Beta Readers & Querying

Hello again everyone!

Since my last post, I have practically finished editing and polishing my manuscript. I had been editing since December last year, so I think I’ve spent enough time on it. I know I’m ready to move on! Anyway, I forgot to post this a month ago when I was looking for beta readers, so read this before I continue:

Beta Readers – 28 June 2021

Over the past week I have been trying to find beta readers to critique my manuscript. Even though I posted two separate posts on two separate websites, I have only had two people show any interest. The first person never gave me any feedback and the second person only read one chapter and said they didn’t want to read any more! (They said some nice things, but it still hurt my feelings.)

The person who gave me a small amount of feedback has at least shown me a few flaws. Luckily, it’s not really to do with the story, but more so how I’m selling it. So maybe I will go for a different angle. They also told me it’s too ‘slow’, when I had originally thought it was too fast, so that was really interesting. I’m going through the manuscript again to delete more words. I’m trying to get it under 100,000 words – only 6000 to go.

Trying to find beta readers had taught me how terrifying the experience is. When I read feedback, I completely gloss over the nice things and straight away look for the critiques. Then my mind will think about it for days afterwards. It’s ridiculous! Why does my brain do that? But let me tell you, it is really discouraging to spend two years on a manuscript only to have someone say they don’t want to read beyond the first chapter.

In my last post I mentioned sending to publishers soon. However, I feel like I’ll never be ready to send my work out to agents/publishers. How do I know when it’s ready? I know it’s impossible to write the perfect book, and there’ll always be something that could be changed. So how do you know? I think it might be when the thought of working on it any more drives you crazy. That was me last month. Rereading it was making me insane.

I guess I could keep trying to find beta readers. It would be nice to have more opinions. I just don’t know if I can mentally handle their critiques, because it’s different than having someone edit your book. Beta reading is like having a potential reader roast your writing. I know if I were to ever publish a book I wouldn’t read reviews because it’s people’s subjective opinions over objective critiques. Reviewers don’t think about the author – they think about the story. Beta readers are talking to the author, and it’s hard to read! I’ve done creative writing classes all through university and it’s somehow worse.

Querying to an Agent – 30 July 2021

Isn’t it funny what one month has done to my thoughts on sending my work to agents? One month ago I thought I never would, yet a few days ago I thought to myself, why not give it a go? I have read the manuscript so many times, and recently I read it through without changing too much, so I’m basically finished with it. It would be nice to get it properly read by someone, but who cares right now, I’ve already sent it off.

I only queried to one agent. I suppose the reason is because she’s the only agent I want for the book. I know that’s ridiculous, but she’s from the agency of one of my favourite authors who has a similar book to mine and I thought it would be a good fit. If I don’t hear back – which I probably won’t, I’m not stupid – I’ll try querying to more agents. I’m not mentally capable right now.

The end of this manuscript leads to the beginning of another one, and I’m so happy to be writing something new. It’s so fun, writing something new. And I’m finding it easier than the last book I wrote. I can recognise flaws before I write them. I also think my writing is better. That doesn’t mean, though, I’m ready to shelf my first manuscript. I worked so hard on it! It took three years to write, I’m going to at least try, and suck it up if nothing happens.

I’m unlikely to try self-publishing. I don’t know if my book sucks, and if it does, I don’t want other people to read something that sucks. That doesn’t necessarily mean publishers only choose ‘good’ books – I’ve seriously questioned why some books were published before. Self-publishing is great, I just can’t be bothered doing everything myself. You have to get someone to edit the writing, design the cover, plus other little things I wouldn’t have a clue about.

Speaking of books, I’m getting into reading again, which entices me into writing a blog post about it. I read and loved Normal People by Sally Rooney, and right now I’m reading Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid, which I’m enjoying.

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