By tomorrow, I should be done with the final edits to the novel. So why aren’t I jumping up and down in my chair? It’s because that last push to finish, even though it’s just a few pages, is anxiety-ridden and fraught with doubt. After reading and re-reading and editing and re-editing the book for such a long time, I have no idea if it’s a good book anymore. I remember that I really loved it at one point, but now… I’m just exhausted. I suspect it’s a little like running a marathon. It seemed like a good idea at the beginning, but near the end, when your muscles are burning and there’s more water pouring out of you than you can possibly swallow from a tiny paper cup, you begin to wonder why you started running in the first place.
And that’s why it’s important to have beta readers!
The first readers to your book can give you some real insight into whether or not the book is working. Their input might come in specific points, or just general impressions. Either way, it’s valuable information for you about whether or not you might have an audience for this piece of work.
All of your beta readers are going to be friends and family, and so they might want to be gentle with you. It’s better that you ask them not to be. You need an honest opinion now, because agents and editors and reviewers (if you get that far) won’t be gentle. At all.
And even if that means you have to get back to work after you get their comments, the good news is, while they’re reading you can take a break from this book and work on something else.
So… who wants to be my beta reader?