“Will readers like my novel?” Here’s how to know for sure

“Truth be told, after I reached 10,000 words, I was very disappointed that it was all over. I am convinced that this month will absolutely stand out as one of the high points of this year for me.”

This is what author Liberty Henwick said after winning an award in the 10K Novel Writing Challenge at ChapterBuzz.

For the uninitiated, the “10K” is a month-long writing marathon where novelists of all skill levels endeavor to write 10,000 words and compete for a handful of awards.

So how did Liberty’s book become an award-winning novel, even before it was published?

Feedback.

When writing a novel, it’s important to know what’s resonating with your readers, and what could use some fine-tuning. Once you know this, you can either make the necessary changes or revel in the praise you’re getting—but either way, you can rest assured you’ve got a great novel on your hands.

Fortunately, it’s easy to get feedback on your work! During the 10K Challenge (which you can sign up for now), our writers love helping each other out by reading each other’s work and giving their insights about it.


“Be willing to listen to your readers’ suggestions with an open mind, so they can be completely honest. You don’t want them to hide the painful truths.”

—Liberty Henwick


After all, nothing is going to be perfect the first time you write it, so this early feedback can be very helpful. In fact, it’s every bit as important as a foundation is to a tall building.

Liberty was kind enough to share what she learned about receiving feedback:

Advice to the writer (you!):

  1. Have a thick skin and be willing to listen to the suggestions your readers make with an open mind, so that they feel at liberty to be completely honest. You don’t want them to hide the painful truths!
  2. Don’t take criticism personally, it’s not you, but your writing that is being critiqued. It’s likely that your work will need improvement—it will hardly ever be perfect the first time.
  3. You don’t have to take all advice on board. Sometimes you can stand by what you write if you feel strongly that there’s a good enough reason for it.

Advice to the reader on how to give honest and constructive criticism:

  1. Highlight any confusing passages and language that doesn’t make sense.
  2. Point out sections that are boring.
  3. Write down questions you have about the story so far that you’d like to see answered before the ending.

And Liberty’s parting words of wisdom to you, the writer: “Gag the inner critic and let loose the inner cheerleading team!”

Ready to get a jumpstart on your novel? Enter the 10K Novel Writing Challenge now

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