Sunday, December 10, 2006

Questions? Questions?

Sometimes life seems like a closed hatch...

That can be opened by a helping hand...

8 am and 74 degrees.
I have 16 pages done on my author information sheet. It is due Monday. I have to email it to New York late tonight.
I am working on my website and massively busy. I have to figure out how to lose 20 pounds before I get my picture taken this afternoon.
My blogging is paramount!
Kimber an asked a question about beta readers and others of you have asked about agents.
Kay den (as my students would say).

Put your questions in the comments section and I will answer those I feel comfortable answering or let you know where you might find the answer to others.
Kimber an asked me about my beta readers.
First of all what the heck ARE beta readers?
They are readers (NOT writers) who are interested in participating in the career of a writer. You cultivate them cautiously and tend them carefully (my alliterations again) You do not pay them (well maybe chocolate). You dangle the potential tidbit of having their name in print in the acknowledgments page when your book is published. They do not copy edit (much) and you do not give them your first draft. That would be cruel and unkind. You ask them to read your manuscript through and just let you know honestly how it was. HONESTLY.
My best beta readers are friends of friends. Former english teachers. Cruisers who love to read but hate to buy books. They come from all walks of life. Their only commonality is that they love to read.
They tell me when they hate a character. They tell me when they can't follow a plot or don't understand something. The tell me when they have a hard time finishing my book or where they put it down.
If a person can't finish your book that tells you something.
I am lucky. My husband is one of my beta readers. He says he is lucky I am a good writer and doubly lucky that my book has been bought by Putnam and will be out August 2007( which is by the way, blazingly fast).
He says he can now be honest with me! oops!
I see hands up!
You in the front.
What's your question?
I'll repeat it to the audience.
The question is: "What is the meaning of life."
That's too hard.
I'll have to get back to you on that!


Anonymous said...

I am lucky that I have two people that I consider my betas/editors, who have been pointing out things as I go. (I generally send them 2-3 chapters at a time, after I have gone back and touched-up the oopsies that I catch.)
They have come in very, very handy.

Kiskadee said...

Hello, hello, Pat??? That's your name? Can I call you that? I know you only as Orion!
I had a look at your blog yesterday and today I intend to go back and read your earlier posts; I love reading about writers' journeys!
Congratulations and I wish you the best of luck on your publishing path.

Anonymous said...

I have the best beta readers too - an English teacher/editor, and a fellow writer who is not afraid to say when something sucks.
You need honesty in beta readers!!!!! It's very hard to find!

Kim Stagliano said...

Saw on ladybronco that Miss Snark emailed you congrats. How Unsnarky and yet completely Snarky! Very cool (unlike your perfect weather which is never cool. You do realize that 71 is NOT cool, right? Congrats!

Kim, chilling in New England

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, okay, I get beta readers, but if you've got beta readers then you must have had alpha readers at some point. Whatdja do with 'em?

Kimber An

ORION said...

aruna - yes you are welcome to call me Pat by the way you have a great web site - mine will soon be up.
lady bronco- it's interesting you send them stuff as you write it...I have mixed feelings about that - let me know if it interferes with your writing the story.
Oh Sam how true! Yet haven't you too felt the need to protest during a critique? I am so bad! I want honesty...yes tell me honestly that you love it!!!!
yes Kim...but today it warmed up to 73! I am happy!
Yeah cool about Miss Snark! I'll blog about it a bit today.
Kimber an - lol! my alphas have all been let go and are all on unemployment - To make way for the more evolved betas...

Zany Mom said...

The only beta readers I have are other writers. A family member or two has read it, but I doubt I'll let them read any future works. I've belonged to crit groups, but they're writers. I've workshopped a bit, but they, too, are writers.

I'm considering a whole rewrite, but I think I should let a beta reader or two tell me what they think first.

Where to cultivate them? I have no idea (introvert that I am, LOL).

And I was kidding about Lulu. ;) Though sometimes it does seem tempting, give the amount of time, effort, and rejection we must endure first. OUCH!

Anonymous said...

My best beta-reader is actually my baby brother. Believe me, he holds no punches when it comes to my story so far.
I have had no issues thus-far when it comes to his suggestions and the natural development of the story.