Welcome Author Jo Sparkes of Feedback: How To Give It, How To Get It

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Today we have visting Indiewritersreview a Goddess Fish Tour promotion, author Jo Sparkes of Feedback:How To Give It, How To Get It! Ms. Sparkes has provided a guest post and giveaway. Ms. Sparkes is on tour with Goddess Fish promotions during the dates of April 23rd thru May 18th


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Feedback: How To Give It, How To Get It

by Jo Sparkes




Please follow Author Jo Sparkes at her other tour locations! virtual-book-tour-feedback-how-to-give.html


Feedback … a kinder word for criticism, is an organic component to life.

When a toddler learns to walk, he falls. He screams, cries – and persists. What would happen to the human race if he gave up after a few bumps?

Before we could read self-help books, before we could understand a language and sit in a classroom, we learned by trial and error. “Feedback” is the natural teaching process. It’s how the creator set it up. It’s how the world actually works.

Here, at last, is a simple process for getting the most from all the feedback the world offers us.


GIVEAWAY! Enter to win!

Jo will be giving away a $50 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

So leave your email address and your best shout out…and enter to win a chance at this great prize!




That toddler learning to walk is a great example to us all.

The child has no fear of failure, no concern over how foolish he may look to others. He never pauses to consider if it’s worth the effort. And he pays no attention to anyone pointing out that seventy percent of his peers can already walk.

He wants it. He keeps trying until he gets it.

Somewhere along the path of life, we come to perceive mistakes as ‘bad’. We’re told ‘don’t make them; avoid them.’ You don’t get called in to account for yourself if you don’t make a mistake. Some people actually avoid mistakes by not doing anything at all.

That’s the reality. The only way not to make a mistake is not to do anything. Which means no real achievement, no real success.

I spoke to a friend who had achieved a very great deal – he’d made a huge amount of money as an entrepreneur. He was the type of person most would call wildly successful.

Yet it turns out that before he made money, he had lost money. He’d lost enough that those same people labeling him wildly successful now would term him an abject failure. It cost him two businesses.

But he believes if he hadn’t made that mistake, he would have never found the key to success.



“In her compact, wisdom-charged Feedback Jo Sparkes provides sharp, sharp, cogent, advice not only for writers but for all people who value creativity and seek to lead fulfilled, creative lives. 

“This slender volume provides more bang for the buck than far longer, weightier tomes. It is a splendid resource to which writers will refer repeatedly. 

– Richard Walter  Chairman of Screenwriting, U.C.L.A. 

“The lessons contained in “Feedback” are not for the writer who is merely looking for a compliment, but rather for those who are striving for accomplishment.”

–                  Barton Green  Author, Screenwriter and long-time friend 

Jo Sparks simplifies the feedback process in this concise easy to implement guide to giving and receiving feedback.  As an actress, I believe everyone can benefit from her experience, not just those in the industry. 

–       Tonetta Weaver, Actress


A well-known Century City Producer once said that Jo Sparkes “writes some of the best dialogue I’ve read.” Not only are those words a compliment to Jo’s skills as a writer,but a true reflection of her commitment to her work.

She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Washington College, a small liberal arts college famous for its creative writing program. Years later, Jo renounced life in the corporate world to pursue her passion for writing.

Taking every class she could find, she had the good fortune to study with Robert Powell; a student of renowned writers and teachers Lew Hunter, and Richard Walter, head and heart of UCLA’s Screenwriting Program.

The culmination of those years was the short-film “The Image”, which she wrote and produced single-handedly. And in so doing, she became fascinated with the dynamics of collaboration on a project.

Since then, Jo hasn’t looked back.  Her body of work includes scripts for Children’s live-action and animated television programs, a direct to video Children’s DVD, television commercials and corporate videos. She’s been a feature writer on ReZoom.com and a contributing writer for the Arizona Sports Fans Network; where she was called their most popular writer, known for her humorous articles, player interviews and game coverage. Jo was unofficially the first to interview Emmitt Smith when he arrived in Arizona to play for the Cardinals.

She has adjunct taught at the Film School at Scottsdale Community College, has teamed with a Producer on a low budget thriller, and a Director on a New Dramady.” She went in front of the camera for a video, “Stepping Above Criticism”, capturing a popular talk with her students.

Her new book, FEEDBACK  HOW TO GIVE IT  HOW TO GET IT, shares her lessons learned with writers, and indeed everyone dealing with life’s criticism.

When not diligently perfecting her craft, Jo can be found exploring her new home of Portland, Oregon, along with her husband Ian, and their dog Oscar.


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– Jo Sparkes

I think the tool of ‘fresh eyes’ is a most valuable resource. 

Whether it’s a long novel or a thirty second spot for television, having fresh eyes review it can see things a writer cannot. It’s that new perspective we all need to really know how we’re doing. It’s a sanity check, and it should never be wasted on a mere ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’. 

If you’re doing something small with a fast deadline, such as an article for a web publication, the editor or client often serves as the fresh eyes. I like to work closer with them on the first or second assignment, making sure what I’m doing is what they wanted. If possible I run the general idea by them before ever putting a word to paper. 

I just finished a thirty second commercial, for example, where the initial instructions were simple. But the producer’s idea of ‘quirky’ wasn’t quite the same as mine. By working in steps, and allowing him to help me hone in on what he – and the client – really wanted, we wound up with something pretty good. 

On a larger work, particularly a work on ‘spec’ – meaning there is no client – fresh eyes become vital. For me, editing is key to writing. That means I will change things, pull out a particular plot line, or add one in. The story is woven together like a tapestry, and when you start pulling threads you can unravel an entire section without ever realizing it. Fresh eyes see it immediately. 

I give the work to key people, friends and colleagues. Most important, I also give them a checklist. I have found, over the years, that many people will simple tell me it’s good, which actually doesn’t help. Moreover, they will tell me it’s good even if they don’t really like it, because they don’t want to hurt my feelings. 

By asking specific questions,  I give permission to tell me what I really need to know. Does the mystery makes sense? Do they follow the character, were they ever confused? Now I get valuable information back – the type of stuff I can actually do something about.  

Fresh eyes can also be found in yourself, if you set the work aside for a few weeks. By putting it away and working on something else, when you do pick it up later, you can read it fresh – and suddenly see things otherwise hidden, such as the character Marcus that you cut out of your story is still there at the castle scene following your heroine, before disappearing off the face of the earth. For me, this option is not as good as others feedback – but it’s better than skipping the step altogether. 

Never use fresh eyes to validate you as a writer. Use them to seek the weak spots in your work, so you can address them. Let validation come from other sources.

Author Jo Sparkes is giving away a $50 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during this tour


  So enter by leaving your best comment and email address in the comments section and you will then have a chance to win this awesome gift!