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Monday, July 25, 2011

Beta Readers

I have to admit, this is kind of a sticky subject for me. When I first started to write, I couldn’t imagine showing my work to anybody else. What if they rejected it? I kept my writing a secret and didn’t share it with anyone.

Then I joined a critique group, and I realized that there is an amazing, supportive group of people out there who are willing to read your work and offer advice and encouragement. It was amazing to see my critique partners grow and improve with each passing week. Instead of being embarrassed, we saw the value of sharing our work in a supportive environment.

BHH says that people commit self-sabotage sometimes, and I think there is something to be said for that. Maybe I was sabotaging myself by holding onto my writing all of that time and refusing to let it go free, to either sink or swim. Maybe I was afraid of failure. Or that I might actually succeed. Whatever the case, I set myself back that much further. Thank God I found the courage to join that group.

But this was supposed to be about beta readers.

Now that I’m in the querying process, I have gotten braver about sharing my work. I’m still extremely careful about who I give it to, trying to select people who I know read a lot and like mysteries, although that isn’t a must. The most important thing to me is that I know they will actually read what I give them and offer constructive feedback. For the most part, the friends I have trusted with my work have been great, and I have no regrets.

So, I’m curious, do you guys use beta readers? If so, what has your experience been like?

Have a great writing week!

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