This piece originally ran in my April newsletter. If you’d like to sign up for my newsletter, and get all the posts mailed directly to you, sign up here. We also do monthly giveaways and have “sneak peeks” at chapters from upcoming books.
Although there’s nothing like the exaltation of finishing a book, it’s quickly followed by a panic … wondering if anyone will like it or not. To help me decide, I have a group of “beta readers” — readers who read the book in its development stage. Some of the betas have been with me for five or six years now, and they read my works in progress, then email me their gut-level reaction to help determine if I’ve conveyed the right feeling about each of the characters. (For The Red Bikini, I thanked all the TRB beta readers in acknowledgments — you can find all their names there. Good beta readers are worth their weight in gold, and I’m so very thankful I have such terrific ones.)
I met all my beta readers in different ways — some are old friends, some are new friends, a few I met randomly on Twitter when I put out a cold call in 2006 for someone to beta-read my manuscript! I’ve had various beta readers over the years, but five are true troupers who have been with me from the beginning and have read all three finished manuscripts.
This is Debi, one of my first betas, and she’s one of the “old friends.”
Debi and I were best friends way back in junior high. (She’s even a key player in my blog serial How I Met Superman!) We spent a wonderful, memorable summer riding bikes all over town, laying out by the pool, talking about boys, spending the night at each other’s houses, doing each other’s nails, and telling each other everything! She moved away in 9th grade, though, and we lost touch for some time. But we’ve reconnected in recent years and she’s become one of my earliest fans — and is probably my most faithful beta reader. I owe Debi a HUGE thanks for all her support and encouragement!
Next time: Meet my CP!