Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Writing a Book: B is for Beta Readers

How many times have you heard someone say, "I want to write a book."

Probably a lot of times. It seems to be on everybody's bucket list whether they call themselves a writer or not. It just seems to be in our nature as humans to want to tell a story.

Yet, out of all those people who want to write a book, how many of them actually accomplish it?

Well I have!

It hasn't been released to the general public yet, but it will. In fact, I plan on releasing it on Mother's Day 2013 if all goes as planned. I am so excited yet so scared at the same time.

I first started writing this book 3 years ago. But it wasn't flowing. It wasn't even called Mother's Day like it is now. But I had the thought in my head and I was going to do it. But it wasn't going. I had almost 100 pages down and it still wasn't going anywhere.

You see, the main characters had a child and frankly, this was an imaginary life and I was sick of getting a babysitter for this fake child. It is hard enough to find one for your real kids. So I scraped the book and decided the kid had to go. After all, even though the kid wasn't real, I needed to be a responsible parent for my fake kid.
I already have three kids. The last thing I need to do
is stress about finding a babysitter for a fake one!

So I quit!

Yet it has always kind of been in the back of my mind. I have always wanted to pick it up and make it work. But I didn't know how to do it. And that is when a bunch of writers started talking about NaNoWriMo. I thought it was impossible. Finish a book in 30 days. I had already tried to write a book and I couldn't do it in 3 years. How could I finish one in a month.

So with the idea in my head, I started over. 

Not everybody that starts finishes. It is a difficult
task. Yet I pushed through. I don't know if I could
have done it without the push.
And I finished. I was a NaNoWriMo winner coming in at roughly 81,000 words. Not only did I complete the task, I surpassed the task. And it isn't even the same book I was trying to write before. It took a whole new direction. It's better. And it is definitely something I am proud of.

When I was finished, it was a relief yet a disappointment. I didn't know what to do next. Sure, it needed to be edited but I was so involved with writing for the entire month, it was like the crash at the end of an accident. So I put it aside and let it sit for a bit.

I finally picked it back up. It was time to edit. Now one of the hardest tasks any writer can do is edit there own work. The story is inside them so sometimes it is as if they see words that are there but not really. It is nice to have a separate set of eyes to look at your work.

This is were Beta Readers come in. They are basically the second ones to view my book. And with their help, I hope to catch a few grammatical errors that I missed, timeline issues. or anything that just generally didn't come across right.

Let me tell you, it is nerve-wracking to wait it out. I handed out the book to someone else the first time on March 1st. They have until April 1st to get back to me.

This is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. It just goes to show, writers need to grow thicker skin. I feel so vulnerable.

It isn't like I haven't had my name in print before. I was a photojournalist for the Army. My name was in print every single week. It has also been in print in some magazines. I have also won a few Journalism awards as well. I know I can write. But this is an entirely different.

Writing a book is a BIG task.

And I feel more vulnerable. Not to mention my Beta Readers have, for the most part, been pretty quiet. I have heard some feedback, but not a whole lot. It makes me wonder.

  • Did they start it yet?
  • Are they liking it?
  • Can they not get through it?
  • Do I have so many errors they are struggling?

It is hard not to question. It is hard to wait. A big part of me doesn't want to know their thoughts until they finish. The other part of me wants to shake the information out of them.

I want reassurance. I want to know they enjoyed it. I want to know that it is good enough! I want their constructive criticism. I want to know that I invoked an emotional response from them. I want them to laugh and I want them to cry.

Yet in the end, I know this whole book is on my shoulders. It will be published. It is one of the advantages of going the self published route. It also allows me to not sacrifice my style. I don't have to change anything about my book unless it is a suggestion I feel comfortable with.

As is, I know I love my book. I think there are a few errors, but even if I were to hit publish on it right now, it wouldn't be anything I would be ashamed of. After all, writing a book is a hard feat. So many want to do it, and how many of them actually have?

Well, I did. 
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  1. OK! OK! I'll start reading it and get back to you! You said it was due April 2014, right? I got plenty of time.......zzzzzz....for a NAP!

  2. Haha ohhh Terrye I heard it was April 2015! :P I think Stacy will want to punch me after reading this!

  3. LOL...You'll be all right because you wrote a FREAKIN' book AND you're going to publish it soon! Good for you. Wonderful, Stacy! :D

  4. Wow, my friend, I am SO proud of you! Can't believe the release of your book is just around the corner! It will be great because you put your heart and soul into it. Well done! I can't wait to read it and sure it's going to be just as awesome as what you are. :)


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