Here at the blog we've talked about leaving feedback for Authors. With that in mind, I asked Hosted Author: C James if he would be willing to write something up for the blog to tell everyone why he thinks feedback is important. I hope you enjoy what he had to say and keep it in mind the next time you read a story here at GA!
Feedback: Why Authors Need You
Authors differ, but most need feedback. I mean ‘need’ quite literally.
It’s not an ego thing, it is a need. The reasons vary from author to author, but in general, it lets us know how we’re doing, and how the story is coming across. We cannot see the story as you do when it’s in progress. The art of writing is in conveying the story, so without feedback, we don’t know if there are problems such as what works, and more importantly, what doesn’t.
So, what is feedback? Feedback is your opinion. Feedback can, and sometimes does, include mixed and even negative opinions. It can take the form of a forum post, a review, a PM, or an e-mail. Is clicking on ‘like’ feedback? Not really, for it does not impart a reason. Some authors may prefer criticism be sent privately, others (me, for one) are fine with it being public; check with an author if in doubt.
dkstories often said, “Feedback is an author’s lifeblood.” No truer words have ever been said.
Over the last few years, feedback has diminished on this site and others. As this site’s author advocate, I’ve heard many times from authors lamenting this fact, and how it erodes their motivation to keep going. Some longtime authors are no longer with us for this very reason. Many more have given up after barely getting started.
Some have told me that, “No news is good news” or “Authors write to be read, all that counts is readership.” They are mistaken, at least in regards to most authors.
When I began posting here at GA, I did so in order to learn how to write. I have learned more from feedback than through any other means. Feedback is my primary motive for publicly posting; if it goes away, so does my motive to post. I’m not alone in this; other authors on this site have contacted me about this issue.
Writing is a compulsion. Sharing the results of writing, however, is a choice. It requires work, and work requires a motivation or it does not get done.
So get involved. If you’re reading a story, find some other way to let them know what you think about their plot, or characters, or writing in general. All you have to do is click on the chapter review link at the end of each chapter!
Another method, if you’re a GA member (And if not, why not? It’s free and easy!) is to give the author’s forum or story topic a try as well. The forum (or topic) is not limited the way reviews are; a discussion can happen in a forum, that can’t in reviews, including other readers as well as the author. Also, the forums can be downright fun.
So if you read here on GA, give it a try. Recognize the author's effort and share your thoughts. Please.