A little while ago I came across a story that perfectly illustrates the importance of finding the right audience. I’ve heard a few variations of the story, but no matter how you tell it, the principle rings true.
Know Your Value
A father said to his daughter “You have graduated with honors, here is a car I bought many years ago. It is pretty old now. But before I give it to you, take it to the used car lot downtown and tell them I want to sell it and see how much they offer you for it.”
The daughter went to the used car lot, returned to her father and said, “They offered me $1,000 because they said it looks pretty worn out.”
The father said, now “Take it to the pawn shop.” The daughter went to the pawn shop, returned to her father and said, “The pawn shop offered only $100 because it is an old car.”
The father asked his daughter to go to a car club now and show them the car. The daughter then took the car to the club, returned and told her father, “Some people in the club offered $100,000 for it because it’s a Nissan Skyline R34, it’s an iconic car and sought by many collectors!”
Now the father said this to his daughter, “The right place values you the right way. If you are not valued, do not be angry, it means you are in the wrong place. Those who know your value are those who appreciate you…Never stay in a place where no one sees your value.”
In many of the Facebook groups I’ve participated in, I often see someone posting about sharing their story with close friends and family members. They are super excited to have them read it, but afterwards they get lackluster responses regarding their story, and they get really down on themselves as a writer.
First off, whenever you decide to share your story with people, no matter what state it’s in, rough draft or published. Make sure you clarify your expectations of the reader. Are you wanting feedback on your world, character development, plot, or writing style? Or are you wanting them to tell you how good it is and it’s their favorite story they’ve ever read?
So often, we don’t actually want feedback, we want validation and praise and when it doesn’t come, disappointment ensues.
Like the story of the car, if you’re sharing your finished story with a friend or family member, make sure they really value the type of story you’ve written. Readers have preferred genres, and books outside of those are incapable of holding their attention.
Find an audience that values what you’ve written and seek for their feedback, it will be genuine and insightful. My recommendation first and foremost, is create/join a writing group. If you’re wanting some constructive feedback on any of your writing, feel free to reach out to me through the contact form on the right side of the page.
“Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.”
P.S. I’ve heard the same story where a father picks up a rock and has his son go to various people asking how much they would pay for it, and the last guy is a rock collector who offers $200,000 or something insane like that. It made me wonder where the dad was standing when he randomly picked up an extremely rare rock.