When an author sends their book out to beta readers they cross their fingers and hope they hear back the words “this is the best book I’ve read this year,” “I didn’t sleep last night because i couldn’t put it down,” and “you are a magical genius!”
But that’s not always the case. In fact, if you chose your beta readers correctly you will not receive praise. You will have met your worst critics.
“Anyhow.. We need it to go out with a bang. So I’m thinking something in the epilogue or right before. I just don’t know what.” – Beta #1
“It just feels like the epilogue is missing something…” – Beta #2
“The story is good and just needs to get to it faster and eliminate all the risks that are preventing that from happening.” -Beta #3
“I was still on board as I could still love it but then it turned strange.” – Beta #4
I chose eleven beta readers for Wild Abandon. Three loved everything about it – no changes (whew hoo!!!) Another three loved it but had some changes for me to make it better (awesome!)
But five ripped it to shreds!!!!
“OMG, I realized I’ve written a dissertation. I’m so sorry if I offended you. I know you’ve worked so hard on this. Please believe that this is me trying to be honest.” -Beta #4
For the month of February I was devastated. When you work so hard on something only to have it criticized, well, your soul just crumbles in. I couldn’t look at my manuscript without hating everything about it. I went from adoring it to loathing it. My April release date was like an upcoming apocalypse.
But then I realized something. I chose these beta readers for a reason. From my personal friends to members of my street team to bloggers who I respect — these women are the best eyes in contemporary romance (in my opinion at least.) I know you can’t please everyone but if I don’t try to make this book as near perfect for them then I’ve failed as a story teller. And if I can’t put my ego aside and accept criticism then I’ll never survive this business.
So I put on my big girl panties and went to work.
I pushed my April release date back a month and gave every single beta recommendation the attention it deserved. Wild Abandon got a brand new epilogue, a new prologue, an entire chapter was deleted (broke my heart) and conversations were shortened. The story is still the same but the pacing is revised and the ending more reader friendly.
And when it was done I loved it!
I’m excited for everyone to visit Napa through Crystal’s eyes. I can’t wait for you to embrace Ed, cringe at Crystal’s dates, laugh at Scarlett and fall in-love with Nate just as much as I have.
For everyone who told me I was amazing and especially for those who told me I suck…
Olive Juice (I love you : )