Friday, September 18, 2015

PNWA 2015 Workshop Review #6: Treat Your Book Like a Start-Up

(Image from:

You're probably worried I'm jumping the timeline track again a la Quentin Tarantino, apparently skipping from Workshop Review #3 to #6.

I assure you I'm not.  At least not this time.

According to my notes, I have the Agents and Editors Forums listed as Workshops # 4 & #5, which I previously posted.  I wrote them first because during our busy fire season, these laundry-list entries were quick and easy to concoct.  (We're still dealing with wildfires here in WA State, but the weather has taken a turn for the better and we're slowly getting the fires under control--for now).

Anyway, the Treat Your Book Like a Start-Up was presented by Lucy Silag.

Since nearly every start-up needs more than just a CEO, a book often needs the help of more than one author in order to get published. 

This is where beta readers come in.

(Image found on Steven Symes blog, from Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson)
Miss Silag's tips on recruiting beta readers:
Select readers who are familiar with the genre you are writing in.
Find a reader who is another writer.
Betas can be found through writers groups, librarians, social groups (online and in real life), on-line forums and workshops, as well as through writing classes (classroom and on-line).
Keep in mind you're not just giving out your manuscript for folks to read at their leisure--you need to get feedback.
If you're not getting the feedback you need, you'll need to rethink your start-up strategy.
You may have to remind your beta recruits about adhering to the deadline you've established.
If a beta doesn't follow through, then it would be wise to seek out another recruit for your next book.
(Image found on From Isi, originally from Peanuts by Charles Schultz)
Finding reliable betas can develop into meaningful relationships and networking.
After obtaining the feedback you need, you'll feel more confident about publishing your book.
Another good indicator occurs when a reader says your book reminds them of another popular work.
There may be times when you don't agree with a reader's feedback, so it helps to recruit as many betas as possible in order to get something of a consensus.
To help alleviate any difficulty, be sure to read widely in you genre so you know the standards.
And speaking of standards, if you join Book Country, the site provides standardized critique data, which you could include in your query letters.
Finally, be sure to thank all your beta readers.
(Image from:  Jenna Moreci's YouTube Channel)

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