I love using beta readers as I’m working on a book. They are so helpful, especially to counteract the very real tunnel vision that writers get when they’ve looked at a manuscript—stared at it incessantly—for months and months and months.
This time around, I had several beta readers who were quite helpful. But the chief beta, the final word, the approval I hang on is the one by my husband. And his assessment of my newest book, Dunkard’s Hollow, has been slow coming.
If you assume the slowness was so that he wouldn’t upset his wife, you’d be wrong. The delay had much more to do with the fact that the man is a rabid—in every sense of the word—rabid reader.
Years ago, he got hooked on books when he read—and loved—Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. It was the beginning of an obsession of books that any English teacher would applaud. He expanded his palette by delving into the histories written by the late David McCullough, including Truman, a tome he plowed through. He reads just about anything that looks interesting.
To say he reads a lot these days is a gross understatement. Of the multiple series written by Bernard Cornwell, one of his favorite authors, he’s read more that 40 of his books.
All this is to say is that the man knows books.
So, when he finished reading my newest book, Dunkard’s Hollow, the verdict was in. Reading it took him less than three days, and I was more than eager to hear his assessment.
“It’s your best yet, Babe.”
That made my heart sing and, as it did when I first published Cairnaerie, it inspires me with the courage to move toward publishing.
As I usually do, I’ll probably make a half-hearted effort to snag an agent, hoping to snag a publisher, and snag a big publishing contract. It’s an occupational habit—every authors’ eternal hope to hit the big time. (I must admit, however, that it is far less a goal for me than it had been years ago.) I just love writing.
So as I say—half-hearted. More than likely, I’ll soon be calling my wonderful graphic designer to create another cover and format another book for me to self-publish. And that will be just fine.
In the meantime, I’ll bask in the knowledge that my chief critic, my most beloved beta, likes my book.