How to make sure your book is ready to read.

If you are an author you need beta readers. I dare say you cannot do without them. So what the heck is a Beta Reader? For any author that should not be a question popping to mind. If you don’t know what one is you gots some splainin’ to do. But in case you are a new author, beta is simply short for beta test. You gamers out there should get that. So think beta test reader. That should give you an idea where I am going with this. Yes, you are going to have people test read your novel.

For the first time novelist the idea of handing over your work to someone that may be a person you only know online is a frightening thing to do. Don’t hand it over to just anyone. I do beta reading and I do it for some scary people. Friends. Online friends. (Looks around at the walls to see what blog friends are reading this. Not naming names.)

Who can be a beta reader for you? Friends, former teachers, a neighbor, a critique group or someone you know online. But here is something to keep in mind; you can have people beta read for different reasons.

A beta reader can read for the pure enjoyment factor, plot holes, continuity problems, grammar issues, tense issues, and more. And the interesting thing is many of these people do it for free. Not all, but many. A lot of people that have heard of beta readers simply think “Oh cool, I can do that. I get a free book and just tell them if I like it or not.” Nuh uh. You take on a huge responsibility. You are a key part of an author’s success or I dare say failure. NooOOOOOOoooooo!

What you need in order to be a beta reader:

  • Full Body Armor–I beta read for friends a great deal of the time. Sometimes I do it for other people and for those times it’s an easy go. I can simply provide my feedback and be done with it. But when it comes to a friend? What if the writing is just that bad? This is what I tell people, “I care about my friends, I care about them so much that I am going to tell them the truth and work as hard as I possibly can in order to help them put out the best book possible.” It helps that I see that Amazon money show up as a gift in my account. Cha Ching. Is that how you spell that? So why does this require armor? Friends aren’t always happy with what you have to say. I have learned to say it and leave it after a couple of attempts. They can take it or leave it. But authors remember, if you choose the right people to beta read for you don’t get mad if they do actually find things that need improvement. If they don’t find anything, you have a bad beta reader. I’m not saying you will not have a good novel, I am saying that we all have room to improve at the beta stage.
  • Determination–You agree to read the book. Read the book. The book is bad. Read the book. Finish the book. And regardless of if you liked it or not, tell the truth to the Author. They need the truth. “But they can’t handle the truth!” Who saw that one coming?
  • Ethics–You are being trusted with someone’s child. Take care of it, don’t share it, and after all is said and done, give it back to them. And destroy any pictures you took of the child.
  • Backbone–Don’t give in to friendship or being overly sympathetic. Authors need to know now what needs work before their book gets in the hands of the reader or even an agent.
  • Sensitivity–With backbone you need sensitivity in how to relay areas of concern to the author.
  • Diplomacy–This goes along with sensitivity. Sometimes you have to know when enough is enough. I’ll give an example. Recently I beta read a dark fantasy novel and there was a scene in it where I interpreted it one way but the author didn’t. My concern was how a reader, not being inside the author’s mind would see the scene. I was concerned there might be some backlash. After a few exchanges, I let it go. There was no point in continuing the point because the author would only see it from their point of view.
  • Be ready to research–Unless you know the elements of every genre and know every grammar rule ever in both US and UK English you will need to do research. Research can be fun. Also if there is something in the story that just nags at you as being wrong, research it. There are no little things when it comes to an Author’s work. So do it. And if you don’t know it, don’t fake it.

 

As a writer you need to know a few things. Beta Readers are not your personal spellcheckers and garbage readers. You send your Beta Reader what you think is your final product. If I were you I would send the book out to Beta Readers in a certain order. If you are concerned about a certain aspect of the book, send it to a Beta reader for that purpose. Once the fix is done, move on, ending with your Beta Reader for Enjoyment. If they like it, then you are good to go. If they don’t like it, then you need to check what it is they don’t like and see if you want to change it.

Here is something to keep in mind. Have more than one Beta Reader for Enjoyment. You want different genders and different everything reading your book. This way you can get a different view from each person. Sure, you may have a target audience in mind so perhaps you could stick with that target audience Beta Reader, but I would still have someone outside that norm to read it too. They may spot something people accustomed to the genre don’t see. I would guarantee you an agent would see that problem.

Elizabth EylesHow can you become a good Beta Reader? I have my own opinions and perhaps will go in to that deeper one day, but for now if you have .99, there is a book for you. Sorry it’s not free this time. The Beta Reader by Elizabeth Eyles. You can get it at Amazon. Sorry, but it’s not at B&N or Smashwords. B&N does have a $6 book by Eyles about preparing your book for a beta reader.

I’ve read this book and it has some very good advice in it. I’ve even recommended it to a friend of mine, Colleen Chesebro who is a Team Member of mine on LitWorldInterviews and she bought it because she beta reads as well. We take what we do seriously. Yes, this is for authors as well as those wanting to be Beta Readers. Why? Because it gives you the author’s opinions as to why the Beta Reader is needed.

Here is a link at Writer’s Digest that will give you the elements of genres. Yes, you need to know. I read that dark fantasy book and there are elements that I just wasn’t comfortable with, but that’s part of the genre. So I read for the writing and overall enjoyment.

 

much-respect-ronovan

 

 

Ronovan Writes

 

 

 

 

@RonovanWrites

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From Writing to Book Marketing. This posts for you.

Hi, it’s me again. Ronovan from Ronovan Writes. I have returned. Jen has kindly allowed me back to help out while she is writing her, um, self off. I just cannot bring myself to say writing her booty off. It just seems so unseemly of me. It’s her booty she can do what she wants with it but who am I to talk about it, right? I mean she says it all the time but I just cannot do it.

Now on with the show. You no doubt know I’m here with the freebies I’ve found. That’s a hobby of mine. When you haven’t any money, you find things that don’t cost any. Are they the number one advice books on the market? No, but I learn from them nonetheless.

So here we go with:

Ronovan’s Five Free Finds

Why only Five and not Ten?

Cause I’m only half as good as Jen.

 

First up, well, you better Write Good or Die.

survival tips for the 21st Century Writer

Divided into three sections, basically a somewhat Training section that talks about different things including NaNoWriMo, then moves onto a Craft section and then Business section. It’s advice from professionals all in one place. One thing you hear from so many people about books on writing is that you can find certain tips online. Yeah, that’s true. If you want to spend all that time searching and researching by all means go for it. Me? I prefer to click on a free book and own it for whenever I want to look at it in one place. I save a lot of time for writing that way. You can get it for Kindle here. 224 Customer Reviews with a 4.1 average. 101 of those are Five Stars. Smashwords has it as well here, both PDF and Mobi for Kindle.


 

Next up learn some Emotion Amplifiers.

character expression

This is another one of those “it’s all on the internet to see find” books. These ladies put it all in one place. The book has a list of emotions ranging from addiction to stress. Yes, it’s in alphabetical order. Within each emotion you have a definition, list of physical signs, internal sensations, mental responses, emotion specific things and writer’s tips. This isn’t just a one shot book from two authors. These two specific authors have many books out to help authors. Becca Puglisi especially is one that might ring a bell for some. She co created The Bookshelf Muse a writer’s help site that is now called Writers Helping Writers. Get the book free for Kindle here and Smashwords here.


 

So we’ve done advice for writers, some writing tips and now what?

Social Media Marketing for Publishers

how to sell your book onlineThe book is from 2012 so some of the lists might be a little outdated but overall great advice in how to do a lot of things. One thing I always take away from books are ideas. There are a great many categories/sections in this book and even though say something like the Top Ten Twitter Phone apps section may be outdated it still gives you the idea about looking for that. Get it for Kindle here.


 

Since this wasn’t available at Smashwords or at least I couldn’t find it I decided to add one that was that I found.  The Savvy Book Marketer.

marketing secrets

52 Experts Share Insider Tips for Selling More Books. I mean do I need to say more than that? It’s from 2011 but things still work. Get it Smashwords here. This one isn’t available on Amazon.


 

Now for something a little closer to this year. Make Your Book Work Harder: How To Use Multiple Platforms To Make More Money.

multiple platforms to make moneyThis one is available on Amazon here, and Smashwords here. “Created by two experienced authors, Make Your Book Work Harder walks readers through the maze of book-selling platforms, including some that are well-known and others that may never even be on your radar.” Great reviews so far. 43 Five Star reviews out of 57 Reviewers. I’ll take it. Well, I actually did. It has four sections Get Your Book on Multiple Platforms, How to Promote Your Book Without it Taking Over Your Life or Bankrupting You, What to do Before you say “I’ve Tried Everything”! and Save Time & Improve Your Writing.


 

This final one is only at Amazon here. Sorry but I looked and no Smashwords this time. This one is a little different. Anti-Procrastination for Writers.

create a daily writing habitCreating that daily writing habit is difficult for some. But if you don’t then that book you have in you will never get finished. So check this one out. This is by Akash Karia who does a lot of writing and talking about how to be successful. He’s motivated. He’s not just sitting around doing nothing. Sounds like a good habit guy to me.

If you missed my Last Five Free for Authors, just click here to go there. (You could click there to go there  as well but I just thought would be confusing to say.)

Well there are your five books, six really if you want. Every book has something you can learn from it. Some you learn how to be good from and some you learn how to be bad. Those books are just as valuable. I read things at times and just shake my head in wonder at how anyone bought the book. And where the ideas came from. But I learned from it because I recognized how bad it was and learned not to do that with my own writing.

Thanks Jenna for letting me crash in your Den. Next time could I have longer sleeping bag? This one only came up to my arm pits. Colorado is cold you know?

Ronovan Writes

 

 

 

 

@RonovanWrites

RonovanWrites.WordPress.Com

LitWorldInterviews.WordPress.Com

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Five Free Author Gifts For Christmas.

Oh we writers, what we don’t want for Christmas that we think would help our writer’s cause would fill a coffee cup, which is actually on the list of things writer’s think we need. Although I don’t drink coffee. Tried it the other day and about went bonkers. If I had a book idea I could have written it that day. Never try to do that, write a book in a day that is. I wrote a 40,000 word book in one day and was useless for days. I think I might have donated an organ but not sure. Actually I think I know which organ and don’t ask. I’m of the age I don’t think that organ is really all that useful any longer anyway.

Hello, I’m Ronovan and I write. I write anything and anywhere I can sneak in the door. Jenna left her door open and here I am. Oh that poor trusting woman. The chocoholic has succumbed to her indulgences and is now lying in the corner in a stupor babbling “plots, plots, edits, 15th draft, 15th draft”. I do not understand this rambling of hers but I am taking advantage of it. So I give you . . .

What every writer needs for Christmas.

(But doesn’t know to ask for.)

There are things every writer out there wants.

  • The perfect first paragraph to the greatest novel ever written
  • An advance from a publisher on a book that will feed them for a year
  • Perhaps all the favorite beverage of their choice in an endless supply linked to their writing space from the fridge by way of a super humongoso straw, nozzle, whatever
  • And of course that chocolate fondue fountain in the living room next to the couch they write upon

Raise your hand if you know which one Jenna would pick.

 So here for some actual serious things writers might like to have.

 

Choosing Your Publishing Poison

One thing an author needs to know is about the publishing options out there, the routes possible. It isn’t all just about an agent and a publisher any longer. Those simple days of hopes and rejections only are long gone. So how does an author know what route is best for them?

Choose your publishing Option

This isn’t an Amazon deal, oh you can download it for .99, but it is free as of the time of this writing by visiting Smashwords here, and get it for Kindle or even PDF. Don’t know what Smashwords is? Worried about it being legit? It’s legit. A lot of authors use it instead of or as well as Amazon now. I downloaded it and have it on my Kindle at this moment.

 

Let’s say the writer in your life picked the traditional route of going through a publisher. They are going to need some help . Help in what?

How about help with writing a query letter?

There are spouses, parents and even people we wish were our spouses out there now wondering what in the world is a query letter. Or those people are asking how can they help us, if they do know what a query letter is. For those that don’t know-That’s the thing we writers can’t write that’s a page long after writing 400 pages of a novel. Yeah, it’s what gets us in the door with an agent or publisher to take a look at our novel. If you don’t do it correctly, buh bye.

So what to do what to do. Writing courses? Pay someone to do it for you? Sure, those are options but then there is this.

How to write a great query letter35 Five Star Reviews out of 49 Reviews so far on Amazon. I’ll take that.

You’re wondering how much, right? At the moment of this writing, it is free. Yes, Free. Click here to go there to download.

 

But maybe the writer decided to go their own way and self-publish. Well they need to know how to do something. What’s that they need to know how to do?

How about knowing how to set up their book for Kindle?

Building your book for Kindle is something we all face as a writer. Get ready for it. Kindle is the standard and likely to remain so. So who better to tell you how than, Amazon Kindle itself.

build your book for kindleClick here to download it for, yes, free. I’m not just saying to do it because it’s from Amazon itself. With 1,104 Five Star Reviews as of this writing, I’ll go with it.

 

There is one thing that every author needs to know how to do, regardless of the path they choose. What’s that?

How To Market Your Book

In today’s world of being an author you have to do your own marketing. Even if you are signed by a big gun, you still need to know the business and get to marketing.

book marketing guideWith a review rating of 4.89 out of 5 with 139 people reviewing, I’d say get over to Smashwords and download now by clicking here. You can also go to Amazon and get it as well by clicking here. 73 five star reviews there. And guess what? As of this writing . . . you guessed it, Free to download.

 

Another thing that will help out is something specifically called ebook. Yeah, the ebook, that thing book stores hate. Well, it’s here and it isn’t going away so what do we do?

We Need to Be Successful At The Big E

Ebooks are so easy to buy and it’s, well it’s like a pack of Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups at the check out line at the super market. Easy to pick up and consume. Impulse buying even.

secrets to ebook publishing successFree. Okay, got that out of the way. Download at Smashwords here, or Amazon here. Knowing how to reach more readers for your ebooks doesn’t mean that’s the only people you reach. Remember reach them and keep them.

 

Five for Free. I hope these come in handy for anyone looking for some free tips on how to do things. I always like to read whatever is out there and I gain some knowledge to use. Sometimes I read things and learn what not to do. Have a good holiday season and hope your writer, be that the one in you, or the one near and dear to you finds something useful from today’s guest post.

THANKS JENNA! I didn’t break anything. Well, I don’t think I did.

Much Respect

Ronovan Writes

About the Author:

Ronovan WritesRonovan blogs at RonovanWrites.WordPress.com and also started LitWorldInterviews.WordPress.com where you will find interviews with Authors, Publishers, Book Cover artists and all areas of the Lit World along with Book Reviews by a team of reviewers from around the world as well as useful articles on writing, self-publishing and platform building. You can follow Ronovan on Twitter @RonovanWrites.

 

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Friday Funny with Brrrr, Reading, and a Writing Workshop

Brrrrr! Denver is freezing this week, everyone. Like, crank up the heaters, open the bathroom and kitchen cabinets, and constantly run the faucets–freezing.

For those of you who don’t know, Colorado’s weather tends to go like this:

Mother Nature:

Five minutes later…

No joke! The weather here is a tumultuous roller coaster. Sunny one minute, a blizzard the next. Within 24-hours, the temperatures can plummet 60+ degrees. That’s what happened this week. Last Sunday, it was a sunny and beautiful 75 degrees. By Monday evening, it was a snowy and freezing 15–and dropping. By midweek, Denver had nosedived below zero, with a windchill of negative 35 degrees.

NEGATIVE 35!

Ugh.

I actually took Wednesday off of work because of the frigid temperatures and icy roads. The only problem was my car. If it sits too long in the cold without moving, the battery dies. So, I was forced to leave the warmth of my house multiple times to warm up the engine…and I’m positive every time I did this, my neighbors snickered, frowned, and laughed at what I was wearing:

Honestly, I looked like a walking, talking, shivering marshmallow as I executed Operation Save Car Battery on Wednesday. The repeated process went something like this: Step outside. Waddle, waddle, waddle. Unlock car. Fall inside. Flip ignition. Sit, wait, freeze. Turn off engine. Heave self out of car. Slip. Gain balance. Lock car. Waddle, waddle, waddle back into house.

Oh, I love this time of the year. 😉

Anyway, besides freezing my booty off and looking like a puffed up moron, I spent the week rereading the second draft of my manuscript and making edit notes for a third draft. Upon finishing it, I found myself pleasantly surprised by the first half of the story. The second half…

Well, I won’t say it’s bad, but it definitely needs a lot of work. My characters lost their edge, the dialogue wasn’t as snappy, the plot got foggy, the actual writing sloppy…Ugh. I think part of the problem is I began working faster and less diligently as I moved along. I wasn’t perfecting my later chapters like I did my earlier ones.

The good news is there is a story there, and I know what needs to be done to get it where I want it to go. So now I just need to roll up my sleeves, take a deep breath, and dig into a third draft.

I probably won’t be starting my third draft for a couple of days since I’m attending my first writing workshop tomorrow: the 2014 Colorado Writing Workshop with presenter and instructor Chuck SambuchinoEeks! I’m really nervous, but also really excited about this event. Not only am I going to get the chance to learn a ton about the publishing world, but I’ll be able to meet a ton of other writers from the Denver region.

I’ll be sure to fill you in about my experience at the workshop next week!

 Okay, enough chitchat. Here are some Friday Funnies to brighten your day. Sort of random this week, but I laughed so maybe you will too? Enjoy!

8db5ec3e22e8839ce5ac9c3929116f3e 80a75624d4450211905882e66c05ccc7How was your week? How’s NaNoWriMo going for those of you participating?

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

In case you missed my posts from earlier this week, here you go!

Music Monday – Defying Gravity – Kerry Ellis

Make Your Opening Pop!

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Photo credits: 

http://www.buzzfeed.com/erinchack/things-people-who-are-always-cold-understand

http://www.buzzfeed.com/leonoraepstein/disney-characters-who-really-need-to-see-a-psychiatrist

http://thegoggindiaries.com/2014/01/06/i-hate-winter/ 

https://www.tumblr.com/search/waddle%20of%20penguins

http://bluesdanceworld.com/2014/01/02/jane-russell-and-marilyn-monroe-in-gentlemen-prefer-blondes/

https://www.tumblr.com/search/Deep+Breath+reaction 

http://www.pinterest.com/WStoryBoards/writing-humor/