Wednesday, 30 August 2017

When Readers Write: How to Love Feedback from Your Readers

As authors, Fran and I hope our words will touch those who encounter them. This week we have been blessed to have three readers share with us how they have been affected by our book. Excerpts are quoted here with permission.

Judy Fryer sent me a photo as she was settling down to continue reading.

Judy: My afternoon reading! Really enjoying the book and finding it helpful, interestingly written and touching.

Martin: Thank you so much! It’s beyond amazing when someone shares how they are finding the book. What works for them. What resonates. It’s a cliché to say it makes it all worth it, but it’s true!

Judy: Indeed it is so worth all the blood sweat and tears. Having ‘cared’ for my son the best I knew how 20 odd years ago, when I knew nothing about depression let alone Bipolar, I find myself thinking back and wishing I had had a resource like HTLT to support me and give me hope. It is written with such care, understanding, compassion and honestly, one cannot help but connect and feel there is a way through.

Martin: We wrote it for friends, because of course that is my relationship with Fran, that is what I/we know, and there isn’t really anything else specifically for friends. Julie A. Fast recommends it to some of her family coaching clients, especially to siblings. And you mention its relevance to you as a parent. That’s very humbling to hear.

Judy: Oh yes, it’s really helpful because if a person is new to all this depression/ bipolar etc it is mighty hard to get one’s head around it all. It’s so reassuring to have guidance from a book like yours. Thank you. I already have two people who want to read it. I want them to buy their own!

The second feedback was a review posted on Amazon by someone for whom I have the utmost respect: Stigma Fighters founder and CEO Sarah Fader. Her review includes these lines, which mean a great deal.

This is an inspirational tale for anybody living with mental illness and their loved ones. As the founder of a mental health nonprofit I highly recommend it.

I’ve known Judy and Sarah a few years now. They have followed me and Fran in our journey as friends and co-authors. The third feedback we’ve received this week comes from someone I’ve known for no more than a couple of weeks.

I met Marie Abanga through a mutual friend, Amy Gamble, when Marie posted a review of Amy’s new book, Bipolar Disorder: My Biggest Competitor. I contacted Marie to ask if she might be interested in reviewing High Tide, Low Tide. She said yes. I won’t say she is regretting it, but it is clear our book has affected Marie more deeply than she might have imagined.

She has been exploring her responses on her blog, as well as in chat conversation with me. I invite you to read the following two posts, and the comments her readers have left for her. It is clear she has some good friends who seem to know her and responded beautifully to what she shared online.

Post #1: Has anyone ever felt a stab in their soul while reading?

Now, I have read so so so many books but I never felt a stab in my soul while reading. Two days ago, I accepted to review a book and the Arc [Advance Review Copy] was sent to me. I was excited to read this book because I was looking forward to learning a lot from what promised to be an insightful book. The thing is, it is so insightful it stabs my soul. For all the reading I love and can do, I haven’t been able to go past chapter two.

Post #2: Five Reasons why I’ll finish reading High Tide Low Tide

I have come to realize the fifth and most important reason am reading this book is for me; It’s healing and making peace with and for me; and learning to be and do better for others....

In chat, I shared how welcome and valuable such honesty is:

Marie, your blog post is... Wow! Honest and raw with your feelings and emotions! So much more valuable than a simple “Yes, I liked this book.” We have had a range of responses to our book, and a good number of Amazon reviews as you have seen, but we’ve never had someone blog about their response to our book. I am so very grateful for you doing this.

I look forward to learning more about my new friend Marie as she works her way through the book. An author herself (also coach, speaker, consultant and mental health advocate), Marie has an Amazon author page, as well as her website.

The message here is that there is no “correct” response to a book. Your response to any book—especially one like ours which deals with the sometimes harsh realities of relationships, illness and support—will be personal, perhaps intensely so depending on your history, experience, and willingness to engage with what might be difficult emotions.

Fran and I obviously hope people will find our book of interest and relevance, but we have no right to expect everyone will like it, or find it easy going. We value honesty and openness in our readers every bit as much as we value it in each other and in our personal relationships.

So, if you’ve read our book please take a moment or two to let us know what you thought. How did it affect you? What did you feel? What did you like about it? Dislike? Find most challenging? Contact us directly if you would like to. Post a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Goodreads. It’s clear from Marie’s blog that people really do read them!

I am consoled and motivated by some lines from one of the reviews I found helpful on Amazon, written by AngryGnome “…This book is not light hearted reading… But in spite of the serious nature of the illness, it is not depressing, as it is filled with hope, humour and more than a touch of beauty.”

Thank you Marie, Sarah, Judy, and all our dear readers—for writing.



  1. Dear twosome, I have by now read past chapter 5. It daily discovery and seriously ñow, I dont want to finish the book. I have equally already written two poems inspired by my reading of your book. Thanks for all the mentions, Marie

    1. Hi Marie, thank you for sharing with us your journey, as you read through our book, integrating that into your self and your world and your words (blog and poetry and in our conversations). It is a rich experience indeed, to have one's own words taken up creatively by another!