or hurtful to certain teen readers. Also, there was a character type I’d seen in the teen movie Easy A (who came off as a cliché/stereotype even in the movie). The similarities between the two were too close for comfort. I emailed the writer to warn her. Unfortunately, the writer felt it necessary to send me a nasty email. Once it became insulting, I stopped reading it, for both our sakes.

Fortunately, I’m not a vindictive person. If her book is published, I’ll still buy it to support the author. But not everyone is like me. What would happen if her book was published one day, and it had been someone else who received the nasty email? Remember, what happens in Los Vegas doesn’t always stay in Lost Vegas. You don’t want your unprofessional attitude to someone’s feedback to hurt you down the line.

The other problem is that if you keep berating your beta readers you disagree with, you’re setting yourself up for learned behaviors that are inappropriate when you are published. You’re more likely to respond to negative reviews in a non-professional manner, which is something you want to avoid at all costs.

So remember, if you want your beta readers to only gush about your book, great. Just warn them first. And if you don’t like what they have to say, then just thank them and ignore it. Don’t justify why you did something a certain way, unless you’re hoping for additional feedback.

Has anyone else had a similar situation?

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What the @#*!? (or Dealing with Critiques) + psychology