Konrath wrote that just because the publishing paradigm is shifting, the future of literature is quite safe. As to the issue of quality control, Konrath pointed out that there are good freelance editors - ahem, those of us here at The Blood Red Pencil among them - as well as critique groups and beta readers to help writers maintain a high standard of writing. You can read Konrath's entire post on his blog, A Newbie's Guide to Publishing.
When I read Konrath's article, I found it supportive of the post Terry Odell did here last month on the value of critique partners, and it also reminded me of the recent experience I had with beta readers. In the past, I've been in critique groups that have helped me become better at this craft of writing, but I had never used a beta reader until I decided to go indie with my latest mystery, Boxes For Beds.
I didn't set out to get a beta reader. That happened in a round-about way when our own Dani Greer put me in contact with a good editor, as she did not have time to do a full edit. However, she did offer to read the manuscript and give some feedback. Her responses were quite helpful. She pointed out areas where the motivation for some actions was a bit weak, and she also made suggestions for strengthening the historical aspect. I had been so focused on the mystery and the relationships between the characters, I had forgotten about those little historical details that can firmly cement a story in a time period.
I also had another beta reader, Cathy Richmond, who was a member of the critique group I belonged to in Omaha, Nebraska and is a successful author of Inspirational Historical Romance. She read the manuscript after I made the changes, as Dani was not able to give the book a second read. Plus I thought it would be good to have yet another cold read, and I let Cathy know that I was particularly interested in feedback on the historical details and the motivations. She let me know where the changes had worked, and mentioned a couple of places that could use a little more clarification.
|This is Cathy's latest book. Don't you love the cover?|
For those who might be interested, here is a link to an interview with Patterson on Salon.
Coming soon, Dani will interview two authors for whom she is a beta reader. Both write very different mystery series, and they might give you ideas for organizing a team of your own beta readers.
Maryann Miller is a novelist, editor and sometimes actress. Her latest release is Stalking Season, the second book in the Seasons Series. The first book, Open Season, is available as an e-book for all devices. To check out her editing rates visit her website. When not working, Maryann likes to take her dog for a walk and work outside on her little ranch in East Texas. Sometimes she plays on stage, but she does avoid computer games as much as possible. She is also very grateful for the support from her writing and editing friends.