Beta Readers, Part II

Turns out that last post was exactly the boost I needed.  After writing two hundred words on how scary looking for betas is (and hyperventilating to psych myself up) I bit the bullet and asked a couple friends if they would be willing to read my manuscript.  They said yes!  And, hopefully, will report back with statements along the lines of “Oh my goodness, this is perfect.  Publish immediately!”

Once I worked up the courage to start asking around, I realized I had two perfect candidates.  One of my friends works IN PUBLISHING, WITH COZIES, which makes her basically the perfect writing pal.  I was scared to ask her because she’s not the sort to coddle me and, as you might have noticed, I require a great deal of coddling.  If something looks stupid, she’ll look me dead in the eye and say “That looks stupid.”  I know it’s good to get honest criticism, but it’s awfully hard on my delicate ego.  But she’s always right, so I’m grateful that she’s willing to look it over.

The other person I asked to read for me is a regular con (convention) attendee.  They are super hardcore into cosplaying and travel through at least two states to visit sci fi/fantasy cons.  Since the book is set at a convention (although mine is anime, not sci fi) and I haven’t been to one in a few years due to living approximately 2500 miles from the nearest con, I thought it might be wise to have a regular con-goer look over the setting and see if anything I wrote is hopelessly out of date or just plain wrong.

And THEN, as if two betas wasn’t enough good fortune, my SinC/Guppies membership has once again paid for itself because the Guppy prez (Hi Jim!) put together a manuscript swap opportunity.  I jumped on it so fast, he wrote back to tell me I was the first person to sign up.  Since then, FIVE other Guppies have requested my manuscript for a swap with theirs and/or to just straight-up beta.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so popular in my life.  I want to accept them all, but would that be greedy?  I tell ya- it’s tough, this writer’s life.

How many beta readers is too many beta readers?  Seven seems excessive, but what do I know?  What’s your writing circle look like?  Let me know!

P.S.  My manuscript is at 66,000!  (But you already knew that.)

Writing Manuals

Last year I joined both the Sisters in Crime and the subset group the Guppies- the Great Unpublished.  At first I was completely overwhelmed.  There was so much information flooding into my inbox that I couldn’t keep up.  After a few weeks of just deleting every email in desperation- without reading a single line- I finally managed to get on top of the wave.  I still get behind occasionally, but for the most part I’ve learned how to sieve for the useful stuff.

During my reading of the various conversations that come up in the SinC and Gup emails, I’ve noticed at a lot of advice revolves around which writing manuals to buy.  That big picture up there is one of the most popular.

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