I decided that I wanted to create a space for me to catalog my process and how my writing is going from week to week.
I started this publishing journey in November of 2019 (seems like a lifetime ago) and I’ve published 4 books since then, with at least 3 more on the way this year!
The one thing I have learned in that last year is that as a writer, you need to have someone else look at your work, and make sure that that person can tell you straight up if your writing is crap and how to help you fix it (because it is not their job to tell you how). I didn’t have that on my first novella Wrapped in Red and I deeply regret it. The reason I think your critique partners should be blunt is that that’s how good writing comes to be. Of course, there are authors who are born amazing and can write an amazing book without someone else’s eyes on them, but for me, I need those second or third pair of eyes.
Right now I have two Beta readers that are very near and dear to my heart. One is the sweetest woman you will ever talk to and the other is extremely blunt and never shies away from telling me something sucks or needs changing. Having these two polar opposites creates an amazing perspective on my writing, and without them my books wouldn’t be what they are right now.
If you are an aspiring writer and wonder, how did you find your Beta readers? I admit I had the same question when I first started. I asked anyone that would listen and no one really had an answer. Some said they were friends before and therefore just asked them to critique their work, others said they only used other authors and for me, that was impossible because I didn’t have any author friends yet. So I paid for one, and although it was my only option at the time, I regret it. The feedback wasn’t as specific as I wanted, and there were no strides to create change. So I released Wrapped in Red after editing and it got…mixed results.
Some readers loved it, and I do too because that book made me an author. That book was born at the right time in order for my dreams to come true and yet there were some readers that had very genuine concerns about my writing and the way the story played out. I would never, ever tell a blogger or reviewer to change their opinion, or say that their opinion doesn’t matter because it does…a whole lot. They are there to make you better. Of course, there are always going to be the Negative Nancy’s who only spew hatred and my advice on that is to ignore them as best you can. But if you see a reader with actual suggestions on how to make the story better? Then you’ve hit gold because that right there could be your new Beta reader.
That is how I found mine. I scoured my reviews on Goodreads and found some bloggers that had genuine issues with my plot, and I emailed them. I asked if they would be interested in reading my next release early and giving me their honest opinion. Did all of them work out? Of course not. Some of them were too nice, some of them too vague. But out of the six bloggers I emailed, two stuck, and I don’t know where I would be without them.
So if you are an aspiring author I suggest you listen to critiques. As much as it can hurt, it will make you a better writer and in the end, that’s all we want right? To create better more engaging stories that our readers will love.
Well, that’s all for me for now! Until next time!