I say it a lot, but every writer needs to give someone permission to be critical of his or her work. Writers cannot see the weak spots in their own material. Author friend Jeff Vorwald of Canvas Skies says he tries to get feedback on his manuscripts from people that don’t necessarily care for him (or want to spare his feelings.)
The Marketing Christian Books blog is one of those blogs I recommend everybody follows. It’s written by folks who aggressively chase their authorpreneurial dreams. I’ve linked an article that every author ought to read, and it’s along the lines of my regular advice.
Writers shouldn’t only seek for input from critics regarding story content, plotlines, and line edits. They should also seek input regarding sales strategies and publishing paths. In the article linked above an author wrote something outside of the norms for her genre and simply believed “that her story was perfect.”
“The truth of the matter is, sellability matters whether you publish a book yourself or someone else publishes the book.”
Readers have expectations. They have expectations about how a picture book should read for their child’s age. They have expectations about the flow of a story. They have expectations about the layout of a book. A book needs to meet these expectations to sell well.
Recently, I weighed in on a fellow author asking for cover feedback. It was not good… about a dozen posts preceding mine focused on positive elements. I unloaded with both barrels. My goal was to help him improve his cover so that his book would sell, not make him feel bad—but feeling bad because your work is not yet finished is better than feeling bad because your finished book is not selling.
Do the work. Do the research. You’re a writer, right? So Write, dangit! Write.