Author Topic: Opinions Requested: Writer Feedback form  (Read 3640 times)  

Offline Gabriela Popa

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Re: Opinions Requested: Writer Feedback form
« Reply #50 on: December 20, 2010, 07:10:38 PM »
I just had the chance to open up and read the pdf you provide in your first post.  While as I said above I believe a score system (that would provide some much desired feedback to the author) may work, I am surprised to see language such as:

"0 Abject failure. It takes significant effort to be this bad. If your goal was to do put forth the worst possible effort, then congratulations. You succeeded.
1 Poor. Cannot even manage the most basic elements of the category at a 5th grade level.
2 Sub par. Has only the bare minimum understanding of the norms expected for the category."

Such language, in my opinion, is not only be detrimental to one's professional image, it simply erodes his/her credibility as a business person.  There are more fortunate ways of giving a thumb-up or -down. 

Thus - I would spend some time working  on that language. 

Gabriela
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Offline Madeline

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Re: Opinions Requested: Writer Feedback form
« Reply #51 on: December 20, 2010, 10:34:23 PM »
The new rating system looks great, in my opinion. 

I don't think anyone is asking you to coddle people or put up with abuse from disgruntled writers whom you have rejected.   At least I wasn't.  For me, its about being the bigger person and doing the right thing.   

It's awesome that you're wanting to work on improving your wording and its even more awesome that you're wanting to give feedback in the first place. 
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Offline flanneryohello

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Re: Opinions Requested: Writer Feedback form
« Reply #52 on: December 20, 2010, 11:48:08 PM »
That aside, it would be impressive if BOOK REVIEWERS would list the credentials that qualify them as reviewers, judges and critiquers. Perhaps that would carry a little weight with those seeking their services.

We've all heard the story that Dr. Seuss was rejected twenty-nine times before his first work was published.  Geesh, 29 "professionals" had a bad eye for a successful story.  Makes you wonder, doesn't it?  One person isn't all knowing, and to act as such with scores and ratings and demeaning comments is deplorable.

Credentials to be a book reviewer?

Uh...being a reader, basically. That's the only credential a book reviewer needs. Nobody, including reviewers, claims that a book review is anything more than a single person's opinion. Everyone is entitled to one, regardless of their credentials.

Offline G.L. Douglas

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Re: Opinions Requested: Writer Feedback form
« Reply #53 on: December 21, 2010, 07:52:05 AM »
Credentials to be a book reviewer?

Uh...being a reader, basically. That's the only credential a book reviewer needs. Nobody, including reviewers, claims that a book review is anything more than a single person's opinion. Everyone is entitled to one, regardless of their credentials.

flanneryohello, in regard to my tongue-in-cheek comment regarding reviewers having credentials, I want to thank you for pointing out the obvious. Of course, any reader can deem themself a "reviewer." Their review is, as you mentioned, nothing more than a single person's opinion. Therefore, any scoring system is not meaningful to anyone other than themselves. These armchair reviewers should read up on how to write a book review, i.e., were the characters engaging, did the story move along too slowly, were the grammar/technical errors too glaring to continue reading, was the story good but poorly written, or was the story well-written, but lacking substance, would they recommend it to those who enjoy reading that genre?

In the long run, these reviewers only cause themselves harm as they gain a negative reputation in cyberspace.

If someone wants to get ahead in a professional sense, it's best to be remembered as a fair and intelligent member of that professional community.
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When a failed space rescue mission lands astronaut Bach Turner and crew in a beleaguered future world, there's no way out short of blind faith and the ultimate weapon, his mind.

Offline flanneryohello

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Re: Opinions Requested: Writer Feedback form
« Reply #54 on: December 21, 2010, 10:53:30 AM »
flanneryohello, in regard to my tongue-in-cheek comment regarding reviewers having credentials, I want to thank you for pointing out the obvious. Of course, any reader can deem themself a "reviewer." Their review is, as you mentioned, nothing more than a single person's opinion. Therefore, any scoring system is not meaningful to anyone other than themselves. These armchair reviewers should read up on how to write a book review, i.e., were the characters engaging, did the story move along too slowly, were the grammar/technical errors too glaring to continue reading, was the story good but poorly written, or was the story well-written, but lacking substance, would they recommend it to those who enjoy reading that genre?

In the long run, these reviewers only cause themselves harm as they gain a negative reputation in cyberspace.

If someone wants to get ahead in a professional sense, it's best to be remembered as a fair and intelligent member of that professional community.

Honestly, I'm not sure what you're trying to say.

Which reviewers are you talking about? Why would a reviewer gain a negative reputation for expressing their opinion?

Obviously a scoring system is an inherently subjective tool, but that doesn't mean it's not useful. For someone like Julie, it provides authors who submit work with concrete feedback they can use to polish their work to her standards. If they're not interested in doing so, or don't agree with her assessment, they are free to submit elsewhere.

For a reviewer like Red Adept, who also uses a scoring system in her reviews, point values are coupled with in-depth explanations of what she liked/disliked about a particular aspect of a book. While the scoring system is subjective, anyone who makes a habit of reading Red's reviews will come to understand her perspective and the scoring system will take on meaning as she applies it to a variety of books. For a reader, the value of an individual reviewer lies in finding someone who shares your tastes. If Red reviews books that I also enjoy reading, her comments and scoring will be meaningful to me, since we generally agree.

It feels as though you're painting anyone who would dare offer criticism--especially via a scoring system--as "mean and unprofessional". I couldn't disagree more. Everyone has a right to their opinion, and they have a right to express that opinion using whatever tools they wish. They also have a right to be direct about their opinion. Writers can't expect everyone to like their work, and they also can't expect everyone to pat them on the head regardless of the strength or weakness of their efforts. Who is really helped by that type of coddling? Have you seen what the self-esteem movement has done to our current generation of young people?

Offline G.L. Douglas

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Re: Opinions Requested: Writer Feedback form
« Reply #55 on: December 21, 2010, 01:01:36 PM »
quote author=flanneryohello link=topic=45283.msg802890#msg802890 date=1292957610
Honestly, I'm not sure what you're trying to say.

Which reviewers are you talking about? Why would a reviewer gain a negative reputation for expressing their opinion?

I'm not sure why you're not understanding that when a "reviewer" belittles, disrespects and pokes fun at someone's effort that it should be unacceptable.  If that "reviewer" is continually unprofessional, snarky and spiteful, the word will eventually get around the internet, and I don't think that is the type of reputation anyone would want if they're trying to have their opinion deemed "useful."

Obviously a scoring system is an inherently subjective tool, but that doesn't mean it's not useful. For someone like Julie, it provides authors who submit work with concrete feedback they can use to polish their work to her standards. If they're not interested in doing so, or don't agree with her assessment, they are free to submit elsewhere.

I have never seen a a scoring system utilized by a syndicated (read professional) book reviewer. They know how to correctly write a book review.

For a reviewer like Red Adept, who also uses a scoring system in her reviews, point values are coupled with in-depth explanations of what she liked/disliked about a particular aspect of a book. While the scoring system is subjective, anyone who makes a habit of reading Red's reviews will come to understand her perspective and the scoring system will take on meaning as she applies it to a variety of books. For a reader, the value of an individual reviewer lies in finding someone who shares your tastes. If Red reviews books that I also enjoy reading, her comments and scoring will be meaningful to me, since we generally agree.

It feels as though you're painting anyone who would dare offer criticism--especially via a scoring system--as "mean and unprofessional". I couldn't disagree more. Everyone has a right to their opinion, and they have a right to express that opinion using whatever tools they wish. They also have a right to be direct about their opinion. Writers can't expect everyone to like their work, and they also can't expect everyone to pat them on the head regardless of the strength or weakness of their efforts. Who is really helped by that type of coddling? Have you seen what the self-esteem movement has done to our current generation of young people?

 Once again, you misread my comments. No where have I suggested a "reviewer" build a writer's self-esteem, nor coddle them. I provided examples of correct review commentary, and it isn't a lesson in esteem building.Thought-provoking, intelligent feedback, whether positive or negative, is what most all writers seek.

Your desire for, and support of, a scoring system is the polar opposite of what you seem to be complaining about with the "self-esteem movement" and what it "has done to our current generation of young people." Imagine, if you will, a puffed up writer boasting about getting a 5 score, when his buddy only got a 2.  Constructive comments without "scores" leave no room for this type of "self-esteem" elevation.

From what I've witnessed, the "thin skin" goes both ways...writers and reviewers. And since you previously pointed out that reviewers have no credentials and theirs is "one opinion" I would encourage all writers to remember that, and if they receive a review they don't like, to laugh it off, remembering that it's the opinion of an ordinary person with no special training who happens to also lack compassion and professionalism, and is unable to separate their personal comments from a professional assessment.  That way, the reviewer is protected from adverse remarks in return.


(Let me add that I will not continue to beat this horse. This is my last post on the subject.)
 
« Last Edit: December 21, 2010, 01:13:49 PM by G.L. Douglas »
http://www.amazon.com/Alpha-Rising-G-L-Douglas/dp/0595411002/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1295359410&sr=1-1
When a failed space rescue mission lands astronaut Bach Turner and crew in a beleaguered future world, there's no way out short of blind faith and the ultimate weapon, his mind.

Offline CIBond

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Re: Opinions Requested: Writer Feedback form
« Reply #56 on: December 21, 2010, 02:25:45 PM »
We are talking about a professional response to a professional submission not an Amazon review written by a regular reader or a critique written by a professional reviewer.  There are rules, there have to be if you want to be seen as a professional and they are different depending upon which hat you wear. 

The best response from a publishing professional is something to the effect of:
Thank you for your submission to The Magazine, your story is not what we are looking for at this time.

A handwritten note at the bottom of the form letter would be a wonderful touch and very much appreciated:

For our publication, I felt that your characters werent very well developed, the main character wasnt sympathetic.  Your story needs a more controlled POV, the current accepted practice in publishing is one POV per scene although there are authors who are successful and dont follow this convention.  The dialogue could use more work, each character speaks with the same voice.

Instead of saying that the story wasnt original or the plot sucked you could say:  We have received numerous stories about the plight of transgender-dwarfs and have published several but now we are looking for something different.

At no point do you tell the writer that their skills suck, its the story that it at fault and at no point to you imply that you are the ultimate authority on anything other than what you are looking to publish right now.  I think that is a much better way to go because as we all know many successful books are rejected over and over before they hit the big time, no one knows what is really going to work and what isnt.

The form-letter scoring system reminds me of a contest and contests usually have a panel of judges who have written best-sellers, have years of industry experience, etc.  The individual didnt submit to a contest they just want to know if their story is right for your publication or not.  Your scored response might be a case of TMI and can only hurt you because it makes you look arrogant.  An intelligent rejectee would pick-up your publication or book, do his homework and adapt his/her work accordingly before submitting again.  The answers are out there, if someone doesnt go get them they probably dont want them and shoving someones face in them isnt going to decrease the amount of hard feelings - if thats the ultimate goal.  If your goal is to teach people how to write that is an entirely different position from being a publisher accepting submissions.