Uncategorized

The Indie Book Nook!

 

It’s finally happening!!!!!

 

I am happy to announce that today the launch page went live for my new book subscription box – The Indie Book Nook 

This subscription box service caters specifically to indie authors. It wasn’t until I created an author account on twitter that I discovered so many talented authors who are just starting to or have already self-published. As I beta-read pre-release novels or purchased self-published books on Amazon, it blew my mind that all this time I was missing out on beautifully crafted works of art simply because I didn’t know they existed.

This is a common problem that many authors who choose to self-publish face and I wanted to do something about it but I didn’t know how.

Then I came across an ad online for a book subscription box for newly released hardcover fiction books. And I thought, “Why doesn’t something like this exist for indie authors?” This would be the perfect way, not only for indie authors to gain visibility, but also for readers to discover and fall in love with amazing books that they might not have discovered otherwise. So, I began the process of starting one and here we are today.

But I need your help. Tweet, share, talk about, discuss, post, blog, and vlog about The Indie Book Nook.  The more sign-ups I get for the launch page, the more I can gauge the interest and have an appropriate amount of books ready to ship out in October.

Yes you read that right. Subscription boxes will start shipping out in October. On September 1st the website will change to a landing page and you can sign up for a monthly, bi-yearly, or yearly subscription. Those who sign-up now, before the launch page changes to a landing page, will not only be entered for a chance to win a free lifetime subscription, but will also get special emails sent to them detailing subscription information, box details, and revealing the indie author we’ll be featuring for the month of October. They’ll also get a discount code to use when signing up on September 1st that permanently keeps their subscription at $9.99 a month as long as they don’t cancel their membership.

I also need you to tweet me @authorjadepenn your favorite published indie authors. Or, if you are an indie author and would like one of your books, published or soon-to-be published, to be featured in an upcoming box please email me at contact.theindiebooknook@gmail.com

I look forward to hearing from all of you soon!

-Jade

 

 

Uncategorized

Epistolary Novels

Hi guys!

Wow. It’s been a long time since I’ve released a blog post. I’m sorry! Between work, and my personal life, I’ve…..

You know what I’m not going to bore you with any excuses. I was a bad blogger and I didn’t make time to write any blog posts. That’s okay, though, because I’m back and things should be more consistent from now on.

Today I wanted to talk about one of my favorite things: Epistolary novels. Honest to God, if you give me a book, any book, and its written in this format, then I am going to devour it.

What is an epistolary novel? An epistolary novel is a novel written as a series of documents. These documents can be letters, diary entries, newspaper clippings, random voicemail recordings, blogs, emails, or even text messages! An epistolary novel can then be divided into three types: monologic (voicing only one character), dialogic (voicing two characters), or polylogic (voicing three or more characters).

One of the reasons why epistolary novels are so pleasing is because they have a way of making you feel even closer to story’s characters than the average first-person point-of-view story. You’re reading words that the characters are writing for the eyes of only one or two other people. You’re seeing a version of the story that has been edited by the fictional people living it. As an author I enjoy writing this way because it offers writers all kinds of fascinating angles through which to not only observe characters but to present them.

This is why I made the decision, earlier this month, to only write epistolary novels in my author career. Not only are they novels I personally enjoy reading, but they add a challenge, and a level of creativity, to my writing. The first book to be released in this format will be Quarter-Life Crisis. I’m also plotting another book that I have yet to title that I plan to start writing during Nanowrimo this November.

Maybe you’d like to try your hand at an epistolary novel? As with anything there are many pros and cons to consider. Chris Bell put together a great blog post a couple of years ago that you can find here. Down below I’ll include some major pros and cons from her blog post.

Pros:

  • Easy way to compose a novel for a beginner
  • Manageable chunks – written one by one build into a whole story
  • Glimpse different characters’ lives intimately
  • Opportunity to share multiple viewpoints

Cons:

  • No dialogue, miss the nuances of interactions
  • Hard to show variances in characterisation unless done well
  • Can become narrowly focused
  • Action occurs off-stage leading to loss of dramatic immediacy
  • Can result in lack of character variation – need to really mix up letter styles and voices
  • Not every character’s thoughts may interest the reader

Did the list of cons throw you off a bit? Don’t fret. I think that with enough determination, knowledge, and creativity anyone can write a good epistolary novel.

To showcase this, down below I’ve compiled ten examples of popular epistolary novels. Maybe you’ve read one, or maybe you’ll find a book to add to your TBR pile. In any case, I hope you enjoy!

  1. Dracula
  2. Bridget Jones Diary
  3. Where’d You Go, Bernadette?
  4. The Color Purple
  5. Carrie
  6. The Princess Diaries Series
  7. The Boy Next Door Series
  8. We Need to Talk About Kevin
  9. The Martian
  10. Diary of a Wimpy Kid

-Jade

 

June

Brain Dump

Hi loves,

Today’s blog post is going to be all over the place. I’ve had a busy week and I didn’t plan anything out so let’s just chat about whatever comes to mind.

Let’s start with balance. This is something I struggle with sometimes. I’m busy with a full-time job, I’m currently going back to school for additional certifications to further my career, and I keep up a pretty full social life too. In additional to that I have to find time for household chores/duties as well as my favorite pastime:

READING

Recently, I established a nighttime routine where I try to read for at least thirty minutes every night before bed. I try to re-read my favorite books so I’m not up for the entire night because of cliff-hangers or because its simply a really great book.

So far, this is working out well, but I know July’s Camp Nanowrimo is quickly approaching and I don’t want a repeat of the stress that accompanied April’s Camp. Towards the end of April I just about lost my mind and that was when I had less responsibilities than I do now. Not to mention, I’m also taking a 5 day trip out-of-state with my family in July.

So, in typically Type A fashion, I sat down this weekend and worked out a schedule. Now, I know schedules aren’t for everyone, but they’re really good at helping me get work done and get organized. So I sat down, drew out a calendar, wrote down all my upcoming and scheduled appointments and trips for this month, and wrote down my work schedule. Then, I sprinkled in writing times in the mornings and in the evenings so I wouldn’t get stuck in a rut.

(Plus, I’m excited because I’m starting a bullet journal this July.  I’ve been watching videos on YouTube and reading a ton of blog posts about bullet journaling, but that’s another story. Drop a comment down below if you want an upcoming blog post to showcase my bullet journal.)

I also dropped my word count goal. Originally I wanted to have a goal of 25,000 words for both April and July, but with everything I have planned next month, a goal of 25,000 words isn’t feasible. I will aim for 20,000 words instead. If I get more than that then I’ll buy myself a cupcake…or a cookie.

Yeah definitely a cookie from Panera Bread. The Kitchen Sink one sounds disgusting, but is AH-MAZ-ING!!!

I’m also working on a new story for Camp this July. I will continue to work on Quarter-Life Crisis, but another plot bunny has been jumping around in my head for quite a while now. My new story deals with mental illness; Schizophrenia to be exact. It’s going to be a YA novel and the MC’s name is Diana. (Her name was going to be something else, but I just watched Wonder Woman and I feel like Wonder Woman’s personality is something my MC strives to be but never actually attains.)

This weekend, I finally finished plotting the novel using the 27 Chapter System. I’ve also fully fleshed out my MC’s personality. Now I’m working on the supporting characters, the book description, and a temporary cover to display on my profile for Camp. In my blog post next weekend I’ll reveal the temporary cover and the book description.

I’m excited to start this new WIP. Writing about a character with mental illness is definitely going to be a challenge for me, but I’ve already decided that before this book goes to an editor, I’m going to have someone that’s an expert in dealing with mental illness read it to make sure I’m delicately handling the topic.

Is anyone else participating in Camp Nanowrimo next month? Leave a comment down below and describe your goals for Camp.

Until next time,

-Jade

 

 

June

Writing Snippets – Part Two

Hi loves!

For this week, I’m going to post a chapter from the WIP I started in April.

My goal with this is for you to critique my work. Compare this opening chapter with the opening chapter I posted two weeks ago from a short story I wrote ten years ago. Have I improved in the last ten years? Gotten worse? Is there something in my writing style that I need to work on or change?

Give me your best constructive criticism and don’t hold back! One of the wonderful things I enjoy about an online writing community is that it allows a writer, like myself, to get feedback and constructive criticism from people with different viewpoints, walks of life, and niches.

With all that being said, here is the first chapter from my current WIP entitled Quarter Life Crisis.Enjoy!

-Jade

Note: The following chapter deals with death and loss. By continuing to read you agree that you are comfortable with the trigger warning mentioned above. You also agree that this work is the property of Jade Penn and under copyright protection. If any portion of the writing below is plagiarized you may be forced to pay me for lost earnings in addition to covering attorney fees. 

 

“Miss Lewis he’s stealing my crayons!”

“Am not!”

“Are too!”

“She hit me!”

“Did not!”

I look up from my desk and observe the chaos unfolding in my classroom. Glancing at the clock quickly, I realize it’s almost time for recess.

“Helen and Lisa, if I see anyone hit anyone else neither one of you will have recess for a week and I’ll send a note home to both of your parents,” I say crossing my arms and sending a stern glance in the direction of the twins. Dubbed the Trouble Twins by their first grade teacher, I still didn’t understand why they would assign both girls to my second grade classroom. Unfolding my arms, I walk towards the back of the classroom and crouch down next to Amy and Jonathon. “Amy what did we learn about sharing yesterday? What crayon do you need to use?”

The brunette glances at me and stubbornly folds her arms. “I need green for the grass, yellow for the sun, and red so I can finish the roof.”

“And Jonathon what colors do you need?”

“Yellow and orange to color in my ice cream truck.”

“Amy can you let Jonathon use your yellow crayon while you color in the grass and the roof?”

Amy rolls her eyes and hands the blonde boy sitting next to her a yellow crayon. “Break it and I’ll break you,” she informs him.

“Amy! One more outburst like that from you and no recess for the rest of the week!”

The brunette starts to open her mouth in response, but I give her a glance and she smartly backs down. At three months pregnant, and just getting over bursts of morning sickness, I cannot and will not tolerate any back talk.

As I stand up and walk back to my desk, I rub my stomach. “Little One, promise me you’ll behave nicely to your teachers.” Standing still, I wait to see if I can feel any movement. At my second appointment my doctor informed me that I probably wouldn’t feel my baby move until 16 weeks, but my best friend, Whit, had felt Charlotte, her second child, start to move at 13 weeks. Glancing at the clock again, I see it’s finally time for recess. “Recess time,” I sing to my students, “Single file everyone.”

Outside, I stand on the curb with some other teachers and we talk amongst ourselves while watching the children play.

“How’s your dad doing Selena?” Katie asks, walking up towards me, with her long red hair flowing. At 53 she’s one of the oldest elementary school teachers still here, and a mentor to a lot of the newer teachers like myself.

“Better,” I reply with a smile. “Thank you for asking. He wanted me to let you know he appreciated the flowers you sent.” My dad was a fifth grade teacher for many years at the same elementary school where I now work and a lot of other teachers remember being in his class.

“That’s great! I hear he’s a favorite with all the other doctors and nurses at Ravenwood because of the music.”

I sigh quickly, closing my eyes and bringing my hand to my forehead. “Can you believe he’s playing it 24/7? His nurse told me yesterday that he even plays Yiruma at night.”

“Yiruma?” Katie asks with a frown.

“He’s a South Korean pianist. I walked down the aisle to his song, “River Flows in You,” at my wedding.”

“Oh I remember!,” she exclaims as her green eyes brighten with enthusiasm. “Your wedding was so romantic Selena. Don’t you have an anniversary coming up?”

“July 3rd. Eric and I were just saying we can’t believe it has almost been three years already.”

“Any plans?”

“I think we’re going to keep it low-key. Between my dad having the stroke and planning for the baby, we don’t want to spend a ton of money. I think we’ll just end up spending a weekend in the mountains.”

“How’s everything going with the baby?”

My hand goes to my belly as I reply, “So far so good. The three-month checkup went well and the morning sickness has improved.”

“When will you find out the sex?”

“At sixteen weeks. I’m really hoping for a boy with Eric’s curly blonde hair.”

Katie laughs. “What does Eric want?”

“He says he just wants a healthy baby,” I say and instantly look down as I take deep breaths and try to control the tears welling up in my eyes.

Katie’s arms are around me in a flash as she pulls me into a hug. “Oh sweetheart, don’t fret.” Pulling back a little she lifts my chin and stares into my eyes. “You’re going to have this baby and it’s going to be healthy. Don’t let the past make you lose faith in the future. You’re still young, what 23, 24?”

“I just turned 25 last month,” I reply with a smile as she takes a couple of steps back, sensing that the impending crisis has been averted. “God I wish I was still 23. Eric and I were newlyweds then.”

“And in about three weeks, this school year will be finished and another week after that you’ll have two months to spend with your hubby.”

“Maybe, Paul said he might need me to help with summer school.”

“Tell him no,” she says quickly, eyes determined. “Take the next couple of months to rest up Selena.”

“I’ll think about it,” I say smiling. Katie means well, but between helping Dad with his hospital bills, preparing for a newborn, and recently moving into the new house, Eric and I have been struggling financially despite having two incomes. I opted this school year to have my school pay spread over 12 months, so I could take the summer off, but the pay from summer school certainly wouldn’t hurt.

I notice some of the other teachers have started to line their students up to go back inside, and a quick glance at my watch lets me know recess is officially over. “Looks like it’s time to go back,” I say turning to Katie with a smile while holding a finger up and calling over my students.

“Enjoy the rest of the day Selena. Don’t let them run you crazy,” she smirks. Every elementary school teacher knows after recess is one of the worse times of the day. Your students have run crazy for twenty minutes and all that pent-up energy is not a good thing when you need to control them in the classroom. Thank God Eric promised he would come in today after recess and read to the class for about half an hour.

Eric’s waiting in the classroom behind my desk as the children and I march back in. They’ve already met him once before last December so their eyes light up and many call out “Hey Mr. Lewis,” as they walk to their desks.

“Hello Mr. Lewis,” I say as I smile and walk towards him. He stands and holds out his arms towards me and I am once again struck by the understated beauty of my husband. At 6-ft 2-inches, he is 6-inches taller than I am, with a slim frame from years of running. I think back to how we met on the college campus; he was running for exercise, I was running from a bee. We’ve been inseparable ever since.

Slipping into his arms he plants a kiss on my forehead before moving over so I can sit in my chair. With ease he walks over to the bookshelf and crouches down in front of it. He reads stories to my classes twice a year so he knows the deal. “What story should I read today kiddos?”

The children raise their voices, shouting various book names and Eric quickly realizes his mistake. He glances over to me for help and I raise an eyebrow. He’s gonna have to find his own way out of this one.

Glancing back towards the bookshelf he quickly pulls three books off the shelf and turning towards the class he holds them up, one by one, like a peace-offering. “Will these do? I picked The Giving Tree, A Bad Case of Stripes, and Frog and Toad are Friends.”

I smile as the class breaks out in shrieks of delights. All 20 of my second graders love Frog and Toad are Friends so he’s chosen wisely. With a wink in my direction, he walks to the back of the classroom where I’ve set up a reading corner with a rocking chair and a large rug for the class to sit on.

“Class can we quickly, but quietly, walk towards the reading corner and sit cross-legged on the floor so Mr. Lewis can read us stories?

At once, the class jumps up, and much to my delight, all 20 of them obediently walk quickly and quietly towards the floor and settle down. Eric starts reading the first story and I walk towards the cupboards on the far left of the room to pull out some snacks. Not wanting them too riled up, I put handfuls of popcorn into cups and pass them out along with apple juice.

Once every child has a snack and drink in hand, and Eric is starting on the second book, I walk back towards the board and start copying some math problems onto the dry erase board. Today we’re reviewing fractions, which thankfully the majority of my students have mastered, but I make a mental note to spend extra time with Elliot. He struggles with dyslexia, but I’ve been tutoring him for the past two months and he’s made significant progress. I want to see how well he does today.

Once all the problems are copied onto the board and I’ve placed worksheets on all the desks, I collect empty cups and threw them in the trash before settling down at my desk. Eric is in the middle of the last book, but he usually takes some time to chat with the students for about ten minutes after story time so I have about 15 to 20 minutes to grade some papers.

I’m searching for my red pen when I see my phone light up with a missed call. Recognizing the number as the Hospital’s, I grab my phone and walk towards the door, signaling to Eric that I’ve gotten a phone call. I don’t usually make a habit of answering my phone at work, but with my Dad in the hospital, and Eric here to watch the students, I make an exception.

Taking a second to listen to the voicemail, I hear Dr. White asking me to give her a call back concerning my Dad. Quickly, I dial the Hospital’s number.

“Ravenwood Hospital, how may I direct your call?”

“Hi. My name is Selena Lewis and my Dad, Stephen Young, is there on the fourth floor. I have a missed call from his Doctor, Dr. Jenna White.

“I’ll page you to the nurses station on that floor and see if they can reach Dr. White for you. One moment please.”

There is a brief pause before I hear, “Fourth floor nurses station this is Thomas speaking.”

Recognizing the voice as one of the nurses who frequently is assigned to dad, I brighten. “Hey Thomas, this is Selena, Stephen Young’s daughter. I had a missed call on my phone from Dr. White. Can you get her for me please? Do you know if anything is wrong?”

“Hey Selena! I wasn’t assigned to your Dad today. Hold on let me check.”

The phone is filled with the voice of the Hospital’s spokeswoman reminding me to use sunscreen this summer and keep hydrated. I absent-mindedly straighten one of my student’s pictures on the wall. Dad was fine when I spoke to him on the phone this morning. His health has steadily improved all week. I wonder if they’re calling to complain about the music. Surely that discussion could have waited until I came in later tomorrow.

“Hello, Selena?” Dr. White’s calm voice fills the phone.

“Hi Dr. White, I’m returning your call. Is it the music?” I ask with a chuckle. “I’ve told Dad he’s disturbing the patients when he constantly plays it.”

“Actually, Selena, is there anyway you could come to the Hospital right away?”

I feel my pulse start to quicken and instinctively bring a hand to my stomach. “What’s happened?” I whisper.

“I’d rather discuss that with you in person. I advise that you bring Eric along too.”

My left hand moves from my stomach and covers my mouth as I choke back a cry and tears pour down my checks. “Is…is my Dad still alive?”

“Yes, but he’s…I would rather discuss this with you in person. Can you come to the Hospital as soon as you can?”

Sliding against the wall and to the floor, I grip the phone tighter and blink repeatedly. “I’ll be there as quick as I can. Tha…Thank you Dr. White.”

“See you shortly Selena.”

Bringing my head to my knees, I drop my phone next to me and start to sob.

June

Twisted Fate Synopsis Reveal!!!!

Hello loves!

I am so happy to be supporting a fellow author on the blog this week! When I first started this blog I knew I wanted it to be, not just about me, but a place where authors, writers, readers, etc. could discover other authors, writers, and readers. Thus, I’m happy to be one of the many helping Jessi Elliott reveal the synopsis of her debut novel Twisted Fate to the world today.

Who is Jessi Elliott you might ask?

Author_Photo

Jessi Elliott is a newly graduated law clerk and debut author of both young adult and new adult romantic fiction. Her love of writing was born after many years of reading and reviewing books on her blog.

She lives in Southwestern Ontario with her family and two adorable cats.​

When she’s not plotting her next writing project, she likes to spend her time hanging with friends and family, getting lost in a steamy romance novel, watching Friends, and drinking coffee.

To stay up to date on book news, upcoming releases, and more, be sure to check Jessi out using the following links below. 

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS | YOUTUBE

Jessi’s debut novel, Twisted Fate, is the first book in the Twisted series. It’s an urban fantasy (New Adult) novel and it’s release date will be announced later in the year by Jessi, so be sure to follow her on social media to so you can be one of the first to know! Without further ado, here is the synopsis for Twisted Fate:

Being kidnapped by the Leader of the Fae really puts a dent in your senior year.

Aurora Marshall is sharp, witty, and always has a plan. Ready to finish her business degree and graduate, her life is going smoothly—until the night she meets Tristan Westbrook.

Tristan, the overbearing, gorgeous Fae Leader, and an admired businessman in the human world, is all kinds of dangerous. While he finds Aurora intriguing, her refusal to bend to his will keeps them locked in a constant power struggle.

Entering into a deal is the only way to escape Tristan’s clutches, which only plunges Aurora deeper into the fae world. With her future at stake, she is forced to handle his arrogance and extraordinary fae abilities as she fights to stay grounded in her mundane life.

Not to mention her struggle to ignore the growing attraction she knows she shouldn’t feel for the man who kidnapped her.

When people said college would be the most exciting time of her life, Aurora never thought this is what they meant.

ADD TWISTED FATE ON GOODREADS HERE!

May

Writing Snippets – Part One

Hi loves!

For this week, and next week’s blog post, I wanted to do something a little different and fun. This week I’m going to post a chapter from an unfinished short story I did in high school ten years ago. Next week I’m going to post a chapter from the WIP I started in April.

My goal with this is for you to critique my work. Compare the two chapters. Have I improved in the last ten years? Gotten worse? Is there something in my writing style that I need to work on or change?

Give me your best constructive criticism and don’t hold back! One of the wonderful things I enjoy about an online writing community is that it allows a writer, like myself, to get feedback and constructive criticism from people with different viewpoints, walks of life, and niches.

With all that being said, here is the first chapter from a short story I started, and never finished, ten years ago. I titled it Running. Enjoy!

-Jade

Note: The following chapter deals with suicide. By continuing to read you agree that you are comfortable with the trigger warning mentioned above. You also agree that this work is the property of Jade Penn and under copyright protection. If any portion of the writing below is plagiarized you may be forced to pay me for lost earnings in addition to covering attorney fees.  

My name is Michelle Hunter. Today I am going to the Old 59th Bridge and if no one smiles at me on my way to the middle of the bridge then I am going to jump.

The words ran through my mind repeatedly, making a continuous loop in my head as I parked my car and started toward the bridge. As I begin a slow walk towards it, I kept my head up, waiting for someone to smile at me. I wasn’t suicidal. I didn’t want to jump a bridge and drown. After all, I was just your average girl.

Take a look at me and you would see a young adult with brown hair and brown eyes. Not too fat but not skinny either. Dressed in jeans, a blue t-shirt from the local Wal-Mart, and worn sneakers. Look a little bit closer and you’ll notice that the jeans fit a little too snug in the thigh, the hair isn’t as shinny as you thought at first glance, and the skin has acne spots here and there. Peer even deeper and you’ll see the crooked teeth, the eyes that never quite reach your face, and the hands that never seem to stop shaking. In that quick, maybe fifteen second onceover, you have probably pre-judged me and deemed me not worthy of a second glance. Sadly, though, you’ve missed the main attraction…my heart.

You see, my heart has been battered, bruised, broken, hurt, stepped on, and crushed. The heartbeats have been reduced to a slight murmur and the blood flows like the gentle trickle of an almost dried-up stream. The bandages have piled up, one on top of another, until what was once there is now barely noticeable.  And now…I simply cannot continue to live. Am I depressed? No. I’m in my right mind, perfectly rational, but the fear of dying is no longer there.

I reach the middle of the bridge with not one smile. Resolutely, I go to the railing and grasp it hard with shaking hands. Slipping off my shoes, I step onto the third rail and prepare myself to lean forward and fall over. As I close my eyes and start to fall, I feel warmth on my ear. “Do you really want to jump? Wouldn’t you rather tell me what the matter is instead?” Flustered, I suck in a sharp breath of air, and topple over the edge.

They say that drowning happens in stages.

The water hits me like spray from the nozzle when you first step in the shower. Almost immediately the water swallows me inside itself; caressing and shielding me from the world above. My body involuntarily starts to fight but I quiet it as a mother does a fussy baby and brace myself. I close my eyes, willing my body to sink deeper.

As the water seeps into my nose and mouth my arms start to flip around, reaching out for something to hold on to. My head fights to reach the surface and I lose the fragile fight for control as I struggle to breathe.

Water flows into my body like a faucet with the spigot on full blast. I choke and cough, but that does nothing but let more water in. Sinking deeper into the lake, my mind registers the fact that I now have little chance at survival. My body starts to shut down, and right before I black out I think: It wasn’t supposed to happen this way.

For a moment, I am caught in limbo; motionless. Losing all sense of sound, touch, and ultimately consciousness, my body drifts into a permanent state of peace…

…Until, my eyes pop open and I start to gag and vomit into the grass. I glance up at a stranger, soaked and smiling down at me, “I’m so glad you’re alive,” he whispers. Faintly, I hear approaching sirens, and in a small corner of my brain, I register disappointment. I wasn’t supposed to live and be the girl everyone felt sorry for because she tried to kill herself. Instead of fixing everything, I’ve just made everything worse.

 

May

Let’s Talk: Beta Reading!

Hi loves!

Today we’re going to discuss beta reading. (As you could probably tell from the title lol) This process typically happens during the editing process and before an author’s book is published. Is this process worth it? I think so. It allows a fresh pair of eyes to look at your manuscript, and give their opinion before your manuscript goes out into the world.

Personally, I am still in the middle of writing my debut novel, and focusing on another WIP, so I am nowhere near searching for beta readers. However, I have beta read a couple of novels and am currently in the middle of beta reading two more so this blog post will rely heavily on my own personal experiences and research.

A beta reader is a reader who agrees to read through an author’s work. This is usually fiction, but may include non-fiction work as well. The purpose of a beta reader is to objectively critique your book. As an author you want to find beta readers that are most likely to read your chosen genre so they can give you a sense of how well your book may be received once published. They can catch things big and small, such as typos, plot holes, or other inconsistencies. As they read your novel they’ll give you their general impressions of the story and the characters you develop over time.

Even if you aren’t considering using beta readers, or prefer to just rely on an editor, keep in mind that as writers, we already know what we are trying to say, but certain points may not be clear to our readers. We may leave out vital explanations in our novels without realizing it. The goal of a beta reader is to find those things you’ve overlooked before your novel is published.

As an author, before looking for beta readers you want to decide what type of feedback your novel needs. For instance, some of the author’s I’ve beta read for have wanted me to focus less on grammar and more on plot. Others have preferred for me to focus on both grammar and overall readability.

It is also important for an author to know a potential beta’s typical turn around time. Personally, I try to always be quick with my feedback, preferring to push other things aside when a new email pops in my inbox from an author, but we all have hectic personal lives. Some betas may take up to a week to provide feedback on a single chapter.

 

Interested in becoming a beta? Looking for a beta? The internet is your best friend! Reach out on various social media platforms. Some, like Goodreads and Facebook have groups dedicated to these pursuits. Twitter and Instagram have hashtags you can use as well.

How does the process work? It varies! Some authors send me one to three chapters at a time with specific questions at the end of each chapter. Others send me their entire novel and I make notes as I go along. I personally feel that having the author leave specific questions at the end of each chapter is more helpful. Questions can include: What is your overall opinion of this chapter? Was there anything included that you felt wasn’t necessary? How did this scene make you feel? What is your overall opinion of the character development of <insert character’s name here>

How do authors receive this feedback? Some of my authors use Google Forms. Others rely on a Word questionnaire or ask for general feedback through email. Regardless of how feedback is expressed, I think its important for authors and betas alike to realize that feedback can be brutally honest, but should at no point be harsh or outright mean. Authors are always free to cut loose betas that they don’t mesh well together with and betas should realize that an author does not have to accept their suggestions. It is the author’s novel after all.

Overall, I think utilizing a beta reader for your novel is an excellent way to further enhance it. Who knows? Utilizing one may lead to lifelong friendships and your novel’s first fan.

After reading this blog post how do you feel about beta reading? Have you beta read for authors in the past? As an author, have you enlisted a beta in the past? If you have any other comments or suggestions feel free to leave them down below.

-Jade