When I first started writing, I honestly didn’t research the steps of publishing until I felt like I had a manuscript worth reading. I know that sounds backward, and to be honest, it was. However, it was probably for the best that it turned out that way. When I saw the list of steps that a manuscript should go through before releasing it to the world, well, let’s just say it made me feel like I woke up after downing a bottle of tequila the night before.
The editing and rewrite stage was an animal unto itself, which I may talk about someday, but today I want to talk about the stage the gave me the most sleepless nights in this whole process.
The Beta Readers.
If you don’t know what they are, or how they’re different from other readers, to put it simply, beta readers are the first group of people outside your editor(s) that read your book, but the thing that makes them special is that they know it’s a work in process.
At the end of their reading, we authors ask questions to gage how much of the story we need to consider revisiting, rewriting or scrapping altogether. It could mean moving forward or starting all over with a new draft.
The first step for me was to join a group of fantasy genre-based beta and arc readers. I followed the group rules, then posted my description and timeframe. One of the first people to answer my beta call was Chrishel Smith.
What I didn’t realize at the time was how this one person would help give me the confidence to move forward to complete my WIP and release Power Divided the first in The Evolutionaries Series, my first published writing ever.
What Chrishel said in her questionnaire was so moving that I felt compelled to ask if she was a writer herself. She said that she was, and while I was waiting for other beta readers, I thought, well, if I’m going to ask for someone to be a beta reader for me, I should be more than willing to be one for someone else.
The story she gave me to read was a fae world inspired story. The title I have to admit is cooler than mine, and it just begs to be a series. I learned, however, that Chrishel wants to be a
published author in the traditional way. Which is a different road, but to me equally as daunting as being an indie writer.
As I’ve gotten to know her, I’ve found her to be someone to aspire to be. While trolls and haters exist in every platform, industry, and dark corner of the internet, Chrishel is a beacon of light. She has an unwavering ability to bring people together, to cheerlead while living her incredibly full life, and all while reading and writing. I think she either needs no sleep at all or has a clone.
I’ve had the chance to read more of her work since then, and I have to say that I am so impressed with her ability to jump genres and have stories that seem to just come out of nowhere, not to mention how fast she gets them down. I admit heartily it makes me jealous.
So while beta reading was one of the most feared boxes on my to-do list, Chrishel was one on my beta team that really showed me how to be a beta with class. I truly hope that a publisher out there will see the potential in her that I see and that the rest of the world will get a chance to dive into one of her many worlds.
I want to also say that I had some of the best experiences with my beta readers that anyone could have hoped for. Each and every one gave me so much that I honestly can never truly express how grateful I am. I don’t think I could have been luckier than I was to have the group of beta readers I got. I know without their help, I might not have put out the version of Power Divided that I did, which is one that I am so proud of. This first group will always remain special to me, and I hope as The Evolutionaries Series continues, and with any luck beyond that, I will have a group of people as remarkable as I did with Power Divided.