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Beta Readers needed

For my upcoming novel

Details in this blog

Before there was an opportunity to publish a book on your own, free, through sites like Kindle Direct/Create Space and Smashwords, would be authors had to submit their work to agents and publishers. The alternative was to come up with at least a few thousand dollars to have the vanity press publish it for you.

Though you may think everyone deserves the right to publish their own book the one thing the old system prevented was a lot of premature publication. Quite a bit of the stuff I’ve been reading falls into this category. The authors of these books haven’t matured as writers.

Maturity as a writer comes in two parts – craft and humility. I think they develop hand in hand. The more you write the better you get, and the better you get, the more you realize you can always improve. With the knowledge you’re never going to get it right comes humility.

To put it another way if you haven’t done your 10,000 hours of craft, it’s not likely you’re going to have any humility. Still don’t get it? Okay, a lot of the new self-published authors I’m reading can’t write and having decided to prematurely publish their work shows they have no humility either, or perhaps I should I say, yet.

Completing a novel, though a real achievement and something to be proud of, doesn’t necessarily make worthy of publication. Yet that’s exactly what so many new authors do. Filled with hubris they forge ahead with unrealistic expectations. The book dies and so do their dreams.

Before you begin to think I’m sounding all high and mighty I should tell you I cringe when I think of the material I submitted to publishers when I was young and full of myself.

Just recently, when my publisher decided to issue my third novel as a paperback I was given the opportunity to “tweak” it. I soon abandoned the project and told my publisher to let it go out without any changes. After reading the first few pages I realized once I started I would pretty much want to rewrite the entire thing. It was just so, well, mediocre.

If you’ve got the guts you’ll consider this failure part of your apprenticeship, take what you’ve learned from negative reviews like mine at NOT YOUR FAMILY, NOT YOUR FRIEND BOOK REVIEWS and continue to write and improve.

So, to those new indie-authors whose books I’ve trashed here’s some advice I didn’t have space for or it wasn’t appropriate to include in the review.


– I revise a manuscript a minimum three times or until I feel it’s finished.

– Then I put it away for at least three months or however long it takes to get it out of my system.

– While I’m waiting to be purged, I work on something completely different.

– Once I’ve put some distance between my ego and the book I’m ready. I take out the manuscript and send it to as many beta readers for comment as I can. If you don’t have a stable of readers who are free from conflict of interest, join a writing group online of otherwise and workshop the novel.

– At some point I gather all the comments and criticisms together and begin my final rewrite.

If you follow this method I guarantee your final version will be different and better than it was when you deemed it complete.

Speaking of which, I need to increase my roster of beta readers for my forthcoming sixth novel. This is not critiquing, but rather checking for plot glitches, discrepancies or anything else you think might improve the work. Finding typos and dropped words is also really helpful.

Your reward will be satisfaction at having input into the novel and being recognized for your efforts on the Acknowledgements Page. I will also return the favor if you’re an author. Contact me at

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.


Video book reviews of self-published authors now at

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My new novels, FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend and The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic are available on Amazon and as e-books at

Read Reviews

Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to my Eco-Fi series ECO-WARRIORS, that includes Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients

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