A few weeks ago I sent the three short stories that make up my planned self published collection - Tales From Beyond The Event Horizon - out to beta readers. This is the first time I’ve ever done anything like this, asked someone to read my work and give me feedback. Sure editors of the small presses that have printed my work have read it, but this felt different, this felt like I was taking a whole bigger step down the published path.
I chose my readers because I know them, know their work and trust what they would have to say to me. Colin F. Barnes is a writer and editor, I know him from Twitter and have read his work – Vex: A Modern Viking Fantasy, and his collection Day of Demons. Paul Starkey is a writer who has self published a book – City Of Caves available on Lulu – and is a successful short story author – he has two stories in forthcoming publications Dead Rush and Use Enough Gun.
Both have read my stories and given me feedback, both have been truthful and offered constructive criticism. Most of what they have pointed is pretty straightforward – grammar, punctuation – but they’ve also put forward ideas in layout and content. I will say this has opened up new avenues within the stories I’d written, in one instant taking it in a slightly different direction. This is a good thing, as the new direction works a lot better than the original.
I had intended to have the collection polished and published by the end of June. I can’t see that happening now, with other ongoing projects it’s going to be pushed back a couple of months at least. Still if the end result is a better product then the delay is worthwhile.
To anyone out there contemplating sending their work to beta readers. DO IT! They see things you’ll never see, you look at your work through rose tinted glasses, a fresh set of eyes takes those glasses off.