Beta Readers Helped Me Get Published

The one thing that helped me sell my book is…

Good Critique!

I am a big believer in critique partners and beta buddies. I keep them close and love them lots. I think the biggest help I have in getting any manuscript sold is my network of behind the scenes readers. I’m blessed with a fellow Honey Creek writer, Jennifer Anderson, who reads my pages on a daily basis. She adds insight and a reader’s perspective. Our system works like this: I write a chapter. I reread the chapter and clean it up. Then, I send the chapter to Jenni. By the end of the day or sometimes the next afternoon, I get the chapter back from her with suggestions, trouble spots highlighted, general input, reader thoughts etc. She adds anything she thinks will help improve the story. I make the changes and move on. This keeps me writing. My goal is to write one chapter every day based on my very thorough outlines. (I’m an obsessive planner of details). By the time the manuscript is finished, I’ve read it three times and Jenni has read it once. Then, I send the finished work to my friend who is also a dedicated book blogger and another writing friend. I also have two reader friends who read for me. By the time the manuscript gets to my agent, it’s the best manuscript I can create. Then, my agent reads it and gives it back – again- with revision requests. Before my works go on submissions, I hate them completely because I’ve read them so many times.

TEST Art._DECEIVED_SL1000_In the case of my upcoming release, DECEIVED, I really hit the jackpot. I had all the usual help in place, but hadn’t submitted it to my agent yet. I was talking about YA on twitter (I’m also obsessed with twitter. Tweet me! @JulieALindsey) and an editor from a children’s book publisher invited me to send pages her way anytime. Right? *jaw drop*I sent the manuscript. In a few days, the editor returned my manuscript with an editorial letter detailing what she loved and hated, what she’d like to see changed, where I could deepen the impact, thicken the plot, and heighten the suspense. I took every word to heart and made extensive changes, adding more than 10,000 words before sending it on to my agent for submissions. I have no doubt this editor played the biggest role in the sale of my manuscript. She’s since gone from the children’s publisher to a big 6 publisher where she buys MG novels. I adore her forever.

I should add one thing to this. I don’t always agree with feedback I get, but I try to see it their way. Sometimes I’m too close to the story to see the problem, so I choose to trust these ladies. Still, there are times I ignore the input completely because I know reading is very personal.  Now, if more than one person is hung up on the same thing…I need to ask myself if they both are blind or if, perhaps, it’s me. LOL. I never take feedback too hard. I don’t get upset. I get thankful. I know these readers are in place to help me succeed. They give their precious time to read my pages when they could easily read something from their TBR piles instead. And when I feel like they’re picking on me, I remember that they pick on me now so fewer readers will pick on me later, hopefully. Sometimes it’s difficult to separate from the characters we create. This is one more reason critique partners and beta readers are a gold mine, especially ones who love you and know the business. Those are the people who help me sell my story.

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