A few days ago, when Rhythm Of My Heart released, The Smutty Kitty posted her review of the book on the net, and it was a stunning review. I think the reason I liked it so much was because she’d pretty much written about her gut response to the book. I liked it too because she took it almost word for word from the feedback she’d given me after beta reading the story back in March.
Kitty wrote, and I quote:
“I love this book and I love you for having these words in your head, putting them on paper (or a word doc), and for giving me the chance to read them before the rest of the world could have them.”
But here’s the thing. I laughed when I read this, because she was essentially thanking me for writing the book, when in fact I was the one who was eternally grateful that she read it – before the rest of the world.
As a writer, a book critique prior to submitting it to an editor is vital. Once that story is done, it’s incredibly difficult to step back from it, look at it objectively and see the flaws. (And let me tell you…there are always flaws in my books!)
Which is why my beta readers have become invaluable to me. I have three readers (Kitty, Dawn and Fe), all lovers of erotic romance, whom I send my books to when I finally type those two little words: The End. They get to do what I cannot – spot the flaws. They read the books with a critical eye, finding areas of weakness, areas that need improvement and yes, even areas that have to be deleted and totally rewritten. Fortunately for me, they also point out the parts of the books that work or don’t need to be deleted.
I’m always totally amazed that these three wonderful woman find the time to beta read my books. Because I’m usually on deadline and I’m a slow writer, by the time my books are done, there are only a few days to get them to my editor. Which means my beta readers have to scramble to get the stories read before I submit them. And they do it. Every time!
Since Kitty shared her feedback, I figure it’s only fair to share the email I sent on the 12th of March, when I’d completed Rhythm Of the Night and needed urgent feedback:
Hello my lovelies.
I’m in desperate need of your help.
I’ve just finished Rhythm Of My Heart, Book 3 in the Speed series, and I need your eyes and advice.
However…I need it quickly. The book must be in by the 20th of March, and after you’ve read it, I’m going to need time to make all the appropriate changes.
Think you have the time to get it read in the next few days?
If you do, I will be forever in your debt. (Hell, I must be forever in your debt several times over already.)
If you can’t, I understand. None of us have time to beta read a 50 000 word book at the drop of a hat.
Let me know, either way.
You know what? I had feedback from all three within a few days – which left me time to make all the appropriate changes. These three women help make my books better. So to beta readers everywhere, and especially to Kitty, Dawn and Fe, I say a very big thank you!