You say “thank you.” That’s it.
You remind yourself that this person took the time to (a) read your work, (b) give it enough thought to formulate comments, and (c) took the time to share those comments with you. You don’t get defensive or tell the person that he missed the point, that he doesn’t understand good writing, that he obviously wasn’t paying attention, that he doesn’t know or understand your genre, or that you never realized what an idiot he is in general until now.
If your reader asked any questions, you can answer them. If you are unclear about a criticism, you can ask for clarification. If you want to bounce a potential revision off him and see how he likes it, you can do that. And if you must – absolutely must – you can explain what you were trying to achieve with the work. Under no circumstances, however, can you tell the reader that he or she is wrong. Continue Reading