Okay, so, we've talked about the types of reviewers. Some of them, obviously, don't seem nearly as promising as other reviewers - however, that doesn't necessarily mean that everyone should always try finding those top-tier reviewers.
You see, each person may be looking for a different type of reviewer depending on what stage their story is in. For example, someone who is preparing their manuscript for submission to literary agents will want a different reviewer in comparison to someone who just wrote their first draft of their very first story.
There are definitely some types of reviewers who are perfect for all types of authors. For example, The Godsend is one of these - they are kind, but they also get their point across without sugar-coating anything. However, finding a Godsend can prove to be a difficult case.
Hence, we've made this chapter to help you decide on which type of reviewer you should seek if you can't find The Godsend!
In reality, it all comes down to how thick your skin is. So, first things first, take a knife from your drawer. Next, observe how thick your skin is by stabbing your-
Okay, no, never mind. No stabbing.
But use your imagination here. Imagine that you have your full manuscript printed out before your eyes. Now, imagine someone coming along and shredding it to pieces. How do you react? How do you feel?
Because, sometimes, a reviewer more or less does exactly that: they shred your work to ribbons.
So, tell us, if someone ripped up your manuscript before your eyes, what would you want? What would you do?
1. If you are ready to see your words be turned to ribbons, then you should probably head for The Soul Reaper. We recommend The Soul Reaper to anyone who is on their second, third, or fourth draft, and is considering sending their story off to publishers or literary agents, or is ready to take the path of self-publishing. You have to be prepared for the harshest critics, and there is no one better to prepare you for this than The Soul Reaper.
2. If you want someone to bake you cookies and say, "It's okay! Ripping up your manuscript is okay! Ripped paper is the best type of paper!" - you are looking for The Sugar-Coater. Now, contrary to popular opinion, you don't necessarily have to avoid The Sugar-Coater. The Sugar-Coater can be really good for you, really. If it's your first story ever, and you feel like you need encouraging words to ease your nerves, then finding yourself a Sugar-Coater is a perfect way to do. We get it - writing is one terrifying hobby. It's alright to seek encouragement, even if it means ignoring your flaws for a little while.
That being said, when you're ready to take the next step and really improve as a writer, then it's time to leave The Sugar-Coater and their freshly made cookies.
3. If you want someone who will tell you about why your semicolons weren't strong enough to hold the paper together, let alone your sentences, then you're looking for The Grammar Nazi. Now, again, contrary to popular belief, The Grammar Nazi is actually your best friend. If English is not your first language, or you feel insecure about some grammar/punctuation rules, then this is the person you should probably look for.
In fact, if you're finishing up a first draft and you're considering taking your writing to the professional level, then this person is amazing for you. You want someone to point our your basic grammatical mistakes before literary agents do it for you. Believe it or not, professional editors don't polish up your grammar for you. They're not the human version of Grammarly. If your story lacks a basic knowledge of grammar, getting an agent will be one hell of a journey.
4. If you want someone to rant about how awfully created your villain is, head for The Character-Driven Reviewer. They'll feel everything and even scream at your crying face and your torn manuscript. This reviewer is actually fantastic when you're finishing up the first draft. They will point out character inconsistencies that can be smoothed out, they can point out odd characterisation and awkward dialogue. They will point out when character development didn't feel as seamless as it should be, and they will help you gauge whether readers will actually be invested in these characters. Like the Grammar Nazi, they are a perfect way to dip your toes into the water before you make your way to The Soul Reaper.
5. If you want someone to pick up the pieces of paper with you and help you stitch it back together, you're after The Godsend. But, let's be real: everyone is after The Godsend. And not everyone can be The Godsend. If you find a Godsend, give them some love. If you don't, that's okay - there are others on this list who may suit your needs.
WHO TO AVOID:
Now, of course, there are definitely some reviewers you should avoid. When you rip your manuscript in pieces, the people you should avoid are the following:
1. The person who... just... won't even be there when your paper is ripped into two. Obviously, we're referring to The Always on Hiatus Reviewer. Why should you avoid them? Well, you don't have to - they're probably avoiding you. Don't worry, though. If you're lucky, they might send a postcard.
2. Obviously, if your paper is ripped apart, you don't want someone to sip their tea and say, "This is why you shouldn't write historical fiction." The Not My Genre, Not My Business Reviewer is one of these people and, unless you know for a fact that they like your genre, avoid them.
3. And, safe to say, avoid the person who doesn't make sense and starts speaking gibberish when your paper is set to flames. You don't ever want The Scrabble Reviewer. If their words don't make sense to you, then it's a waste of time for both you and the reviewer.
So, basically, in short, we have summarised it for your convenience. The reviewer you seek depends on where you are on your writing journey. So where are you?
a) I am a veteran who has completed multiple drafts, and I'm seeking representation/publishing for my story: The Godsend, The Soul Reaper.
b) I'm writing a first draft, but I've written stuff before: The Godsend, The Grammar Nazi, The Character-Driven.
c) I'm new to writing completely, so please don't crush my soul: The Godsend, The Grammar Nazi, The Character-Driven, The Sugar-Coater (as a bit of reassurance).
d) My stories are masterpieces and anyone who disagrees will be reported while I also go and burn down all the trees and spit on their ancestors' graves: The Sugar-Coater.
You don't necessarily have to stick to those guidelines, though. It's always fun seeing a Soul Reaper clash with someone who thinks their story is amazing even though they have no full-stops, twenty-six love triangles, and talking toenails.
That's all for this week! Let us know what you think? Which reviewer do you look for and why? How long has it been since that Hiatus Reviewer has sent you a postcard? How do you like your cookies? Let us know!
Next Time: Blurbs - and how to make them superb!
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