Critiques Are Good!

So I just realized it’s Thursday and I’m leaving for Ohio in two hours! Normally that wouldn’t be an issue, but  I haven’t written my blog for today. I am too busy. How do you forget something you’ve been doing every Tuesday and Thursday for the last five months?

So I’m continuing with the revision of my book, and if you follow me, you know I’m having it critiqued by other aspiring authors on Scribophile. I know I’ve already promoted the site, but let me say it one more time. If you have started a novel, or want to start a novel, sign up. It’s free. They do offer extras for a $65 dollar a year fee, but you don’t need to bother with that. At least not until you’ve check it out and know for sure it’s working for you.  You can post work and do critiques without the membership.

At any rate, I’ve developed somewhat of a friendship with one of the members, who far surpasses my writing skills, I might add, and we are critiquing each others work as it is posted.  I messaged her today to let her know that I posted a new segment and to apologize in advance.

It amazes me, how many errors I miss. Am I getting better? Truthfully yes, but my work still looks like a Christmas tree when she finishes marking it up. The bad part is, the mistakes are so obvious when she points them out.  I’m a pretty smart lady. Why am I not seeing them ?

The only thing I can come up with, is I’m too close to the story.  Are you too close to your story? I can’t emphasize enough the importance of having others review your work. I’m not talking about family and friends, I’m talking about people who will be honest and know what they are looking for.

I would like to invite you to join me on my journey, as I share my ups, downs, and  information that will hopefully help  you along the way.

-Jan

Critiques Are Good!

Working With Beta Readers

So you’ve completed your manuscript and want to have a beta reader review it prior to sending it to an agent or editor. Having your work reviewed by a new set of eyes is a great idea! We are so close to our work that we don’t pick up on things that a new set of eyes would see. You might think it’s great and it might be but odds are, it still isn’t where it needs to be.

Beta readers are a great option. Unlike family and friends, they are impartial and will tell you the truth. Also if you find the right beta reader, they will be experienced in writing and reading manuscripts. They will know what to look for and what works and what doesn’t.

Warning! While most beta readers are great people who want to help you out, because they are in the same boat, there are those who will steal your ideas. Choose your reader carefully. If you choose someone you’ve developed a relationship with, they may think twice before pinching your content. Loyal readers of your blog, or previous books would make excellent beta readers.

In my last post Beta Readers, I  pointed out a few websites you could follow up on as well. Wattpad and Scribofile are probably the most popular. If you want a local group, try meetup.com.

So if you do decide to work with a beta reader there are a few things you should keep in mind.

  1. Don’t give them a draft. Give them your very best work. Give them the manuscript you thought was ready to submit. You don’t want them bogged down in structural and grammatical errors. You want them to see the content.
  2. Ask them what format they would like it in (mobi, epubfile or pdf). They may want to print it out or read it on a kindle.
  3. Let your beta reader know what kind of feedback you are looking for. If you create a list, they want spend their time punctuating sentences.
  4. Don’t take it personally. Your beta reader may not come back with platitudes. Thank them for their comments and move on.
  5. Return the favor. Most Beta readers aren’t being paid to read your book. They are offering input because they want to help or are interested in your books premise or topic.

Hope this helped you on your journey. I would love to hear from you. If you have any comments or suggestions please let me know. Also I would like you to consider following me. I post on Tuesdays and Thursdays of each week and you will receive an email whenever I enter a new blog or revise and existing one. Thank you for your consideration.

-Jan R

Working With Beta Readers

Beta Readers

So I’ve been at this for five years and thought I had a good idea how things worked and the tools available to assist with publication.  I was wrong. I read a blog by Joynell Schultz this past week that mentioned using a Beta Reader. I had never heard of that term.

I can talk all day about dialogue, settings, character development, on-the-nose-writing, head bopping. I think you get the idea. I’ve been so busy learning how to write and getting my manuscript ready that I haven’t put a lot of time and effort in to the getting it published side of things.

So I am hoping to have my work ready to go in about three months. I am doing one more read through with minor revisions and then hope to have it reviewed before I send it in again.

With this in mind I thought I should follow up and find out just what a Beta Reader is. I have had family and friends read my work in the past but they are not always the best people to ask to read your work.  They care about you and have a tendency to overlook flaws in your work. Also, most of your friends and family probably don’t understand the craft. If you’ve been writing for a while you know there’s more to it than putting pen to paper.

So Beta Readers are not explicitly proofreaders or editors, but can serve in that context. Elements highlighted by Beta Readers include things such as plot holes, problems with continuity, characterizations or believability, in fiction or non-fiction. Beta Readers might also help the author with fact-checking.

A good Beta Reader would be a person who would buy and read your book if it were on the market. This person would also know more about the writing craft than you.

Places to find Beta Readers include Scribofile, Wattpad or a local writing/critique group (meetup.com). You may have to pay a small fee for a Beta Reader but many will review your work for free.

I do plan to discuss Beta Readers a little more in my next post. Hope this helped someone on the journey.  I would love to hear any comments or suggestions to make my blog more useful.

Please consider following me and press the follow button at the bottom of the page.  You will received emails whenever I update or write a new blog.

-Jan R

 

Beta Readers