I know this may sound hokey, but considering what I put my beta readers through, I think I need to give them all a big public hug and a Thank You from the bottom of my heart for:
#1: Not being mad when I put my own beta-reading on hold
#2: Being so supportive and honest, even though they knew I was stressing
#3: Not hating me for asking for so much help in such a tight timeframe
I would like to introduce My Beta Reading Army for Last Winter Red:
Ms. Fran Metzman: Thank you for pointing out that I needed more setting. At the very last minute, I balked and added extra scenic imagery. I have to admit that the story is richer with it.
Krista Quintana: Thank you for being the only one who pointed out that my beginning wasn’t great. I thought I knew what you meant when someone else said to start it a little later, but the publisher called me on it, and now it starts even sooner. Also, you were totally right about Sara. I didn’t change her much, and she was one of the fixes that the publisher requested at the last minute. She’s now 15.
Ravena Guron: Thanks for being so anal… and I mean that in a good way. You made me look at every sentence more critically, and my story was stronger for it. Your closing comments on the final version that you read really hit home, and made me think that maybe I had something here.
Nancy Krause: Thank you so much for doing that read over the holiday weekend. Thank you for giving me your phone number (even though we barely knew each other) so we could discuss everything live. Having a voice attached to the comments helped breathe some life into me – and oxygen at that point.
Dawn Burne: For reading and showing me things that I hadn’t thought of. I would have looked so stupid if that talking/attacking furniture made it to the publisher. Thanks so much.
Julie Reece: For jumping out of the Scribophile world and offering to read for me even though you were preparing for the release of your own debut novel. I sent you my final draft at 2:30 in the morning, and it was waiting in my email when I woke up the next day. I also appreciated your help with that one transition element that we emailed back and forth on. If I can ever repay the favor, please let me know.
Gloria Richard: Thank you so much for your support and “whoots”. I was excited that you liked the romantic elements, since I hadn’t done that before. All those stinking typos that you caught too… that would have been embarrassing.
Jenny Keller Ford: What can I say? You totally Rock. From long nights dwelling over rejections, editing nightmares, and draft after draft… here we are. Feels good, doesn’t it?
Sandro Fletcher: Thank you for jumping back in when we haven’t spoken in so long. The one “missing plotline reolution” that you mentioned is fixed. It is now in the last two pages, and sewn up tight. Thank you so much for your support, not only now, but for encouraging me when I first started out.
This is a diversified group of people, and if you noticed, they each gave something different in their perspective of my work. It is important to build your own little army. Know which person will find what, and build relationships.
If any one of these people were to ask me for help, I would stop what I was doing and help them. If you support me, I will support you.
We are not alone in the writing world, and I have been incredibly lucky to know this amazing group of people. If you don’t have beta readers/partners… they are out there. Find them. They can be a lifeline in your time of need.