Beta Readers, please tell me the truth. I can handle it…maybe?

I gave out my manuscript to the 6 wonderful people who agreed to read it today. They got it a full week earlier than planned. Which means it didn’t get edited for a full week. Yikes!

I warned them of the fact that my manuscript professionally edited yet. (It is in the process of that.) I’m asking them to look past the issues and focus the story. Specifically, plot and character. I am also giving them a worksheet to complete afterwards. I feel better about giving them the worksheet now that we have been given an extra week off.

If you aren’t sure what I am talking about, let me explain. A beta reader is a person you trust to read your book before publishing to give you feedback. Some people have them act as editors too. I am lucky enough to work with people who love to read and volunteered to do this. It helps that they are all educators and read young adult literature regularly.

Just like when I sent it off to the editor though, I stayed up all night convinced that my writing was horrible and they all would get 5 pages in and tell me they have read better stuff from freshman. Which would hurt?

Yesterday, Kris and I spent the morning printing and “binding” the manuscripts. We printed them double sided and tied them together with twine left over from our wedding. We had considered purchasing a spiral binder from Amazon, but this was cheaper.

On the last copy, the toner in our printer ran out. I had to send the last 50 pages and the beta reader worksheet to Staples to finishing printing. 7 bucks, an 2 ice cream blizzards and a trip to town later, we had 6 complete manuscripts and a bit of a mess.

The beta worksheet I stole from a post on The Writing Cooperative called 15 Questions to Send Beta/First Readers. I modified it a little, taking it down to 11 questions. If you would like a copy, please let me know!

It was very cool seeing 6 of my manuscripts stacked together. It is all becoming very real. It terrified me this morning to hand over my book to these unfortunate souls who agreed to read this mess.

They were all fantastic and seemed excited to get them. Kris is waiting for the edited copy to read it. We have also agreed we won’t be in the same room when he reads it. For our marriages sake.

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