Welcome to day two and the letter B of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Today’s guest, talking about the power of beta-readers is Kelsey D. Garmendia.
Beta-reading—if you had brought that mere phrase up to me about a year ago, I would’ve given a shocked expression and said no way. I’ve always had this deep dark fear that my work would be stolen, and I would never get credit for the hard work and commitment I put into my stories. But over the past 365 days, I’ve learned that beta-readers are a gold mine.
There’s a plethora of knowledge and guidance I was offered during my undergraduate years. While I went to SUNY New Paltz, the creative workshop and craft courses were by far my favorite. But I lost all the insight from peers and fellow aspiring writers when they handed me that fancy new degree.
While swimming in the indie world, I met my friend Heaven Lyanne Flores through her blog. I was featured on her page during a takeover and decided to keep in contact with her. Let me tell you, keeping in touch with her was one of the best decisions I made in my life. Not only are we friends now, but we are also writing motivations for each other. If not for her, beta-reading would’ve never entered my life.
I was finishing up on my third novel, Disenchanted, when I hit a wall in my editing stage. Heaven suggested I use beta-reading to get through my block. I was a little nervous—ok, maybe more than a little, but I took the plunge and sent out my book to some close friends who I knew wouldn’t hold back on criticism to spare my feelings.
When the responses started rolling in, my wall that previously kept me from editing came crashing and tumbling down. The comments I received were not only helpful, but encouraging all the same. I was able to fix the issues in the storyline and flesh out the ideas and plot points that people loved.
Disenchanted has been published now for six months. Not only have I’ve gotten amazing, tear-jerking reviews on it, but I also feel even more proud of my work. All of that stemmed from the great beta-readers I worked with along the way.
In a nutshell, here’s what my opinion of beta-reading has changed to:
There’s really no downside to this so long as you get dependable, trustworthy readers who will not hold back what they think and respect your wishes to not share the work.
Keeping your group manageable is key. Having your fingers extremely wide may delay your writing process. I definitely get distracted easily. So keeping my beta group small was a great way to stay on top of things.
And last but not least, don’t be afraid to try it. Beta-reading changed the way I look at writing. As writers, we’ll never be in this alone. So why should the actual writing process be any different?
Kelsey D. Garmendia, 24, is an alumnus of the State University of New York at New Paltz. She obtained a Bachelors Degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. Garmendia is featured in Confettifall, Embodied Effigies, Penduline Press, The Stonesthrow Review, My Unfinished Novel, Poydras Review, and Midnight Screaming.
She also has three self-published novels: Burn Our Houses Down and If I Lose are both part of a book series with the next installment to be published early in 2015 and her newest novel, Disenchanted, is a stand-alone.
Cindy here again!
Thanks for stopping by the blog today. I’d always thought I would have beta-readers for my novels and now I know for sure.