I am done.
For now. I finally input all my changes from my last edit, added a scene here, fleshed out a scene there. To be honest, I should engage in this exercise one more time before moving to the next step, but I can’t. I’ve been working on this thing for a solid year now and it’s time for me to take a break. Also, my deadline for myself was essentially the end of this year and now that I know that editing takes forever, I’m confident I won’t make if I go through the 86,000 word document (almost 300 pages) again.
So what’s the next step now that I’ve “finished” my draft? Share it with others! I’ve found three willing “beta readers” and an editing service. Originally, I was going to first share with beta readers, edit and then share with the editing service, but I’d rather input all of their changes at once. Can you tell I’m starting to hate editing? But I embrace it–it’s a necessary evil.
The Beta Readers
Beta readers are regular people who I asked to give me their general impression of the book. They agreed to comment on the manuscript itself and then provide some kind of endnote or overall commentary. I felt even better about my decision to ask them now rather than later because it turns out they all have some free time over the holidays. This is who they are:
- Beta reader 1: A reader. This friend likes to read a lot and seemed interested in my genre when I told her what the book was about. She’s in a book club (and it sounds like she actually reads the books) and more importantly, has reviewed the manuscript of a novel-writing friend before. Perfect!
- Beta reader 2: A reader/writer. This is a professional writer, who likes to read both high-brow and low-brow stuff. I think my book is somewhere in the middle. She is also taking a creative writing class and plans to write a novel herself. Like beta reader 1, I think she’s in my target audience, but she also can add some writerly commentary. 🙂
- Beta reader 3: Writer/editor. This friend is a very talented professional writer. He also used to be an editor back in the day. Beta reader 2, in fact, has been edited by him and says that he is very tough, but her writing always was better after inputting his comments. I’m most scared about his feedback because he has no problem providing tough criticism. Also, I don’t think my book is in his genre.
The Editing Service
I also submitted my manuscript to this developmental service—2nd Draft Developmental Editing Service. They provide high-level feedback (no commentary on the document), in the form of a report. They comment on plot, dialogue, characters, etc. They also write a synopsis of your novel for your convenience. Although they are not cheap, I wanted a completely objective professional who deals with novels all the time to review what I wrote as well. The beta readers are important to me because they are THE PEOPLE—you know, representative of my intended audience. The service is giving me more of an industry perspective, if that makes sense.
So that’s where I’m at. Merry Christmas to me—I get to not look at this thing for at least a month or two. I’m so grateful for my beta readers. Look out for a post in the future when I’m crying because I’m so sensitive about my shhhh. Haha, JK–happy holidays!