Put It In Their Hands

SIMON SAYS_KINDLE

 

If you have seen my Facebooks ads, you know that my new book, Simon Says, is finally listed for sale on Amazon. If not, I’d like you to see the blurb from the back cover.

But first, I’d like to share with you what I learned from having Beta Readers involved as part of the final process.

Prior to the final edit,  I sent my Beta Readers the manuscript as an email attachment, along with instructions and a series of questions to focus on while they read. The majority of them read the book—in its unedited form—on their computers. One printed out all 250 pages.

I got the most useful information from the person who printed it out. She held it in her hands (most similar to reading a book) and actually marked on it, leaving comments in the margins.

I remember an author friend of mine making the suggestion several years ago that we put the manuscript on Create Space so we could actually send it to Beta Readers in book form, as proof copies. This would allow them to hold it in their hands, turn actual pages, write in it or flag pages to be referred to on the comment sheet.

At the time, I thought that was a lot of work and expense, but now I can see the value in following my friend’s suggestion. It was immediately obvious to me as I read the feedback from my Beta Readers. (I have written, previously, about the value of using Beta Readers, so if you didn’t see that blog, please retrieve it from the archives).

The reason we involve Beta Readers is so we can use their feedback to improve our final product. So, it is to our best advantage to set up the entire experience so we are able to gather the best possible information.

That being said, Here is my final product, in time for your summer reading:

Abandoned by his father at birth.

Tormented by neighborhood bullies.

Misunderstood by classmates and teachers.

Then, at seventeen, things begin to change for Marcus. 

A victim of years of rejection due to physical abnormalities and social awkwardness, he finds purpose as the result of an unlikely friendship and faith in God through the power of grace. 

But when past disappointments resurface and create roadblocks to his new life, will Marcus find the strength to extend forgiveness to those who mistreat him?

Will he finally experience the love and acceptance that has eluded him for so long?

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Get Cranking!

So, you get your submission back from your critique group. They have a few “suggestions” for improvement.

Your manuscript is returned from your editor with hundreds of “red lines”. A major rewrite is in order.

Your Beta Readers are less than enthusiastic about the plot or characters in your latest book. You need to tear it apart and see where it went wrong.

Negative comments are inevitable, but we cannot let them devastate us as writers. When you get them, first “consider the source”. Then, if the source is credible and the person is someone you respect, spend as little time as possible wallowing in despair.

I say: “get cranking.” Learn what you need to learn; do what you need to do. Use all of that pent up frustration in the direction of making improvements.

Oh, to be sure, we love those positive comments that make us feel successful, but it’s those negatives that can really light the fire under us. They have the power to propel us to greatness if we turn them around and view them as positives.

We can even learn to be thankful for them, because they are the ones that stretch us as  writers and spur us on to learn and grow in our craft!

If we allow ourselves to be devastated by negatives, we will soon find ourselves deep in a black hole of gigantic proportions, stagnated and unable to ever face the computer keyboard again.

When riders are thrown from a horse, the best advice they receive is to get back in the saddle as soon as possible. As writers, that “horse” may look like a harmless chair on rollers. But, here’s the point:

Don’t let negatives define you.

Use them to your advantage and

Get Cranking!