I’ve given a lot of feedback in my life – as an English Literature academic, I graded thousands of undergrad and postgrad papers and then I became an A’ level examiner and marked over a 1000 student exams. Add to that the hundreds of reports I have written on people’s novels and non-fiction projects and the comments I offer as part of developmental editing and the times I’ve discussed authors’ work in writing groups and you can see how I’m pretty used to telling people what I think about their writing and ideas! In the case of my work as a literary consultant and mentor, I actually really enjoy providing detailed feedback as it allows me to help other writers get better at their craft and increase their chances of gaining literary success.

In fact, I think having feedback on your work is crucial for every single author, even the most experienced, as often we cannot see the wood from the trees after spending long periods working on our manuscripts. But who you seek feedback from and how you go about absorbing it and putting recommendations into action will make all the difference, so this is the subject of this week’s ‘real talk’ as I feel many new authors, in particular, struggle to understand the importance of editorial assessments and the way we all need to develop the grace to take criticism in our stride. 

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