Reader Comments/Reviews, what do you prefer?

So, I’m curious. What kinds of comments do you feel are most helpful to you as a writer?

Do you like:

  • Attaboys - Positive comments comments such as “I love it,” “This is great!”
  • General Feedback - “Overall I liked it, but I think _______________ could use some improvement.”
  • Detailed Feedback - The above, but specific examples are shown to help improve your craft.
  • Line Edit Level feedback - Corrections provided for flow, grammar, punctuation and any other areas for improvement.

Does the circumstance or your intent for the story modify your desire for certain kinds of feeback? Are there certain approaches from reviewers you respond better to over others?

Please let me know how you like your comments…


This please. I want to grow as a writer.

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A combination of 1 to 3, personally.

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I like detailed feedback the most. Line edit level feedback the least.

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I wouldn’t want this out of the blue, to be sure. But I have requested this level of feedback from select individuals. (Friends who are fellow writers, specific Beta read agreements, and the like)

I think even detailed feedback is best received from someone the creator is familiar with rather than just some random reader. (This would be for me someone who has read multiple chapters and has asked to point out specifics… or I know they’re being helpful.)

General feedback for me falls into “I want this level from a new reader.” It tells me they’re paying attention and are willing to express things that confuse them. As a writer I want to hear when my readers aren’t connecting what I’m trying to say.

I actually like “attaboys” the least (At least by themselves). I guess it’s because early in the game, people who reviewed my work in this fashion often pulled off “Shameless Plugs” with their next breath. (IE “I love this. Please review my story XXXX”.) The propensity made me leery of straight up positives without examples of why they like it.


Probably want Attaboys with Detailed Feedback.

It’s nice to get the Attaboys because then I know I’m doing something good with my stuff. But I don’t want to just hear “I love it” although those are nice. I want to know why or what. I wanna know the exact things they liked or thought were great.

General Feedback with Attaboys are okay, but maybe I want to know exactly what someone means when they say “make the character likeable” for example. Like…what are you seeing here that isn’t likeable, because I’m not seeing it. And what can I do that this character would become likeable in your opinion? I need to know.

That’s why Detailed Feedback with Attaboys is the best combination and what I try to do in my reviews unless the writer specifically asks for something else. I do it this way because it’s what I like to get as a writer. It’s what I find most helpful. These reviews are written by writers who know that writers like to get a pat on the back but also enjoy suggestions and tips to improve their craft.

Line edit level feedback isn’t something I want to hear unless I specifically ask for it. If people start leaving comments like this, yeah, I thank them, but I really wanted to know what they thought of the story.

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Attaboys are good to be sure, just not by their lonesome. A boost to the ego is great, but getting specifics is better.


I take anything anyone gives. I’m not naturally inclined to liking praise, though so if and when someone loves what I did, I’m a little baffled by the cheering.

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It depends on whom it’s coming from, speaking as someone who’s received all sorts. Detailed feedback is the most interesting to read, though when the authors have extremely out-there opinions (or clearly wrong ones) it shifts into maximizing entertainment value rather than being most helpful. Attaboys are nice but can ring as hollow if excessive and if the author clearly has no prolonged interest in reading.

Line edits are helpful sometimes to spot typos or silly mistakes, but are more subjective than people realize. I’ve left them on other books for other readers to respond months later disagreeing, or readers with novel ideas about the comma worthy of a journal publication to try and share their wisdom with me, again where it helps little.

If I had an AI program that with a click of a button would generate a new reader persona and leave comments across all my work, I would have it leave detailed feedback every time. But when quality is uncertain, something smaller is the safest bet.


Any and all are welcomed for me…

I’m not the one who cries because someone said this or that, but I do take onboard what they say in all that it is.

It’s also hard to decipher who is the Atterboy’s from those who genuinely like what you have written.


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I prefer feedback, whether detailed or line-edit level, or heck a mixture of both. If I’m critiquing someone’s work, I go for these two because I would’ve wanted the same done to mine. I can’t stand “attaboy” comments, or generalized comments where they tell you absolutely nothing to improve.

I understand why some don’t like the line-edit level stuff, but truthfully, it helps when you’re in revision mode because then you have someone’s notes to sift through and don’t have to figure out what else you can do.

I’m okay with anything else if I don’t ask for it. If you randomly find my story and leave a comment, whether it’s “This is so good!” or “I liked it. I do suggest to strengthen this section a bit, though.” …then I’ll be glad to have gotten a comment, whether I made someone’s day or not. But if I ask for feedback or if you’re a reader willing to give a decent, harsh critique, I’d be all over that in a heartbeat. People don’t generally like unsolicited advice, but when it comes to writing, I adore getting it because it makes my job as a writer far easier.

Now, when it comes to how reviewers treat me is a different story. If someone gave a lot of opinionated feedback (“This name sounds silly. You should change it.” “I don’t like how this character acts. You should make them more mature.” Etc.) all I’ll really do is just thank them and move on. I might consider their advice if I look back and realize if I might’ve been wrong—because I try to keep an open mind; thinking of my work as not only a writer, but an editor and reader as well—but I go a lot more in-depth with comments that sound more open minded and objectively, as in… this is their experience talking, not their opinions.

Opinionated feedback is different to experienced feedback. Of course, most—if not, all—feedback has a combination of both, but the majority of reviewers I see often give opinionated feedback because they either aren’t writers or aren’t skilled writers. So they generally talk about things they liked, didn’t like, what makes or doesn’t make sense to them, etc. Experienced feedback is where you talk about things you’ve learned over time about storytelling, craft, and revision. This is talking about grammar, character agencies and arcs, pacing, and more.


I love all of the feedbacks, but only if I ask for them first, otherwise I can’t guarantee I’m ready to receive it. If the Attaboys had reasons or examples of what they thought was great, I love them, but otherwise I don’t really know what to make of them xD

I want to add another category: reaction comments - just what the reader is asking, thinking and feeling in the moment while reading it. Those are my favorites <3

“Oh please, he’s not your dad. He has no obligation to keep you safe.”
“It feels like there may be a double meaning behind this… hmm”
“I knew I liked her for a reason. She’s like me and curiosity leads her which is fun and dangerous”

I find that I’m usually self-critical enough that the feedback people give me is stuff I already know is wrong. Reaction comments on the other hand help me figure out what the reader is thinking/feeling about the scenes/characters when their writer-brain is turned off and I find it so much more helpful with improving my stories in the long run. Like if a scene is supposed to be tense, and the reactions aren’t reflecting the mood I’m going for, then I know it’s not working and I need to change up how I go about my descriptions/pacing in those kinds of scenes, if that makes sense :smiley:


I only expect line edit level if I’ve asked someone to thoroughly comb through it to point out every comma and so on. However, I DO want people to point out obvious typos or sentences that were arranged in a way that it was hard to read/understand.

Other than that, 1 and 3 are fine. Def always need some of 1. If I’m doing something awesome in my writing, I want to know. :heart: Not just the stuff that needs improvement. :pray:

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Yes, this! :muscle:

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HEE I am realizing as I’m seeing everyone’s reactions and comments, I wanted to make clear, that I don’t think these things are mutually exclusive. There certainly can be combinations of each of these throughout what I hope for in my reader comments.

But I do think that if I’m talking stand-alones, I do not want people to JUST tell me this is great… because as someone mentioned it isn’t really actionable. Tell me it’s great and give me some examples they think so, and perhaps some things that didn’t work well and I’m very happy.

I am currently working with another person in Beta who has given me some fodder to chew on, and has actually pushed me to rewrite/add to a story I wrote a while ago that isn’t as good as it COULD be. So yeah line edits and gut checks, and such do well together to help me get where I need to be.

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I like a combination of all of these but it also depends.

I’m not looking for a detailed feedback from an average reader or even a well-meaning writer. Not if I didn’t ask for it. Very often those are misguided. I’m at a point of my writing journey when I can get picky about whose critique I’m going to treat seriously and I really don’t need some random 15-year-old to give me writing lessons.
I’m not saying that young people can’t be good writers or that they can’t offer valuable insight, but there are limits to their knowledge and experience really does matter. I was a new writer once too. I wouldn’t have taken my advice from back then either. :sweat_smile:

However, brief general feedback of random readers is very valuable. If multiple people start hating a part, then there might be something to it. Or if even one person raises an important point that I haven’t thought of before, that’s also valuable. I’m just not looking for advice. Tell me if you don’t like something, but don’t try to tell me how to fix it. Let me worry about that.

Line edits? Only if there’s a blatant typo, etc. I always run things through Grammarly so it catches the worst of them so I’m really not worried about that. If I wanted proper line edits, I’d hire an actual editor, otherwise, I think I’m doing a good enough job for the internet.

Attaboys? Always welcome. I just got one recently that made me all soft inside. It’s such a dopamine rush. Please, keep them coming, but do be aware that being specific with what exactly you liked is even better than a plain “love it.”

As to in which situation I would like a detailed feedback. I exchange critique with other writers. I have a regular group, it’s our thing. We send each other stuff and talk about it over voice chat. This format works best for me. I want to know what type of a writer I’m dealing with, what their strengths and weaknesses are and I know that from reading their own submissions. So if someone has a poor writing style but good character development, guess which advice of theirs I’m going to listen more attentively to.

With random readers, I don’t have that rapport. I don’t know if I can trust them and it’s dangerous to listen to advice of people who might mean well but don’t know what they’re doing. I’ve been known to go into an overthinking mode in those situations that make me want to give up. I don’t get those overreactions when I do critique with my group because there we can talk it over and I can ask follow up questions immediately. Their critique doesn’t send me into a spiral.

100% this.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion but an opinion isn’t equal to valuable feedback. I wish people were more aware of their strengths and limitations.

lol, those are the ones I have no clue what to do with. I’m happy to get any form of engagement but when someone comments, I feel obligated to respond but if it’s just a reaction, then it’s better if I don’t respond or else I’d just be parroting them and that’s a bit ridiculous.

This is a dangerous road to go on though because
a) only a tiny fraction of your readers will actually comment,
b) lack of comments could be a result of the reader being engrossed in the story and that’s a good thing.

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This… for sure this…

I like emotional in-line reactions where people spontaneously say something to my character or about them. I also love when people leave comments at the end of the story out of the blue. I don’t think I ever had one of these, but I would be thrilled if people posted on my conversation walls asking about books, sequels etc. Basically, anything that signals genuine excitement about my book is my fav


I feel like it depends on the book I am writing.

These I love on all of my books ! It makes me feel good about my writing and makes me want to improve

I think these help me the most if I have asked for these specific comments from readers etc