Hey lovey’s, I wanted to continue my series of my Road to Publication. Today I’m going to chat about Editor & Beta Notes. Having a beta reader (or more than one), and an editor is IMPORTANT for self-publishers. We get such a bad rep as indie authors because so many people fail to include this step on their journey to get there book out into the world. During this part of my journey I’ve learned SO much; as a writer, as a self-publishing author, and as a friend. I just had to share some of those lessons with you today. As always, I appreciate all your thoughts in the comment section below.
Important Lessons I’ve Learned From My Editors and Beta Readers:
- BOTH are so important. A beta reader will likely read your book like a regular reader and give their feedback about what felt “off” to them. For me, I got really lucky with my beta readers. I had 4 of them and each one had their own ideas for what they loved and hated about my book. *gasp* hated? you say, yes…hated. I got lucky there too. Neither my betas or my editor were afraid to tell me what stunk. I’ll admit, I took that VERY hard, many times wanting to throw my book in a fire and watch it burn. Which leads me to my next point.
- Pick Betas and Editors that you like. They don’t have to be your friends, in fact, I advise against it if you lack thick skin. If you pick amazing betas and an editor like I did, you’re going to get what you NEED, not so much exactly what you like. Be prepared for that.
- It’s YOUR book, not theirs. This is probably the most important thing to get through your stubborn head. I say stubborn because, let’s face it, you are. I was and still am. Your betas and editor are going to come back with LOADS of changes. Some you’ll agree with, others you’ll be like, “What the hell are you thinking?!?!” It’s normal. It took me awhile (and thank you to those I leaned on when I was tossing out confetti at my own pity party), but it’s normal. You’re not always going to agree with them. You have to pick and choose what advice you get from them to use. YOU. WON’T. USE. IT. ALL. At the end of the day, this is YOUR book. I got some excellent advice tonight…and it’s so true and I believe my betas will agree:
I can’t say this enough. You need to write the story that’s in your heart. Of course, you need to receive technical/punctuation feedback, but as far as the story goes, stick with your gut. There is an audience for EVERYONE! (Hello, E.L. James!!) Write the story you feel and let it stand on its own. How will you ever find your OWN voice if too many opinions affect your judgment?
This is so true. This person isn’t telling me, “screw them, listen to what you want to do,” she’s saying that you need to remember it’s your story. This is my first book. Is it going to be a #1 bestseller? Likely not, even if I kept editing it for years, it likely won’t because of the competition out there.
The final thing I learned is this:
- APPRECIATE your Betas and Editors. This is SO important. These people are spending so much time on YOUR book. Appreciating them doesn’t mean taking ALL their change advice, but let them know that you appreciate their time, effort, and feedback. I got lucky, VERY lucky, and my betas and editor worked out of the kindness of their own hearts. If you find the same such luck, send them a gift.
Gift Ideas For Betas and Editors:
- A gift card. MOST people in the writer community are addicted to coffee. Starbucks is an inexpensive go to for a gift idea. You can even buy gift cards online and email them to your support team.
- YOUR BOOK. Your editor and betas worked on your book, and it’s inexpensive to get a copy of your story once you’re published. GIVE THEM ONE, and SIGN IT. It’s so simple and inexpensive. NO EXCUSES, unless they don’t want it.
- ACKNOWLEDGE THEM. Your book has a section to recognize people you want to thank (or it should), use it.
- Get to know your betas and editors on a personal level, scope out their Twitter or Facebook pages to see what they like. My editor is a cat lover and coffee drinker. She also loves running so much she wrote about it in an awesome 3 book series. For her, which I wish I could have done more, I sent a cute coffee mug with a classy kitty on it. Socks that read on the bottoms “If you can read this, get me coffee”, a water bottle, a shirt that reads, “Run all the miles and pet all the kitties”, and a Starbucks gift card. See, personalize it. They work hard on helping to make your book great, show you thank them beyond words!
That’s about it for today. IT’S YOUR BOOK. THANK YOUR BETAS AND EDITORS.
Happy Reading and Leave Some Love in the Comments!