Receiving Feedback and Resulting Confusion

Tastes are varied when it comes to literature.  This is good news.  People will undoubtedly like the book about your psychic goldfish and the poodle divorce case someday!   If, that is, you can get it into the right hands.
And now the difficult news:  Receiving feedback can be a very confusing thing. 

I am getting help from some people with my poem rewrites.  I am very thankful for every piece of information that people throw my way and have managed to make some good changes.  However, some people tell me one thing and some tell me another.  How am I supposed to know which way to turn?

Yes, I am the author.  I know the decision is ultimately up to me.  It doesn't really comfort me, though.
I am trying to take the editor's advice as well as my readers'.  Sometimes, I feel like the editor is nudging me in a direction I don't wish to go.  Do I keep going for the sake of publication or do I put my foot down for the sake of my art?
I have had some really bad editors when it comes to me sticking up for my writing, even though I agree to many changes/rewrites without complaint.  They say I am difficult and then refuse to publish the poem (which is their right) when I don't make EVERY change down to the last capital letter.  I don't believe this editor is like that but I am not sure I like what is coming of this.

What do you guys do when this happens?


  1. I think first and foremost you have to make sure your work stays true to what you want. It's important to keep every opinion in mind, but the most important opinion is yours.

  2. It sounds like you already know what you want. You can always try to find a compromise between your wants and the editors, but you also have to live with that decision.

  3. Of course the final decision is up to you, and you have to ask yourself if you trust your editor? Is the place you publishing reputable and has the editor previously done good work? If you it is a reputable place, then you have to sit back and think about all that he has said and implement the changes that you agree with. Then you might try, if you strongly disagree, to ask the editor to explain to you why he wants to make a change and maybe with understanding you will agree with him, but if you still don't then you have to do what you feel is right. If you trust your editor, then sometimes you have to listen to the professional rather than so many other voices. However, we don't want to publish something that the readers would not read. It is a hard decision to make and only you can walk through that door. But poems aren't written in stone; you can creatively rearrange sentences and flip stanzas upside. Do some experimentation (without committing) and see what you come up with. you might surprise yourself. Good luck!

  4. Well, I reworked the one poem and sent it in to the editor. I gave her two versions to choose from and I will go from there.
    I am sitting on the other poem still.