Do You Use Readers?

            It used to be that an author created and wrote his story and then sent it to his editor, after which he did his rewrites and published his book. But there is one tool I use to help give me input about my story. This tool is my readers. They have become an important part of my editing and rewriting process.

            More and more authors are turning to readers to give their thoughts and opinions on the authors’ stories. This is a good idea since most people who buy and read books are ordinary everyday people and are not writers or editors.

            Editors are looking at the structure of your plot, character development, and yes, grammar and spelling among other things. But readers are looking at it for its intrest and appeal. To use both readers and an editor gives you a more rounded viewpoint of your story.

            Readers give you a perspective from a different angle. Now don’t go firing your editor. On the contrary. I prefer to get my readers’ input before I send my book to my editor. Readers view your story from a reader’s viewpoint where your editor look at your story from a writer’s viewpoint, and it is my opinion that a writer needs both.

            I do ask my readers to look for spelling/grammar errors and typos. They do a grand job of finding them, too. But I also like to get their opinion on specific parts/chapters of my story. Because they are not as picky as editors are, they can really give you a fresh and honest opinion. Once you get your readers input, then you can concentrate on the things your editor finds.

            How many readers should you have? As many as you want but definitely more than one. The difference in opinion from one reader to another can create a dilemma. A third reader’s opinion can give you the solution to that dilemma.

            So do you have a reader/s? If not, you’re missing out on a more well-rounded editing information.

Faye M. Tollison
Author of:  To Tell the Truth
Upcoming books:  The Bible Murders
                               Sarah’s Secret
Member of:  Sisters in Crime
                     Writers on the Move



Karen Cioffi said...

Faye, what an interesting idea. And, it's one that creates a relationship with the reader. It's kind of like having a large critique group. Good way to cover all bases, but you do need to know what to listen to and what to know isn't valid input.

Faye said...

Thanks, Karen, you are very right. A writer should know when to take the information given to him/her and when to reject it. I always pick out what I feel is valid to use. But a reader is a good tool for a writer who does not live close to a critique group or writing group. Of course there are some online and that helps also.

Magdalena Ball said...

Readers, or a critique partner or two, are critical for writers. I've had one for all my novels and it has made a tremendous difference.

Kathleen Moulton said...

I liked your article, Faye. I am curious to learn "when to take the information given to him/her and when to reject it". I hope you or someone writes an article about this in the future!


Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

My critique partners are my readers. Sometimes I take their advice, sometimes I don't. It has to feel right to me.

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