Your writing is 100% publishable. Whether it will get taken up is a different matter entirely. Your writing excites, amazes, astounds. Currently all I see is “ownvoices” . That is a good thing and definitely worth and there should be more of it - but it seems to push every other topic out. It’s like the holy grail. Every publisher wants diversity and ownvoices and not much besides. It goes from one extreme to the other. So, I get the nasty suspicion we all might have to self pub and let the market decide. Having said that, I can definitely recommend my publisher. They have an entirely different concept and they take their editing scarily serious!!!
Your posts are always so inspiring to read Shalon. There is so much that resonates with me and I just wanted to say I genuinely enjoy just reading your posts here. I like the way you can stand aside your own thoughts and analyse them as a third person. Acceptance is the first step to change they say and you very clearly notice attributes about yourself that most people would continue to live with without acknowledging it. They might notice it but most of us hate to acknowledge that weakness.
I read most of your blog when I first came across it but I was too shy to even comment. I think it was your Fragments one that really stuck with me. Very useful piece of information.
Yeah it’s a rough time.
Lina, I wouldn’t give up just yet. You’ve only been working at it for a few years. Most published authors have to work for a long time to get published. It’s part of the process.
I’m willing to write another book if the market isn’t looking for my book right now. That’s a big possibility. It took me too long to write it! Apocalyptic sci-fi is OUT. You’re right: #ownvoices is the IN thing right now, but it won’t be forever. Eventually, the trends will change…
So if I can’t sell it, then I’ll need to write another book as my debut. I’ve heard from a lot of agents and writers that your debut really needs to fit all the market because the publishers don’t want to take a risk on an unknown. As soon as you’ve published your debut and it does okay, then they’ll take a risk on a book that’s isn’t necessarily what the market is begging for.
You can write, so you will definitely get published if you keep on writing. It takes a lot of persistence and a lot of experimentation before you can find your niche and be considered marketable by a publisher.
“We all might have to self-pub” It is the only way for me, never regretted my decision to self-publish. It has helped me understand the market much better.
Oh, thank you, Anu! I never knew. I honestly didn’t think anyone ever read my blog. That’s so sweet of you to say all of that… I’m kind of speechless.
I do like to acknowledge the mistakes I make. Some people think it’s a sign of weakness to admit our foibles, but I think it’s important to remember that I’m human.
The fragments article is the most popular topic on my blog. It was ground-shaking information for me when I learned it, and I was like, “Huh! Why don’t they teach us this in school!? If grammar was taught like this then maybe I would haven understood it!”
This is a beautiful photo, so exciting to hear that you had a great time and learned a lot <3
I’m looking for advice on organizing beta-readers. At the writing conference this weekend, a writer suggested sending beta readers one chapter at a time, and that way you can see when they ‘fall off,’ which means they’re not enjoying the story anymore.
I’m not sure how often do I send the chapters. And how do I choose the beta-readers. I’ve put out a call on Wattpad, and a few people have responded. But I’m not sure how helpful those people will be.
How do you choose your beta-readers? How do you organize them? How many do beta-readers do you engage?
Thanks for your help!
When I do beta reading, I prefer having lager chunks of the book and not only single chapters. In my opinion, it’s best to have the whole book, so I can jump and check out how the text develops. But then, I’m probably atypical as I do must of my beta reading with serious stuff, meaning scientific works, on a professional level.
But it has become natural for me to jump to different points in a fictional story too, just to find out if the style is consistent and get a quick glimpse at the development of the story arc…
As for how many… well, we usually only get one but are allowed to ask coauthors and friends to read it, of course. One beta who takes it seriously has to be enough, though. But perhaps other rules apply for fiction.
Finding good Beta readers can be tricky! I have a small pool of people from wattpad that I call on from time to time, although they do tend to focus on the SPG rather than the ‘big picture’ stuff. I’d suggest sending your work to as many people as offer, (You’ll probably find a few will drop out due to unexpected issues) but hopefully you’ll get enough back to give you some meaningful feedback. You can also assess which ones are most useful for you to keep on a list to ask next time! These days, I don’t like asking more than 3 or 4 people to do beta reads for me as it can get too confusing when they contradict each other, lol
I give mine the choice of using Word with Track Changes or Google Docs to do the actually commenting.
At one stage I had a couple of LGBT writers here that we used to exchange beta reads with, but unfortunately they’ve moved on to other platforms since. Also it can be tricky when they suggest so many changes it doesn’t feel like your work any more! On the other hand, the feedback can be more insightful from other writers you respect / enjoy reading, than from purely readers.
PS I agree with Jinnis - I’d send the whole work. I guess if you want to do a ‘test run’ (for both them and you), you could send a short story first?
Yes, I have my doubts about the people who’ve offered to read because they’re mostly silent readers. They have voted, but rarely comment, so I suspect they just want to read my MS for pleasure! Which is great, really, and I shouldn’t complain, but I’m not sure that’s the point! haha!
I am used to getting too much feedback, and I think that I’ve learned how to deal with it. Usually, I can ‘feel’ it in my bones when they’re onto something. And I feel it in my belly when I don’t agree.
If I only select 3-5 then I should be really careful who I choose…
Ideally, you’ll be able to select people who will offer different insights from each other. One of the things I find fascinating about my group is that they will often pick up on quite different points from each other. Of course, when they all point out the same thing, it’s a good indicator that something might need to change!
Do you just give them a word document? Do you find that a little bit scary, handing over a word document to someone you don’t actually know?
Yep, I just send a Word Doc. I’d exchange a bit of a chat on wattpad and get their email, but I haven’t had any trouble so far… Also, these were all people I approached myself (not the other way around). I’d probably think twice if someone asked to do a beta read out of the blue!
I was thinking that too… a little scary especially if you’re giving them the whole thing. Maybe it’s not as bad if you did a chapter at a time. Are you posting on Wattpad? If not I’d worry a little about copyright, but of course, the likelihood of someone stealing it is low… I think.
The question is how detailed feedback you would expect?I’m part of a fabulous critique circle but we only do one chapter at a time and it is a bit slow. I’ll definitely stay there though, they’re great. Right now, I don’t have the time to work on my other manuscript but I would need beta readers once I’m ready to work on it again. Some time next year. What I’m wondering is if we could pool beta readers from this circle because we’re all reasonably seasoned authors and certainly experienced readers and the feedback might be more valuable. But I couldn’t deliver a proper developmental edit. What I can do is give you summary impressions after each chapter. Like Jinn I would prefer to have the whole manuscript though. If I fall of a cliff I will scream, believe me
While I usually don’t do beta in English, I did it several times for an anthology I was part of and once for a novel of a Wattpad Friend. I concentrated on the story though, and not on SPG (for obvious reasons)
I realised my problem is I’m used to do it very thouroghly (in German), and if a story isn’t already very well written, this means either a lot of work and pages of feedback or skipping over certain issues. So, I preferably pick only short stories or stories I really enjoy.
Perhaps it would be an idea to try and build a serious beta-reading community here.
Perhaps you could put some specific questions that you’d want them to answer. Bring up some known issues and ask for specific feedback.
You could send them a link to a Google doc. Give them rights to comment on the ms during the critique period. When they finish reading, remove their access to the google doc. Do not give advance warning that access will be blocked after critique is over.