Beta Reading Process Part 3: The Data

This is the final part of an ongoing series about the beta reading process. To read the previous entries, visit Part I and Part II.

All right. You’ve wrapped up the beta reading process, and depending on the number of beta readers you had, you might have a lot of data to pore over. It can overwhelming, particularly if there is a lot of constructive comments. Heck, it might also have you seeing red because your manuscript is your special baby. That is why you, dear writer, need to take a deep breath and step back. Sure, browse the comments, read all of them from each beta reader, but don’t act on them, at least not yet. Continue reading

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Beta Reading Process Part 2: Writers vs. Readers

Diving further into the beta reading process, this time around we’re going to explore the readers themselves. Who makes the better beta reader, fellow writers or straight-up readers? Well, I’m afraid there will be no concrete answer to this question; however, I will share my own observations, because these two groups did bring different input to the table during the beta process.

For starters, I had three fellow writers (two who finished) and four readers — a good mix all said and done, and I highly recommend a good mix between the lot.  In particular, I noticed that the straight-up readers tended to finish the manuscript faster; two were scary fast and have already been sniffing around for the sequel (I need to get on that). Readers brought up some great points up, some of which were shared by the writers, but for the most part were very light on their comments and not as critical. I like to say they rolled with the punches. They were patient and waited until the end to draw conclusions, much like one would do with a published novel — to a point. Continue reading

Writing, waiting for a diagnosis and Grant

I don’t have a diagnosis. I just have a swelling thyroid that has nodules. And it sucks.

My doctor for the past few years has always commented on my thyroid, that it looked big to her. Blood work, however, has always come back stellar and I’d felt normal. Then this last time (this past April) in addition to blood work, she wanted an ultrasound. I heehawed about the ultrasound, thinking largely of the expense, but then my thyroid did something it hadn’t done before — it swelled. Suddenly, I’m having trouble sipping from a straw; of course, panic probably didn’t help.

I instantly scheduled the ultrasound, but couldn’t get in until after a work trip to Tampa, FL  — joy, right? So here, I was waiting and dreading. Continue reading

“Sisters” — A short romp through history

 

If you are looking for a short read, I highly recommend that you head over to Amazon quickly! Rachelle M.N. Shaw’s latest short story is free, and as my dad says (and he always does say it), nothing is better than free. To top it off, it’s a quality character-driven piece that focuses on the relationship of two sisters. I don’t want to say too much; however, those with siblings will likely relate to the challenges of growing up together and the morphing of the blood ties that always tie you to each other.

The free deal will be running through until tomorrow at midnight — so don’t turn into a pumpkin by passing up on this opportunity! And for those who use GoodReads (I don’t use it half as much as I should), you can reach the book via the following link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35219698-sisters.

Beta Readers, A Method

Beta readers provide feedback prior to querying or before self-publishing. They often provide invaluable pointers regarding a manuscript, though some might also be slackers. It happens.

Currently, I’m wrapping up additional revisions to my sci-fi novel, Heritage Lost. This has been a long ongoing project that undoubtedly, if you routinely follow my blog, you’ve read about and might be wondering “How long is she going to ticker with it?” Well, after continuing to hit a brick wall in querying process, I dialed back and decided to complete a portion of the writing process that most writers complete: aka the beta reader process.

I skipped over this not because I hadn’t seen any value to the process, but due to some personal hang-ups (I’d been burned once) and my alpha readers had all been extremely positive. However, when I received a string of basic form letter rejections, I decided I needed more eyes on it — specifically reader eyes. My alternative motive was I’m deeply considering self-publishing. It is still my goal to query more agents and a couple of publishers that accept unsolicited manuscripts, but I’m also viewing self-publishing as more viable, and I wanted an idea of how my book might be received by a variety of readers.

So I embarked on the beta reading process and gleaned quite a bit from the experience, with some readers confirming some of the concerns I harbored on a few points after my last read-through. I also learned a lot about the beta reading process, and what I’d do differently next time. Continue reading

Protecting Yourself

Free can come with a huge price. Are you willing to pay in the five figures?

Copyright is a challenging topic if you don’t have a law degree and haven’t studied up on it. Lord knows I am no expert myself, so I try to use as many of my own photos/graphics and public domain photos as possible on this blog — with a few exceptions that I feel fall under fair use (I could be wrong). I have also used “free” stock photos from MorgueFile.com. But how free are these  stock photos?

Well, you might notice that several photos have disappeared from this blog. It is a precautionary measure after reading Allison Puryear’s post, “I Got Sued (For Something You’ve Done!)” … It chilled me to the core. While MorgueFile is a legit website, a photographer could upload a photo after its been copyright and then collect huge bucks from an unsuspecting blogger, etc. — and it is completely legal.

Read Puryear’s article and stay safe on the internet! If you are in doubt when it comes to something being copyrighted, it might be best to pass that image/graphic by in favor of your own creation. One other protection to take when downloading free stock photos, or even purchasing them, is to screenshot the screen as you are doing so and keep all receipts.

Gen Con Recap #1: Structuring Life for Creativity

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One of the best seminars I had attended during Gen Con 2016 was Structuring Life for Creativity, which was presented by Sandra Tayler. It is a subject that I think a lot of writers struggle with; after all, we are all busy. Sometimes, our creative selves and our writing take second fiddle to life’s craziness. I have struggled between work (where I write and edit all daylong), freelance editing, my own personal writing and editing, social life, and leisure. I had good practices in place throughout high school, college, and even working in retail. But recently in my adult life, I’ve been struggling to create, so Tayler’s presentation really struck a chord.

Since attending her session, I have been writing regularly again, except recently … but it is a secret project that taps into another creative side of myself. I walked away completely refreshed and want to share some of my key takeaways from Tayler’s seminar:

Continue reading