What can I say, it’s another dirty word: Proofreading.
If you’re an Indie Author like me, you are going to try and do as much of the heavy lifting as you can. But, trust me on this, another set of eyes is worth it. Better yet, the more the merrier!
You can read the same thing a hundred, a couple of hundred times, and it will look the same to you. In fact, you know what you are trying to say, so your brain will think it sees the word you are intending to write, but it’s not the correct one. After all, who knows your story better than you do? I can’t tell you how many times I overlooked “adored” as “adorned”. Spell check didn’t catch it because it’s a correctly spelled word. Shame on me.
That’s where we’re going to get into our topic of the day: Beta Readers! These can be your friends, your co-workers, your next door neighbors…anyone that you think will give you honest and open feedback about your first draft. Now, you want to do this after you’ve already run it through spell check a couple a three times. Don’t ignore those green squiggly lines either.
Ask your Beta Readers for a few things. After all, these people are getting an advanced look at the next best-selling novel that’s going to be out on the market! Ask them to give you feedback on:
- Storyline: Did it make sense? Did it follow a logical path? Did the reader feel invested?
- Characters: Did they have a good character arc? Were they relatable? What did they like? What didn’t they like?
- Details: Were there enough? Were there too many? Did you show and not tell?
You will always want honesty over false praise. There is nothing worse than asking someone what they thought and getting, “I liked it.” That tells the writer absolutely nothing. You might as well be told that the person didn’t even bother to read what you gave them. I would much rather hear about my novel’s flaws than hear fake words. After all, if I don’t know what’s broken, I can’t fix it.