I’ve been really lucky in finding people who are willing to collaborate with me on my work, and my fellow debs have given some fantastic advice about how to find and work with the best kind of partners for you, so I thought I might use my time to tell y’all a bit about how I try to support my readers.
My first and best critique partner is my husband. He’s not a writer, but he’s got a great head for story and action and is incredibly honest with his feedback. I repay him in extravagant meals and games of Tekken. Because my critique partners do so much for me, I make sure that I am as available to them as I can be, so if they send me something to read, I make it a priority, and if I can’t get to it right away, I make sure they know what my schedule looks like. This helps us all maintain a happy balance and clear expectations.
My beta readers are amazing. They give me honest feedback and their thoughts about each version of a book helps me shape the next revision. Because I go through a number of drafts of each book, I tend to cycle through beta readers. I don’t want to burn people out. I tend to group my beta readers so that I have people with different strengths reading each version and send the manuscript to one or two of them at a time. For my beta readers who are also writers, I try to make myself available to read their work in a timely manner, help with queries, or cheerlead as needed. For my readers who aren’t writers, I try to be cognizant of what I’m asking of their time and do small things for them in return: baking cookies, watching their kids, being a shoulder when they need it, etc.
Everyone needs a cheerleader from time to time. Someone who will listen to you bitch and moan about how frustrating or challenging the character you’re working on is, or the shit review you just found on Goodreads when you KNOW you shouldn’t be looking. I so value the people in my life who cheerlead for me, and honestly, that’s where my strength lies too. I think this thing we are all doing is so hard, and I love being able to be there for my friends when they need a boost.
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