The Importance of Peer Input for Authors

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Almost all writers realize the value of feedback and editing from others. While a few may write only for themselves, most want others to see, and enjoy, their work and to know how their work is received. For authors preparing to publish their book, the process often involves others such as friends, family, beta readers, editors, and maybe a mentor. This group should also include other writers, especially those who have published before. Don’t miss out on the value of peer input.

Peer editing and reviews function as quality control for manuscripts, giving authors confidence to know that their manuscripts have been scrutinized and refined. When writers only use friends and family for feedback, they're missing out on valuable insight from other authors who can provide suggestions on story structure and the writing process as a whole. You might choose beta readers who are in your target demographic, which is wise, but make sure you also get feedback from other authors. 

Peer feedback is often more well-defined and points out specific errors. Beyond grammatical errors, writers need input on whether or not they're communicating ideas clearly. Fellow authors are in a better position to notice these things and to focus on the quality of your writing rather than your mistakes in a specific piece. Peer feedback can help you acquire new perspectives, identify strengths and weaknesses, and cultivate your style and voice.


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Don't make the mistake of thinking authors won’t or shouldn't help each other out because they're competitors. Just because someone reads a book from another author doesn’t mean they won’t read yours. Even within the same niche, there’s very little competition, because readers love to read all sorts of books, and if they like one genre, they're very likely to read many different authors within that same genre. 

Some of you may remember the ubiquitous milk commercials in the 90’s. Those commercials weren’t for one particular brand of milk, but for the entire dairy industry. The various brands that sell milk all benefited from the increase in milk sales because they helped each other. Writing as an industry is similar, and even less competitive really. There’s no need to be competitive because promoting the industry makes each author more successful. Don’t be afraid to ask other authors for their input, and definitely don’t hesitate to give yours and to recommend and promote other authors. To get input from authors you have to be a part of the community

Once you’ve found people you'd like to approach, take the time to identify exactly what you want before you ask for feedback, and then communicate it clearly. Specify if you’re looking for help with a particular section, such as the introduction or conclusion, or with dialogue or character development, etc. It’s also helpful to give them a deadline, but allow them plenty of time to respond. If you're vague about when you need their input, you may get it too late or not at all.

Input from your author peers can only improve your writing, so don’t neglect this invaluable aspect of the writing process. Find trustworthy people whose work you admire and, hopefully, you can be that person for someone else as well.

IngramSpark Staff

IngramSpark® is an award-winning independent publishing platform, offering indie authors and publishers the ability to create, manage, and globally distribute print and ebooks.