Friday, November 14, 2008

Reach Readers update

I also think I should note that I guilted my first readers into giving me some feedback by including a section on my personal blog which I will excerpt here:

I haven't heard back from (my pact reader) yet. I'm not sure if this is because it was such a bad fragment of writing that he couldn't think of any constructive comments or if he's just madly busy as I have been myself. Regardless, I'm starting to give up on wringing any feedback out of people. I was fully prepared for negative feedback, but the lack of interest, the complete apathy, has me wondering. It's quite discouraging. If I were getting a lot of negative feedback, then I'd likely be much more motivated to make improvements. I'd be incensed, I'm sure. If I were getting positive feedback, I'd maybe build up some good momentum, being then freed from the self-doubt adherent to my style, story and characters. But nothing? I've been a little adrift. But I'm coming out of it. I'm beginning to pick up steerage way again after my first flush of enthusiasm died out. Now I'm settling into it.
Three of my five first readers contacted me within the day to make their excuses for not posting to the Google Group or otherwise commenting on the work I allowed them to read. I didn't intend the passage in my personal blog to be an appeal to them; it was merely a record of my personal feelings on the subject. I simply forget that my friends keep up with my blog. But I'm glad that it did end up jarring some commentary out of them. I have been privileged to have been asked by my friends to be a part of some of their major life events. I've been in their weddings, helped them edit academic papers, driven them to the airport, supported them as they launched businesses or new careers or relationships. I have considered it an honor to be entrusted with my friends' confidences and to lend them my meager talents to aid in their personal and professional advancement. When I decided to undertake writing a novel, I deemed it only fair reciprocity to invite my trusted friends along for the ride. I have enjoyed being a part of their journeys, and it was my hope that they would enjoy being part of mine. I firmly believe that it is not a huge time commitment as it generally takes only about a half an hour to read a piece, formulate an opinion of it, and record those opinions. As I'm interested in gut reactions, if it takes any longer than a half an hour to perform the function of a first reader, then someone's doing something horribly wrong!

But hopefully, I'll be getting more feedback from the Reach Readers soon. And if not, then I'll move down my list of potential readers and invite some fresh eyes into the group. I had previously chosen not to extend invitations to some individuals who had asked to be included, and I may reconsider their petitions if, after posting the next pair of chapters, my current panel does not begin discussing the material.

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