Are You Publishing to Connect with Readers or Just to Publish?

These are two different things. I was reminded of this when I stepped into a lively discussion recently in a Facebook group. There was an author recommending to other authors that they should bypass the editing process and simply have a family member proofread their soon to be self-published book. This doesn’t work for me.

When I published my first book I had one primary purpose—I wanted readers to read my book. And yes, there were other parts of the dream too. I wanted my friends and family to hold my book in their hands and see what I’d done, and I wanted to hit the bestseller lists and have the royalty payments arrive so quickly that I couldn’t spend the money fast enough. That part of the dream is contingent on my main objective being realized first though. Before anything else happened, I had to connect with readers, and to do that I needed to produce a professional product. If I’d just wanted to hold a book in my hands, and show off my writing to those around me, it would have been much simpler. I didn’t, though. I believe that I’m a pretty good writer and I want to earn my living writing and to do that I need to find readers. So, I got some help. Continue reading “Are You Publishing to Connect with Readers or Just to Publish?”


The Dreamt Child - a novel by Yvonne HertzbergerThe goal was to have my book out to my beta readers by this week. In order to get there I had to cut down on some of my other commitments, but I made it. Two wonderful people already have their copies and I hope the other two will arrive in the next day or two so I can hand them over.

Putting “The End” to that first draft gave me some mixed reactions. Since this book will be the final installment of a trilogy, this milestone brought some surprising emotions. We spend so much time struggling to type those two words. Then, when it finally comes, we expect to be elated, to feel a sense of accomplishment, relief and even euphoria. At least I did.

The hard part is supposed to be over, right? Sure, there are revisions to make and endless rounds of editing but the story is complete. So why are those expected feelings so fleeting, or missing altogether? They were there when I completed the first book. What changed?

At first I thought I might be experiencing a reluctance to let go of my world, my characters and my story. And there is some of that, I agree. But there is much more to it. Continue reading “Breathe”

Finding Beta Readers

The process of converting a first draft of a manuscript to a polished novel is a daunting one. The manuscript is like a cake; the batter is mixed, but the wet and dry ingredients may not yet be smoothly combined. Once this mixing is finished we still need to bake the batter, cool the cake and ice it. Beta listeners and readers are a critical resource to consult during this creative process.

Having a beta listener is a great way to start. If you are like me, when you are writing the first draft several options or plot directions will be available. It is immensely helpful to have a person who will listen while you talk through a plot twist. Speaking out loud to an attentive listener will often clarify the best direction.

Beta readers are also known as manuscript doctors. Laurie Boris has given tips on how best to direct a beta reader. A beta reader must know what their specific job is with regard to your manuscript. Handing your manuscript to three friends who love you and asking for general feedback will rarely net you any constructive criticism. This is the point in the process where you need a thick skin and an open mind. It is better to find, for example, a timeline problem now than have it pointed out in a review on Amazon.

The question is; where can you find several people who will be happy to read your rough diamond and feel comfortable giving you constructive criticism? It is easier than you may think. Continue reading “Finding Beta Readers”

Six Ways to Drive Beta Readers Crazy

Beta readers are like gold. They are awesome, generous people who give their time to help you work the bugs out of your manuscripts before you publish. Just like anyone else you enlist or pay to help you finalize your finished product, it’s a relationship that works best when you have mutual respect, cooperation, and good communication. I’ve been a beta reader and have had my manuscripts read by them. During that time, I’ve learned that there are six guaranteed ways to ruin that relationship and drive the poor betas up the wall: Continue reading “Six Ways to Drive Beta Readers Crazy”