Peer Feedback: Yea or Nay?

November 25th, 2011

I’m curious about something: peer feedback… By people you don’t know.

I know most of us have a group of closely trusted friends we use as our critique group: those who we can trust to keep quiet about what we’re working on when we don’t want our amazing and awesome ideas to get out and have someone pull the proverbial rug out from under us and steal said precious idea.

I am, by my nature, a suspicious person. I was the one in grade school who always covered my answers, afraid someone was looking over my shoulder. I get uncomfortable even now when someone looks at my computer screen a little too long in my local B&N.

Yet, as I work on revisions and start turning my attention to the next step in the whole process, I’m starting to think more about getting feedback from my peers. Recently, I came across an awesome site/forum that (among other discussion areas) has a place for peer review.

note: what I’m about to discuss isn’t a reflection on any of the writing/author/whatever sites out there. It’s my being curious and posing a question to you all.

One of the areas of the website that has me intrigued is the section for Query feedback. There’s a part of me that really wants to post my query (when I get there, of course — I’m not quite there yet. But those who know me know that I research and prepare waaaaay before I need things) on the site and get some feedback. The writing and revising of the novel itself isn’t so bad — but as I’ve never written a query before, I find I’m worried about the tone and the format of the letter as, if it isn’t any good I’ve burned a bridge with an agent and can’t requery with the same project unless it’s greatly revised.

But on the other hand… I’m worried about tipping my hand with what I’m working on as well because the forums aren’t locked down at all. Being the law student who has done a LOT of copyright law, I know the ins and outs. I know my words are copyrightable but ideas aren’t.

Thus my conundrum: post and get feedback and risk someone sniping it OR don’t post and go at it wholly alone. Or, the third option, that there’s an unwritten rule amongst writers that you just don’t steal another author’s idea. I honestly don’t know. I know my own moral code leans to the third, but I also know not everyone would feel as I do.

And thus I ask: what would you do?

2 Responses to “Peer Feedback: Yea or Nay?”

  1. Kai says:

    I know exactly how you feel on this. I’m extremely skeptical when it comes to the internet, and I don’t trust it. But I have another option! Google query shark. It’s a blog written by an agent herself who gives feedback on queries. It’s helped me tremendously from getting back forum rejections to getting personal rejections, saying that the agent liked my query.

    And no, I don’t post my writing that I intend on publishing. It’s too risky.

    -Kai

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