Wednesday, October 9, 2013

All Hail Early Readers

by Malena Lott

Every writer needs a good early reader posse. After we've done our crappy first draft, pretty good
second draft and extremely detailed third draft, left it for a while, returned with fresh eyes, edited the hell out of it some more, and then gave it to our critique partner or early readers, the manuscript still isn't done going through the ringer.

While we've been discussing critique partners and small groups, there is something to be said about a small group of early readers who know your work and are willing to read your story in its final stages to catch for mistakes, clunky sentences or anything that makes the reader stumble.

And beyond the early reader, we have early reviewers who get uncorrected proofs and are happy to provide feedback if they get it to you in time.

Lastly there are the readers who were first purchasers who may even catch mistakes that all of those others did not. If you are indie publishing you can make those changes and re-upload. In a recent interview WOOL best-selling author Hugh Howey thanked his early fans for giving him corrections in his books.

If you're a writer, consider all of the above. Reaching out on social media or in writing groups is a great way to find early readers who love your genre. Sure, some things will be subjective, but being informed of mistakes is a gift.

I thought I'd flip the coin and give you a short list of what I look for when I'm a final reader on a book being published by Buzz Books USA BESIDES GRAMMATICAL ERRORS. I try to read it straight through in a couple of days so it's very fresh on my mind.

  • pacing 
  • overuse of adjectives
  • too many clauses that slow down the rhythm 
  • stilted dialogue or too much dialogue (you aren't giving speeches back and forth)
  • asking myself if I'm seeing what's happening (can I clearly see the characters, setting and so forth)
  • does it keep my attention (do I get bored in any scene?)
  • the page-turning aspect, especially at the end of each chapter (does it end where it should?)
  • overall satisfaction in the story - did it leave me feeling I got what I came for?
Good luck! 

Malena Lott is the author of five women's fiction novels, two novellas and several short stories. Her latest books is Family Charms and she's currently working on a surprise holiday novella called Sterling and Sloane she hopes to release before the holidays have come and gone this year. She writes young adult under the pen name Lena Brown.