Second Draft and Sending Manuscripts to Beta Readers

After going through and editing the manuscript on the computer, I thought it was a good idea to print it off and edit it the good old-fashioned way, before then making the same edits into the electronic document. This might sound like a waste of time, but let me tell you, making re-writes and changes with pen and paper was such a beneficial experience. It allowed me to see the manuscript in a different way and spot things I probably wouldn’t otherwise have noticed. I found it was particularly great for line-editing, and noticing when certain sentences could have been worded more effectively. I fell back in love with my book again, as I could see it coming together.

Off to the Beta Readers

Now that all the changes are made, I’m printing off the document again (twice) to send to my volunteer beta readers. My mum and auntie. They are both long-suffering proofreaders of mine and read most essays and dissertations I did when I was doing my degrees. This will be the first fiction piece of mine that they’ve read. Does that make me nervous? Yes. Are they under strict instructions to tell the truth and not sugarcoat their opinions and suggestions? Hell yes!

Beta Reading

Beta reading, for those who haven’t come across the term before, is basically a test reader. They read unpublished work and provide opinions based on the viewpoint of an ‘average’ reader, rather than a professional editor. I’m very lucky to have two very well-read volunteers, so I feel safe in their hands. I know they’ll tell me if something makes sense, or if something doesn’t work. That’s the aim of the game. I’m going to do a whole blog post about beta reading, as I won’t go into the nitty gritty here. This post is just an update on my progress with my first manuscript (debut novel?). For more information on beta reading, check out my latest post:

What’s Next?

Well, I am going to deliver the huge printed documents to my beta readers and let them work their magic. The reason I decided to print the document was so that they could write their thoughts, feelings, suggested edits in the margins. I will also provide a questionnaire of sorts, or rather prompts, for them to consider when reading. This will help keep us all on the right lines. After that, we’ll have a ‘meeting’, and by ‘meeting’ I mean lunch, and we’ll go over their suggestions and feedback.

From there, I’ll make any necessary edits and I’ll be getting ready to contact agents and publishers.

Any advice on this is 100% greatly appreciated. I’ve decided to give the traditional publishing route a go first and see what happens. If that doesn’t work out for whatever reason, then I’m more than happy to self-publish (I think it’s an equally fabulous option). I’ll be writing cover letters, synopses, and query letters at this point, which will be time consuming and (I anticipate) super complicated. While my beta readers are busy beavering away, I’ll be researching agents, publishers, and trying to gain as much information about the process of querying agents/publishers as I can. Knowledge is power, people.

I’d love to hear your experiences of using beta readers!

As always, wishing you love and books that make your heart skip a beat,

Sarah Jules x

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