Have you worked with beta readers and editors?
Beta Readers and Editors
When you’re a self-publisher, and can’t afford a professional editor, you’re stuck doing editing on your own. You have to make all the decisions. The final say is yours. That’s a lot of pressure. That’s the process I went through when publishing my first novel. I learned a lot from that, but I also made mistakes.
I’m lucky enough to have some great beta readers on my side. They greatly helped me improve my book and catch errors. I can’t thank them enough. I used to loathe editing as it’s a difficult process, but with practice and the right tools, it’s been easier. It’s still hard to know what to change and how to know when to stop. When do I know when is enough editing is enough?
Make the Edits
The hardest part is to start editing, like with writing. And similar to writing, it’s not as bad as I make it out to be when I get going. Once I find my rhythm the time flies by. It’s still a pain. I’m afraid of missing something, or publishing a part of a story that everyone thinks is awful. I have to get passed that fear. Fear is nothing but harmful thoughts holding me back.
I’ve read editing and grammar books, which have helped a lot too. There are tons of tips out there. Even with all the tips I’ve received, I’m not required to listen to all of them. No writer is required to listen to criticism. It’s appreciated, but if I don’t think something is right for my story, or if it doesn’t match the information I’m trying to get across, I’m not going to make that suggested edit.
Constructive criticism is a suggestion, but don’t blow everything off. You have to make sure you carefully consider every comment. Don’t think the idea is stupid or get offended without considering the outcome. I’ll give you an example of my poor reaction to a bit of constructive criticism and how I jumped too quickly to the wrong conclusion.
I won’t give specifics, but here’s a good idea of what happened. Someone gave me an idea, and I instantly got offended. The person missed the whole point of the story and didn’t understand the book I was trying to write. I was like oh this idea is dumb, I am so not doing that. I told the idea to someone close to me and they thought the criticism was a good idea. They explained the perks of it, and then I felt bad. I didn’t take the time to think it through and realize that it could really bump up the quality of my book.
Never jump to conclusions. Read ALL of your constructive criticism (emphasis on constructive) and take the bits you think will work well. Have good reasons for not taking certain ideas to heart. When it comes down to it, it’s my book. But how I see my book is very different from how someone else sees it. Having someone else look at your work is CRUCIAL! You need that outside, objective voice to tell you what your family or friends might not see or might not want to tell you to spare your feelings.
Find the Right People
Finding an editor will be good in the future as my career grows, but I like the idea of having beta readers and all the power to publish how I want. Editing will always be evil to me, but it’s necessary to create a work of art. I read something online the other day and it said something along the lines of “a first draft is perfect, because all it needs to do is exist.” First drafts are necessary, just like editing and revision.
Don’t get yourself down when it comes to this stage! Find beta readers and editors that you trust and that you know can help you. This is your book, so make the right decisions. If something doesn’t feel right, think it through and talk it out with someone. Make decisions carefully and don’t jump too fast.
Thanks for reading about my experience! Share your comments below.
Join me next time for some fun, and hit me up on the contact page to ask questions, request new topics, or submit a guest post. Sign up to my newsletter and never miss out!
Are you looking for someone to create beautifully crafted content for you? Hire my talents: Hire Kirsten!