The most valuable feedback is the feedback you never hear. It’s the feedback of someone whose eyes glide past your book in the bookshop. It’s the feedback of someone who downloaded a sample of your book but never bought the full version. It’s the feedback of someone who picked your book from a stack at a book fair, read the first few pages, and then put it down. It’s the feedback of someone who bought your book and read it only halfway through.
Every published book sells at least a few copies. But that’s not good enough. Selling a few copies here and there won’t help you write full-time.
To grow as a writer, you need to understand what’s going through people’s heads when they decide against reading your work. And not just any people, but the very readers you wish to write for.
It takes but a single thought to put a book down.
“I don’t like it.”
Which is too vague to work with, but which you can translate into, “This isn’t for me.”
There are two kinds of “This isn’t for me”:
One. This isn’t for me because I know what it is, and I don’t like it.
Two. This isn’t for me because I can’t figure out what it is, or it isn’t what it says it is.
One is okay because your work attracts one group of readers while turning off another. One means that your work stands for something.
Two is not okay. Two means you should be doing a better job of communicating your promise to the readers, and then keeping that promise.