I’ve been checking up on the blogs I follow closely, but I haven’t been doing much blogging myself. My world had been consumed by beta reads and edits. It’s not really a chore. It’s rather fun to see how the variety in readers is represented through their fresh visions of my work.
After a year and a half, I received my first one star review on “Red Clay and Roses” yesterday.
It was really simple. Ten words. But that was all they really needed to say and guess what?
I get it! And I sincerely appreciated this:
“Story was too segmented and I felt a little confusing.”
I have admitted from the get-go that that this book is different. It was not written by a standard formulaic novel template. There is an Introduction, Part One, Part Two and a Conclusion that are all unique in writing style, POV, and person. Most people are going to be able to go with it and some not. That’s okay.
I’m, of course, disappointed that I let a reader down so badly that they felt a one star was necessary. We always are. That’s a sad note.
What am I doing about it this time that’s different?
I learned about beta readers from my blogging friend authors and I have to tell you they are invaluable. You get to learn so much from a cross-section of the population that isn’t family who are invested in you emotionally.
I started out with nine and worked through five readers notes, so far It’s been a wonderful experience. Here’s some questions being answered:
- Are you satisfied with the plot and characters?
- Were there points you could really relate to personally?
- Were there points you couldn’t relate to?
- What did you enjoy most?
- At what points did you feel frustrated? Why?
- Do you feel satisfied with the last act?
- Can you summarize the book in a few sentences? How did the book make you feel after?
These are all things your family is going to struggle with, but good beta readers shoot from the hip and tell you like it is. One of the nicest things about beta reading is that you get to go back and forth with the reader to discuss the book without any fear of ruining it for others with spoilers.
I don’t have any grandiose delusions that I can pump out a novel that is going to be perfect on the first or second draft, or even on the fifth draft. Truth is: readers all have their own life experiences and knowledge base. Some are highly skilled and talented when it comes to writing and some are novice writers who simply enjoy a good read. I love you all!
We need to hear from all of you before we try to market to the world at large. That’s why I am glad that I have more than a couple of betas.
“Naked Alliances” is a much better product today than it was back on June 8th, when I completed the first draft, and I could not have done it without you!
I am eternally grateful for the help I have had so far and look forward to the feedback from the next four.
Do you use beta readers?
What’s your experience with later drafts and editing?
Have you ever read a draft for someone who hasn’t yet published?
Share you experiences.