The Value of Feedback

Writers love feedback.  No, let me clarify: Good writers love feedback.  I have just finished sending out critiques for Hummingbird contest entrants who paid an extra $15 to get comments back.  In addition to the magazine earning some spare change in the process, we’ve also earned deep thanks from most of the writers.  To quote one author, “I can’t thank you enough for your kind words and thoughtful, measured critique … your feedback really does help me see how it can be the best version of itself.”

I get rather chuffed about this kind of thanks.  (Translation of ‘chuffed’ for North Americans: very pleased indeed.)  In fact, it’s rather addicting.  When we began sending out rejections two years ago, I took pains to write a personal note to each author, giving a bit of a reason for the rejection, or a tip on how to improve the story.  I often received notes of  thanks.

Those days are over.  Until now, I’ve been able to review every comment from every slushpile reader and moderate every response that gets sent out to our loyal submitters.  I’ve enjoyed making friends along the way.  But the price to the magazine has been high.  It has taken long hours to sift so carefully through every submission — time that could be better spent on workshops, marketing, and editing our accepted content.

For this reason I regret to say we will no longer be giving personal feedback with every submission. This means the editors will have more time to do higher level editing, writing, and promotion for the magazine.  It also means that authors who would like feedback from an editor have a choice of paying the extra fee during our contests, or outright hiring us, with proceeds going to the coffers of our non-profit press.  We also have the fabulous Brewer award level on our Patreon page that lets writers get 20 pages of critique every three months.

sue 3Thanks for making me chuffed!

Susan Pieters is our acquisitions and developmental editor.  She looks forward to the next round of submissions, which is opening soon!

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