Beta Readers Rock


Picture this, if you will.

Last year, I was about 75% of the way through writing a women's fiction novel when I had the craziest dream of a girl fighting her way out of a burning hospital. What started out as a short story proved to be a full length novel, and two sleep deprived months later, I completed the first draft. After a month long cooling period, I started editing my work, focusing mainly on the first chapter so that I could pitch my story at an upcoming SCWG conference.

This was my first conference and my first completed manuscript. I was nervous as hell as I prepared my pitch, synopsis, and query letter. My delivery as I pitched the agents most likely reflected an over-caffeinated neurotic more so than my usual self.

The goal was to sit with two of the most queried agents in the business and not screw up my pitch. I left the conference after speaking with not two, but three agents, all of which requested either partial or full reads. Rock on.

Needless to say, the Space Coast Writer's Guild Conference was incredibly inspiring for me. I was on fire to get through my edits and get solid work in the mail, like yesterday. That's not exactly what happened.

My inspiration continued to move me to write and my passion for the story never dwindled, however; my schedule became really crazy. The Fates seemed determined to keep my fingers from the keyboard.

Until last week.

Finally, after six incredibly long months, I was able to resume edits. It feels great. Honestly, knowing that this manuscript has potential is making the rough work and long hours pass like minutes on a beach shore.

If you aren't sure if you're wasting your time with your work, have someone you trust read it. I've written about the value of critique groups and trusted readers before, but the topic deserves a re-attack.

If I didn't belong to a critique group, my writing wouldn't stand a chance at improving. Trusted readers not only helped me make my story better by providing comments, but also gave me confidence that the story would hold interest. Without these amazing cohorts, I can assure you that my work wouldn't turn the heads of any agents. All writing should be screened by a beta group before landing in front of people that you want to help sell it.

In short, I'm back to work. Beta readers, get your eyes ready and brew a pot of something strong. A great zombie story is headed your way soon.


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