Six weeks ago I was on the verge of sending my manuscript to my editor, but I had a few interruptions: My older twin daughters (yes, we have two sets of twins) graduated from high school and we had to visit the colleges they are going to for orientations, we moved to a new house (which was a ton of physical work, and I aggravated an old collarbone injury), my boss (and friend) was fired and I’ve taken on a bigger role at work, and my wife and I have both had to travel for various other reasons.
I saw some of this coming, so I decided to take advantage of the pause to have two more beta readers go through the manuscript. Both are accomplished readers with keen and critical eyes, and both are preparing to publish their first novels. I finally had some time today to look at their feedback in detail…
The most exciting feedback was that both seemed to enjoy the novel and were eager to keep reading. I think that is the single highest compliment a novel can get. That made me very happy.
On the other hand… They were honest and critical and called out the novel on several counts. Not huge things, but little, annoying things that they could not figure out or seemed poorly introduced, or where the writing was extraneous, etc.
One of my beta readers provided feedback inline via Word’s review methodology. The other wrote out a couple long emails. As you can see in the picture at the top, I printed the version with the Word comments, and then I printed and cut up the email and stapled those comments to the various pages to which they applied.
Most of the work I need to do in response to the feedback I got will be pretty simple. Some of it, though, is going to take more thought and a bit of rewriting.
There was some good feedback about too much “stage direction” (excessive description of physical activity that would otherwise be assumed by the reader), one instance in which I introduced a new concept without adequate foreshadowing, a need for greater clarity on the timeline, some quibbles about one aspect of the novel’s secondary character’s activities, etc. So…work to do.
It’s all good. All good except never having enough time. But that is the reality we all face. As our home life settles down, we get settled into our new home, and I get my work situation under control, I will have time to finish this off and get it to my editor.
I figure about 40 more hours of work should get me to where I am ready to send it to her.
Of course, I’ve said that before…
On a related topic about which I will write more later, I’ve now sold more than 3,000 copies of my first novel. It continues to sell well with almost no promotion or playing games with the price (it has been $1.49 for 18 months). I’ve learned a ton from publishing that story, which I will share in an upcoming blog. Much of it I have already highlighted, but some of it is new.