Mirror World News

WAR TORN: A Free Anthology in 7 Realms of Fantasy

Did you like my fantasy/romance serial, The Arranged Marriage? If you haven’t read it, it’s available in seven parts on this blog. Here’s a link to Part 1. For fans of The Arranged Marriage, or of my novels Unintended or Uncharted, which are set in the same world, there’s good news! I’ve written another short story called Unmoored and it’s set to appear in the free anthology, War Tornalong with 6 other fantasy stories by six other fantastic fantasy writers!

War Torn is FREE and available for pre-order now (everywhere you order ebooks, including google, amazon, pronoun and our store), though it launches August 1st. But if you’d like to get your hands on it before then all you have to do is subscribe to Mirror World’s mailing list. I’ll be sending out early release e-books to all of our subscribers as a thank you for being a part of the family and sticking with us this long.

So click here and enter your email to subscribe for your FREE ADVANCE COPY!!

Without further ado, here’s the cover and a bit about what you’ll find in War Torn:

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Seven international authors, reflecting diverse styles from across the fantasy genre, bring you seven short stories that explore the theme, War Torn.

Ambushed by Angela Stevens
(Contemporary Fantasy/ Dark Fantasy) 
When the Black Walker Warriors are ambushed by the Clizyati, a vicious battle ensues. Caught up in its midst is Kanga, the Warrior’s latest recruit. Fighting for his life, Kanga knows whatever the outcome, this may well be the last battle in a war that has raged since the dawn of time.
But when the dust settles, victory and defeat pay the same price.

The Praetorian byD.P Joynes
(Dark Fantasy, Magical Realism, Medical Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Time Travel) 
“Flies. Flies everywhere. In blood…” Artorius, the commanding officer of a Roman army, loves the taste of battle, but he hates the stench of blood. Blood gives rise to flies, which he cannot control. And neither can the Time Witch. Despite all her magical powers, the Witch has no control over the actions of living creatures, so she’ll try every time-tested tactic to tempt the Commander, to get Artorius to do her bidding. But his future self has other plans.

Unmoored by Justine Alley Dowsett
(Fantasy Adventure)
Renaud Laurent is a gambler and a sailor taking life as it comes and living only for his next drink. Then, on one fateful night in his favorite port town, civil war threatens and he finds himself having to choose between saving his own hide or risking himself for the sake of a stranger.

The City That Fell by K.L Dimago
(Fantasy Romance)
Keturah has always excelled in magic skills and dreams of becoming a member of court in the city of Lucenskath beneath the leader of Nefeiah, Elias, who has led an era of peace and prosperity. But when she is befriended and wooed by Lucas, a fellow student, she learns of a plot to overthrow Elias and his magic council. Keturah must choose between her love of Lucas and her trust in Elias and decide whether or not to make the ultimate sacrifice.

A Touch Of Magic by Lisa White
(Magical Realism, Paranormal Romance)
Plastic surgeon Jessie Inglewood is staunchly anti-natural medicine. Sure, the owner of the local health food store is sexy, but there’s no way she’s going to the “dark side” and dating a natural health hippy! No, she’s seen a lot of ridiculous things in her clinic over the years, and as far as she’s concerned, holistic nutritionists, naturopaths, chiropractors, and crystal waving energy healers are all the same: unethical quacks and charlatans peddling false hope to the vulnerable. Jessie’s very comfortable with her judgement… until a woman in white appears at her clinic one night and gives her an extraordinary gift – the ability to heal people. Jessie has a choice to make: keep giving hands-on miracles to people or give up her gift so she can have her old life back – the one where her colleagues don’t view her as one of the quacks she used to criticize.

The Fortress by Lorel Clayton 
(Fantasy/ Steampunk)
No one is infallible, but some people cannot afford to be wrong, not when lives are at stake. In this story from the world of Eva Thorne, visit The Fortress, where a line in the sand has been drawn to keep the living safe from the god of death. Meet the man who guards that line.

Paid In Blood by Tiger Hebert
(Dark Epic Fantasy)
Harlyx, a wealthy and quite possibly mad old man is wanted for treason after stealing a powerful artifact. His hired hand, Alduran, now finds himself on the run with the crazy old man as a king’s army hunts them down. Alduran isn’t so sure that their flight across the desert sands won’t get them killed, but if he’s learned one thing about old Harlyx, it’s that his mysterious knack for avoiding calamity is at its greatest as the noose draws tightest. It’s a mystery Alduran is ready to explore. Besides, the pay is right.

 

 

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Public Speaking for Authors

 

Lately, this has been the topic I’ve been tackling in my day-to-day life, so I thought I should tackle it here as well.

Stage-Fright-Holding-You-BackLike most writers I know, I’m an introvert. I prefer to write, read, edit, and generally work behind the scenes. When I go out to network, sell books and meet people, I often find myself needing to hole up and recharge afterwards. It takes a lot out of me. But, it’s also a big part of what I do as a publisher and a published author.

Especially this month. Somehow this month’s schedule got filled with speaking engagements, and opportunities to read my book aloud in public. And all of those opportunities happening to fall within the same week and a half have caused my nerves to fray terribly.

So, how, as an introverted person, do I deal with this?

Be prepared

This might seem like a no-brainer, but picking out what section you’re going to read in advance and/or writing out your presentation or speech beforehand and editing it as thoroughly as you might edit your query letter to a publisher will help you feel more at ease with what you’re doing and it will make you more familiar with what you’re going to be reading or saying.

keep-calm-and-let-s-practice-11Practice

Once you have your words picked out, practice saying them out loud. Read to your cats, or like Murandy did, your baby. Read alone, or to someone you trust. It’s all about practicing in a judgment-free zone until you feel more comfortable.

Try not to dwell on it

Whenever you start thinking about it and you feel that anxiety creeping up on you, try to force it down, or will it away. Find something else to focus on and whatever else you do, don’t wallow in that feeling; that will only make it stronger. Find a friend to distract you, or play a video game or something, it will pass.

Speak confidently and slowly

When you get to the actual moment of reading or speaking start loud and keep that pitch, then make sure everything you say is said with emphasis and that you don’t speed up out of nervousness. Speak slowly and enunciate, just like you practiced.

a076a7851bc423dcd8645975b8d4e2c2Make jokes

If you can get the audience to laugh, you’ll feel loads better. If your subject warrants it, or if comedy helps you feel more comfortable, then use it. Engage with your audience and make eye contact with them when you can so speaking to them feels more like a conversation and less like a speech.

Celebrate afterwards!

Never underestimate the value of rewarding yourself for a job well done. If you got over your fear and accomplished what you set out to do, then go celebrate. You’ve earned it.

Our Submissions are OPEN – Here’s what we’re looking for…

This is it. The moment you’ve been waiting for;our submissions are open once again!

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As a small independent publisher, what we’ve found works best for us is to open our submissions in the fall and leave them open until we’ve confirmed our new releases for the upcoming year. This year we’re looking for 3-5 titles to release in 2017 and we’ll keep accepting submissions until we find them.

So how do you submit to us? Well, it all starts here. On our website’s submissions page we list all the types of books we’re looking for and all the ones we absolutely will not be interested in. We also outline what to send us, where to send it, and how long you should expect to wait for a response. We’ve also included some helpful links to videos we’ve made to help you prepare your manuscript and submission package, not just for us, but for anywhere you choose to send it.

But what’s going to set your submission above the rest? What are we really looking for? Well, I’ll tell you.

Your Query Letter

When we receive a submission, the first thing we look at is your query letter. Typically this should be in the body of your email to us. What we’re looking for here is a sense of who you are and what your book is about. Your ability to write well matters even in your query letter because it is your first impression. We’re also looking for the following bits of information:

  • Your genre (or target audience)
  • Your word count (or scope of the project)
  • Your credentials (or writing history)
  • Your concept, what hooks your reader.

Your Synopsis

Next, we’re going to look at your synopsis. This should be no more than one page and is simply a way of introducing us to your story, your setting, your characters, and the plot. We’re looking to see if the story interests us, but we’re also trying to gauge your ability to tell a story and wrap it up effectively. We want to see how the story ends and we want to see your style as a writer. Please include:

  • Your setting
  • Your main characters
  • Your concept, what hooks your reader
  • Your major plot points
  • A satisfying conclusion

Your Sample Chapters

We ask you to send three chapters with your submission package. We’re looking specifically for an engaging opening. We want to be drawn into your story’s world immediately; We want to care about your main character and we want to be interested in what’s going to happen to them. In short, you need to hook us, your reader. Then, you need to hold our attention for three chapters. If you can do that, we’ll ask to see more. We’re looking for:

  • Your style, or ‘voice’ of your writing
  • Your inciting incident, (again, what hooks your reader)
  • Your writing ability (and level of polish)
  • Your world-building
  • The believability of your characters
  • How well you’ve realized the potential we detected in the query letter or synopsis.

If you receive a rejection letter from us:

There are a number of reasons that we might not want your manuscript and we will do our best to tell you exactly why that is. We strive to provide detailed notes for you so that you will be better prepared no matter what steps you choose to take next in your publishing journey. Keep in mind that publishing is a very subjective and selective business and that what doesn’t work for one publisher, may work well for another. Some of the common reasons we pass on a manuscript are as follows:

  • It’s not in our genre, or doesn’t fit with our current list of titles (see our collection here)
  • It’s not ready for publication and needs improvement of some kind
  • Something in it conflicts with our message or values (learn more about us, here)
  • It just didn’t interest or engage us
  • We ask for the full manuscript, but the story doesn’t realize the potential we see in the sample

submissions

I hope you’ve found this blog post helpful and I look forward to reading your submissions!

Go to http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com/submissions to get started!

 

Mirror World News: Publishing 101

2.ArtWORK.Oct16-350x226Adam Giles and I cover the basics of Publishing and your options as a writer with a finished manuscript in this episode of Mirror World News. Usually I provide a more in depth breakdown here on the blog to accompany the video, but this time I’ll be doing it in person on October 12th at the ArtSpeak Gallery in Windsor! There’s still time to register for this workshop on publishing and query-letter writing, through the Arts Council Windsor Region’s website acwr.net.

For now though, here’s the episode. Enjoy!

Editing 101

Mirror World News is back! That’s right, this week and next you’re being treated to two ALL NEW episodes of our YouTube Show. This week’s episode is about Editing in all its forms, so I thought I would supplement that with a blog post on the subject.

But first, here’s the video:

So let’s recap. Step one, write the first draft of your manuscript. Step two, edit. That seems simple, right?

Well, editing can really be broken into a whole bunch of steps. Or that is to say, you should edit multiple times for different reasons. It’s impossible to catch everything in one pass anyways and as you make changes, or have other people offer their feedback, you’re going to want to edit again.  

So what are the types of editing, or the things you should look for? Here’s my list In the order of how I usually approach it:mistakes

Self-Editing

I’ve written a whole blog post on this topic already. You can find that here, but essentially this is the part where you go over your own work and improve it to the best of your ability. I look to correct errors and my own particular weaknesses, while improving style, word choice, and pacing.

imagesBeta Readers

I’ve also written a whole blog post on this topic. That one’s here. This is where you let other people read what you’ve written and offer feedback and suggestions. It’s important to keep an open mind when being critiqued, but also to take the suggestions of your beta readers with a grain of salt. Their ideas of what would improve the story may not always coincide with your own, and in the end, it’s up to you to decide what to change and what not to.


Content Edit

Tinfo-dumptruckhis edit can be done by a friend, or a professional. The editor in this case is looking for content-related issues such as inconsistencies in the plot, characters, or details. They should watch for places where there is either too much detail or not enough, and comment on anything that is unclear or confusing. Style, voice, pacing, and descriptions should all be paid attention to as well.

Line Edit

No matter what order the other edits are undertaken in, the line edit should come last. Again, this can be done by a friend as long as they are very strong with grammar, but I would recommend a professional or semi-professional for this part. The editor at this stage will be looking to fix any technical issues including, but not limited to spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

 

Hope that helps! If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and/or our YouTube Channel for more publishing and writing advice. If you have any editing related questions for me, or would like to suggest a future topic for me to cover, let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

Your invitation to Worlds Collide Gala

Adam Giles, the host of our YouTube series Mirror World News, helped me make a video to tell all of you about our upcoming gala! In case you’re not subscribed to our YouTube channel yet (which is right here!!), I thought I would post the video here as well!

Our YouTube series, Mirror World News, covers all sorts of publishing and writing related topics, such as How to Write a Query Letter and 5 Common Mistakes Authors Make when Submitting to a Publisher. It’s an informative series for writers and I strongly recommend you check it out if you haven’t already.

And the best part is, we have two all new episodes coming out over the next couple of weeks, so make sure to subscribe so you’ll be notified as soon as they go live!

Thanks for reading!

M|W News: How to write an engaging opening

I’ve been reading a lot of submissions lately. To put that into perspective, that’s a lot of reading the first three chapters of books and deciding what works and what doesn’t and if the manuscript I’m looking at has the potential I’m looking for.

The one thing I’ve been noticing lately that really makes or break those first few chapters, or even the opening few paragraphs is how engaging the story is or isn’t. What makes something engaging or not is hard to pin down, but there are a few things that can help.

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Consider your opening line

I can’t stress enough how important your opening line is! It should hook your reader and make them want to read on. Some examples from Mirror World books that I can offer are:

“A little violet envelope with sparkling silver wings fluttered through the fog in search of its destination.” – She Dreamed of Dragons by Elizabeth J. M. Walker

“When Mirena received the letter, she knew it could only contain bad news.” – Mirror’s Hope by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred

“A baby’s cry.” – Sol of the Coliseum by Adam Gaylord

These are all very different opening lines, but they have one thing in common. They all subtly put a question into the reader’s mind. They’re intriguing. Just by reading them you want to know more. Where is the violet envelope going? What sort of bad news is Mirena about to receive? How does she know it’s bad? What is a baby doing in the Coliseum?

They also all set the tone of the story you’re about to read by giving just the tiniest bit of information. Again, so that you want to know more and therefore keep reading. Elizabeth’s opening line in She Dreamed of Dragons tells the reader clearly that they are entering into a fantasy world where envelopes fly and anything is possible. Adam Gaylord does the opposite and subverts the reader’s expectations by starting a gladiator novel with the sound of a baby crying in the last place you would expect to hear that.

 ‘In media res’inmediasres

Another way to generate interest in the story you’re telling in the first few opening lines is to start in the middle of whatever is going on. Your first scene is just as important as your first line. It should be interesting and in the thick of things while still being clear enough that the reader is able to follow along. Your goal should be to immerse your reader in the story immediately.

Here’s an example from Leigh Goff’s young adult fantasy novel, Disenchanted

While scooping dried witches wort into sachets at the shop counter, I watched a girl with dark upswept hair, wearing a Puritan cap and dress, emerge from behind a tall display shelf of Aunt Janie’s Forbidden Passion Potion. She looked to be a bit older than me, maybe seventeen or eighteen.

“Are you one of the historic foundation’s tour guides? If so, you get a discount on the merchandise.”

As you can see by the example, ‘in media res’ doesn’t need to refer to being in the middle of the plot or in the middle of an action sequence, but it does need to be where things are happening. The opening scene should also be relevant to your story and directly tie in to what your story is about. A good way to do this is to start with whatever scene it is that kicks your plot into action. In the case of Leigh Goff’s Disenchanted, it’s the meeting of this girl dressed like a Puritan that sets Sophie’s story into motion and the Puritan girl is directly relevant to the plot. (No spoilers, you’ll just have to read it!)

Avoid infodump or passive backstory details

Backstory about the info-dumptruckcharacters and the setting are important. It helps to explain what’s going on and makes clear to the reader how the characters got to where they are now. However, it is extremely important not to just get this all out at once (especially at the beginning) even if you might be tempted to. Find creative ways to reference the past without just telling the reader what happened. Or, spread the information through the action instead of telling it all at once.

Continuing the scene from above, Leigh Goff does this very well in Disenchanted:

“Are you one of the historic foundation’s tour guides? If so, you get a discount on the merchandise.”

It wasn’t unusual for ordinary girls to be touring around Wethersfield, Connecticut, in period costumes, pointing out graves of the seriously self-righteous Puritans who participated in hanging the Wethersfield witches. However, I knew all the ordinaries who had summer jobs with the foundation, and I didn’t recognize her, not that she looked like one of them beyond the outfit.

I tightened the strings on the sachets and tossed them into a large decorative basket on the shop floor. I wiped the honey-scented witcheswort dust on my spring green apron.

“Would you be interested in sampling our Tulips to Kiss Stick? The tulip pollen lushifies your lips.”

Information about the setting and the history of the town is provided as context and it is neatly tucked between the dialogue and the action, so the scene continues without getting bogged down with information and the reader learns what they need to know to follow along.

 Show, don’t show-dont-tell-checkhovtell

I’m sure you’ve heard this advice a million times: Show, don’t tell! But what does it mean and how do you do it?

It has a little to do with all the things I’ve already mentioned. The important thing to keep in mind is never to tell the reader something when you can show it to them instead. This is another way you can avoid info dumps. In the example above, Leigh Goff never actually mentions that her protagonist, Sophie, works at her Aunt Janie’s shop, nor does she expressly say what kind of shop it is exactly, yet all of those things are clear by Sophie’s actions and the products she interacts with.

Showing also means using active words and language to describe what’s happening in your story. Try to avoid telling us what has already happened and instead focus on what currently going on.

 

So, take a good look at your first line, your first paragraph and your first page and check your story to see how engaging it is. Does it draw readers in? Does it hook them by subtly presenting questions so they want to read more? Does it provide the information they need to follow along without bogging them down in the details? And most of all, does it show instead of tell?

If you have any more tips for writing an engaging opening, make sure to leave them in the comments below! And if you’re looking for more information on this topic, be sure to check out this week’s episode of Mirror World News:

 

 

M|W News: 5 common mistakes authors make…

If you’re looking to submit to a publisher, you’ll want to know the five most common mistakes authors make when submitting and our tips on how to avoid them. We’ve recently released an episode of Mirror World News on this very topic so I’ll just leave that at the bottom of this blog post for you!

The number 1 mistake authors make when submitting is…

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  1. Ignoring the submission guidelines

I can’t stress this enough: FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES!

If the publisher has provided guidelines on their submissions page, those guidelines are there to help you! Often, the guidelines will tell you exactly what the publisher wants to see and how they would like it delivered to them. If the publisher asks for a query and a synopsis, send both! If they want three chapters of your manuscript, send three chapters. Don’t send the whole manuscript, or an arbitrary number of pages or words, just give them what they have asked to see. Following the submissions guidelines is an easy thing to get right and trust me, a publisher appreciates when the directions they’ve given are followed.

Typically the guidelines are found on the publisher’s website and are clearly labelled as ‘submissions guidelines’ or ‘how to submit’. Its definitely worth finding and following these instructions, as not following the guidelines can lead to any of the other common mistakes found below.

  1. Submitting the Wrong Genre

Typically publishing houses have one or more genres that they specialize in. Most often, the genres that the publisher specializes in or is looking to specialize in will be listed with their submissions guidelines. If not, this information can easily be found by doing a little research on the publisher or looking at what other types of books the publisher has already published. If your book doesn’t look like it fits with the other books the publisher has published, then it’s less likely the publisher will take an interest in your manuscript. If the publisher states they are looking for action-packed science fiction, for example, they definitely won’t want to see your sweet contemporary romance, or your story about vampires and werewolves.

The trick to avoiding this mistake is to research the publishing house before submitting, follow the guidelines provided, and find publishing houses that publish the genres that you write in.

 

  1. Omitting important detailsmistakes

The publisher needs to know certain facts about your manuscript to know if it is something they are interested in. Omitting important details like the genre of your manuscript, the word count, the target market, or even your background as an author, can hurt your chances because it creates a scenario where the publisher has to guess. The publisher could contact you to fill in the blanks for them, but more often than not they do not have the time to do this. Not knowing the word count, or not having the genre spelt out for them might not be a deal-breaker, but for every guess the publisher has to make, it becomes harder and harder for a decision to be made regarding your manuscript. This could result in delays, or for the publisher deciding to pass on your book simply because they can’t tell if it is worth the risk.

 

  1. Leaving out key plot points

We’ve talked about synopsis writing before, but another common mistake authors make when submitting is not including the entirety of their plot in their synopsis. The whole purpose behind requesting a synopsis is so that the publisher can see at a glance what the arc of your story is and this includes the ending! Make sure to include your major characters, setting, key plot points, climax and conclusion in your synopsis without simply listing them. If you need help doing this, please see this episode of Mirror World News.

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  1. Failing to ‘hook’ the reader

In your query letter, your synopsis and your sample chapters, it is crucial to ‘hook’ your reader. Your main goal when preparing your submission package should be to capture the publisher’s interest. You have three main chances to do this.

In your query: What is it about your manuscript that makes it interesting or different? What would make someone want to read it? Distill this down to a simple statement if you can and include it in your query letter.  If you’re having trouble with this, try pitching your manuscript to a friend or family member. What can you tell them about the story that would make them want to read it?

In your synopsis: A synopsis is a summary, but you’re still telling a story. Try to hit the highlights of your manuscript in an engaging way. If you’re finding this difficult, practice by writing the blurb that you would want to appear on the back of your book, then flesh it out by revealing all the plot points and most importantly, the ending.

In your sample chapters: I’ve written a whole blog post on this topic alone, but here are the highlights. Make your opening line count, start where the story picks up and gets interesting, avoid bogging the reader down with too much information all at once and make your writing as engaging and active as you can.

That’s it! And now, you can listen to Adam discuss this topic on Mirror World News! Be sure to like, subscribe and comment if there are any other topics you want us to cover on the blog or on Mirror World News! Thanks!

How to submit to a publisher

you-will-need-bangleTo submit to a publisher you will need:
A Query Letter
A Synopsis
The First Few Chapters of your COMPLETED manuscript

We’ve talked about Query Letters, but what about the ‘synopsis’ you’re asked to include with your submission package?

A synopsis is a succinct summary of your novel. It should include the setting, the main characters, the plot as well as the main subplots, and give an indication of genre and atmosphere. When writing a synopsis, focus on being brief while hitting the highlights without sounding like you’re just listing out plot points. Somewhat like a sports announcer gives a play-by-play to summarize what happens in a game, a synopsis should break down what happens in your novel in an engaging way.

Isn’t a synopsis the same as a blurb that you might find on the back of a book?
No, actually. If you’re good at writing engaging blurbs, that’s a good place to start, but blurbs contain questions meant to hook the reader into wanting to know more. A synopsis shouldn’t leave too much to the imagination, it should answer the question ‘what happens in this book’ and it should tell the person reading it how the novel ends and the plot is resolved.

How long should a synopsis be?
However long the submission guidelines are asking for. No longer, but shorter is okay as long as all the information is covered.

Typically submissions guidelines ask for a query letter, a synopsis, and the first 1 to 3 chapters  of a manuscript. Why only the first few chapters? Can I send any three chapters I want? Or just send the whole manuscript instead?

It’s best to send what the publisher or agent is looking to see and generally they will always want to see the beginning. The reason for this is to see if the story and the writing grabs them. Typically, an editor or agent can tell within minutes of reading the first few pages if the book is what they are looking for and if the writing has the strength needed to ‘hook’ them. Also, if they start at the beginning of your book and can’t follow along, they know that there’s a problem. The opening to your story should be strong, engaging, clear, and hook your reader as soon as possible, preferably with the first line or first paragraph.

If an editor or agent likes what they’ve read, they will request the remainder of the manuscript, which is why it is crucial to have the book finished and as polished as you can make it before submitting. You don’t want to miss that window of opportunity when it comes.

For a more in depth discussion on this topic, check out the latest episode of Mirror World News:

While you’re there, check out this interview Murandy Damodred and I did with Adam last week:

 

 

Mirror World News: The Importance of Beta Readers!

I first came across the term ‘Beta’ in reference to video games. When I worked at First Age Studios, we made use of teams of Beta Testers to try out games and applications that were still in development to get an idea of whether the game was ready to go to market, or if it still needed a little tweaking. And guess what? It pretty much ALWAYS needed some improvements.

Books are the same.

imagesWhen it comes to manuscripts, these test readers are called Beta readers. They’re the people you get to read your manuscript before it’s ready to be submitted to an agent or editor and again before it is ready to go to print.

Beta readers can help catch things that the people who are working closely on the manuscript, namely the writer, the editor, and the publisher, might miss. They can also serve as a test audience to see how the book will be received in general by the people who read it.

For this reason, it’s important to have a variety of Beta readers read through the manuscript and give feedback. No two readers are alike and more people test reading means a larger pool of opinions to draw from. Too many beta readers though could pose a logistical problem, so I recommend sticking to three to five if possible. This leaves room in the unfortunate case that one of your readers isn’t as reliable or helpful as the others, and doesn’t overwhelm you with notes afterwards in case everyone is really thorough.

So who makes a good Beta reader? Well, technically anyone who reads your work in this pre-published stage and gives you feedback is a Beta reader, but the more feedback they give, the better. The Beta readers to avoid are the ones that give one word answers or who just tell you ‘I liked it,” or “I didn’t like it.” The point of having your manuscript read at this stage is to get feedback, positive, negative, or otherwise.

This feedback can give you an idea of whether your book might be engimagesdaging to your audience, whether it fits the genre you are writing in, or whether you missed or overlooked something in the plot, characters, or setting. It can also help you predict and be prepared for the kinds of things people might mention when reviewing your book later when it is available for sale.

Now typically, Beta readers are not professional readers. They are simply people whom you have approached or who have maybe offered to read your manuscript. You’re going to need to tell them what to look for. I suggest sending them a quick and broad questionnaire along with your manuscript so they know what kinds of things you want them to look for while reading. I would recommend including some general questions like, ‘What did you like?’ ‘What didn’t you like?’ ‘What do you think could be improved upon?’ as well as some more specific questions that highlight the things that you maybe know you want to work on, like ‘How do you feel about the prison break scene in chapter 5?’

As a publishing house, when we employ Beta readers we’re looking for a variety of things,, namely, how engaging a story is, what works and what doesn’t, if the author’s intentions come across clearly, and if there are any plot holes or things that the readers don’t like or don’t understand.

Ultimately the goal of having a manuscript BETA read is to help look for weaknesses in the story that can be fixed or strengthened and to test the manuscript with readers to see how they respond to it.

So you may be asking yourself, ‘What do I do with the feedback once I get it?’

Here’s a few things to keep in mind as you read over the opinions and the suggestions that you get back from Beta Readers.

  1. Take all criticism with a grain of salt
  2. Only use the suggestions you agree with
  3. Compare all the feedback and pay closer attention to the points where the opinions align
  4. Only make those changes you feel can reasonably make without changing your vision or compromising your story
  5. DO NOT rewrite your book to suit the opinions of others; instead use the opinions to make improvements as you feel necessary
  6. Remember that it’s your book and you have the final say in how the story is told.

8MWNEWSLOGO

For an in-depth discussion on Beta readers and their usefulness, check out the latest episode of Mirror World News here: https://youtu.be/7y6z-vWIF_k