Who Are Your Readers?

No, not the potential ones for when your book is published, but the ones who point out all the flaws in your work in progress?

I recently joined an online crit group and it's my first one ever. Now I wonder how I could have gotten this far without one. It's helping me become a better writer. Reading and line-editing others' work helps you notice things in your own. I also thought my book was almost ready to query agents. Er, not so fast Mr. Prince. Now I see how much work still needs to be done.

Fortunately, I'm lucky enough to be with some really good writers and I'm glad to be in their company. Before joining, I imagined I would send the book to a few readers--some relatives and friends that have young kids who read MG and YA. I think I'll still do that in the future, once the book is the best it can be.

So who are your trusted readers: spouse? friends? yourself?


cindy said...

i have two awesome crit groups. one i met in my novel writing class--none of whom currently write fantasy. and another i met at a conference who all write speculative fiction. it's a great balance.

they are all so talented and encouraging. my novel would not be where it is without them.

congrats on getting in a fantastic crit group! i'm envious. i'd wedge myself in if i could take on another. haha!

Elise Murphy said...

Ah, shucks, Ron! I'm so glad it works for all of us. We rock!

My husband reads everything first, even before you guys get it. That saves me some embarrassment.

Tabitha said...

I've got a fantastic crit group myself. :) I started out asking friends and family to read it, probably like most writers, but no one would give me any serious comments that helped improve my writing. So I went hunting for a crit group, and have finally landed in an amazing one. :)

Big Plain V said...

I've been writing in a vacuum for years. I've got two complete novels that no other human being has ever set eyes on. I've just never been able to find any knowledgeable beta readers in my area.

On on-line crit group, though - that sounds like a wonderful idea.

Out of the ten or so lay readers who read my latest novel, only one of them had anything bad to say about it. In fact -- she yelled at me. Apparently I thought it was a good idea to leave about a half dozen mysteries unsolved, you know, to create some anticipation for a second book. My friend felt extremely disappointed, outraged, and even betrayed.

Here's the funny thing: everything this girl pointed out was echoed by my agent when he called to discuss the book. So. I guess this means I officially have one trustworthy beta reader.

Carrie Harris said...

I've got an online group and a couple of partners now, which is a recent development that I've been kicking myself for not attempting sooner. Groups are great because you get discussions going, multiple opinions, that kind of thing. And then partners are great because you get a really DEEP read.

Hopefully it'll make for a great book! Congrats on finding a good group too.

Wordy Boy in a Floppy Hat. said...

I throw it up on web-pages and hope passers-by will stop, read, and tell me what they think.

It is working so far :).


Pink Ink said...

You are lucky, Prince. What's great is you are willing to do the work after the feedback!

I have two groups, so I get one pass-through from the first, my drivel-ish version, and then a second pass through from the second. My husband reads when he has the time. My oldest daughter (who is my audience) is a fast reader and not afraid to tell me where it is slow!

The groups don't line edit, but they give me a deadline to have something written by.

Anonymous said...

Some of my Trusted Readers are fellow writers; some are people who read a lot and have a good eye for detail. Family/romantic partners do not read anything until it's published.