Anna’s Rules for Receiving a Professional Manuscript Critique

Receive a Manuscript Critique like a Pro

I can’t stress how important receiving a professional manuscript critique in the right way is.

Take these rules to heart. It could make or break your career.

Never argue with a reader. Their interpretation of your story is always valid.

You might struggle internally with learning to accept criticism of your work. But that’s a problem you as an individual must overcome if you hope to succeed in this industry.

The writing business is 99% rejection and 1% acceptance – AND THAT’S ON A GOOD DAY!

But if you follow these rules, even when you want to stomp, cry, kick over a chair, or argue back with your critique, you will eventually grow a thicker skin. When you do, you can take a more objective look at your work, and it will improve your ability to self-edit.

I’m going to say it one more time for good measure:

Always be a professional. Never argue back with a reader.

Here are my Rules for Receiving a Manuscript Critique like a Pro:

1. Never argue or attempt to persuade your critiquer they were wrong.

As a reader, however, they read the story is completely valid. The reader is never wrong. By arguing back, you invalidate the person who took time out of their life to read your manuscript. You sound like a real Grade A jerk.

2. Say “thank you.”

Really. That’s it. When you receive your critique, all you say in return is “thank you.” No comments (unless you’re in a moderated session and the moderator asks if you’d like to comment, and even then, proceed very very carefully).

3. Offer to reciprocate.

If someone has taken the time to critique a manuscript for you, it is an unwritten but understood industry rule that you offer to critique a manuscript in return. If you don’t offer, be prepared to be seen as someone who uses people. This industry is much smaller than new writers realize. Return favors. Be polite.

4. Take feedback with a grain of salt.

Remember that every reader comes to your manuscript with their biases. Yes, their reading is valid, but that doesn’t mean everyone will read your story the same way. If a reader gives you feedback and it doesn’t resonate with you, ignore it.

5. If ten readers give you the same feedback, put up your salt shaker.

If multiple readers are having the same issue, the problem is with your story, not the readers. It’s time to listen. Don’t try to adopt all ten readers’ individual feedback. Try to address the underlying problem.

6. Ignore readers who try to hand you band-aids.

Only you can fix your story. You are the writer. Write the story the way only you can.

7. Get rid of toxic critiquers.

If you encounter a critiquer who violates the rules of a professional critique, don’t hesitate to delete them from your contact list next time around. Even if they ask you when the next story will be done

If you want me to personally critique your manuscript, head on over for availability and rates.

Looking for a critique partner? Head over to the forums and leave a blurb in the Critique Partner Wanted section. There are several. Pick the one that applies to the manuscript you have in mind (ie. Novel, short story, flash, non-fiction).

%d bloggers like this: