Monday, May 21, 2012

The Power of Readers

I've had a lot of readers for One. 

No, really. Like...20? Maybe more?

Some of them have served as Megans, some have given beta feedback and reader's reports, others have commented on large-scale issues, and my most dedicated CPs have done in-line comments.

Of course, they didn't all read at once. I did my due diligence before querying, of course - about a dozen people read before I queried.

But even after I started querying, crazy things happened.
People were telling me they were willing to read One.
Sometimes, people even told me they wanted to read it.
Sometimes, they said - get this - they were excited to read it.

You can imagine how I felt sending off a copy to those people.

fanning self

And then? If one of those readers told me she liked it?

Well, something utterly magical happened a couple of weeks ago - one of those readers said she liked the book - actually she said she "LOOOOOVED it" - (*dies*) - and that she had a couple suggestions for how to make it even better - tightening here, ramping up there, a little extra something-or-other somewhere else. Here's the really magical part - I agreed with every one of her suggestions

So, I made the changes. Even though they were just a couple not-huge changes, we all know about the revision house of cards, so of course their effects were manuscript-wide. Guess what you need when you spend dozens of hours making manuscript-wide changes? 

More readers. *gulp*

Amazingly, I managed to find even more people willing to read and give me their thoughts.
Even more astounding than that is that my dear, dear CPs agreed to read One YET AGAIN.

And then? And THEN?

Some of them even told me they loved it even more than they had the first time around.
 (Of course they had notes. They're my CPs. And obviously I'm not perfect. But they still liked it.)

You guys, this is like the first draft high times one hundred.
As hard as I worked for the first draft, there's something about pushing your manuscript over one more hump, about shining it up even more than you thought you could, and people saying, "Well done. Really well done," that is completely and totally overwhelming to me. 

cry gif

It's like circuit overload, honestly. There's so much work and love and emotion that goes into a manuscript, and then to have people VALIDATE that effort, whether by reading, being excited to do so, taking the time to give me critique, or straight-up loving my story? Holy geez. I almost can't handle it.

Seriously. I think that, if I ever became a published author, I'd need to schedule time every day just to respond to every person who said they read my book. My gratitude for that alone, and my shock that someone would even take the time out of their day to do it, is so huge, it's overwhelming.

You know, the good kind of overwhelming. The whole-reason-we-do-this kind of overwhelming.

So, because it's starting to look creepy and maudlin to do so on Twitter and emails,
Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.
I love you all. I can't thank you enough. You, and your time, and opinions, and reads, and re-reads, and re-re-reads, and enthusiasm, and support, and hugs, and hand-holding, mean the world to me. 

What about you, sweet readers and writerly-types? Does it totally throw you for an emotional loop every time someone reads your stuff? What do you do with All The Gratitude? And, published readers - how do you handle the circuit overload on a daily basis?


  1. Hooooooray!

    I'm incredibly grateful to my beta reader for her hard work. I couldn't have sorted it all out without her help.

  2. It's the greatest feeling when people tell you they love your work and think you're brilliant! Also, from the other end, it's so much fun when I get to read someone's draft and tell them how much I love it. I think it's pretty much always a win/win. :)

  3. One was already awesome when I read got to read it so I'm so excited to hear that you even brought it to the next level. I've no doubt that this MS will be published one day (I can't imagine the world being deprived of it forever!) :)

  4. It really is the best feeling in the world. That's been my saving grace through revisions after revisions. I haven't even started querying yet, and I think THE SIGHT has been read by at least ten people so far, and I'm sure I'll get more before I start querying. I love the feedback, and I love the feeling I get when I can talk to someone about my characters and my world and everything that is MY creation. It's so amazing :-)

  5. I haven't gotten to the CP stage of my WIP yet but I'm already excited to share it and get feedback to make it even better.
    Glad your experience has been such a great one!

    The Fiction Diaries

  6. Yesssssss yes it's the best feeling ever I mean I literally freak out whenever someone says they want to read/sends me feedback on ALEX. I actually cannot handle it. And the feeling when someone suggests you change some things and then you change those things and then the story gets so much better? THE BEST.

    Those ONE revisions are gonna pull through for you, L. I can feel it.

  7. What's cool is if somebody reads it and likes it and then says they'd love to read something else of yours sometime. That's another terrific feel good moment.

  8. Aww I love this and ONE, trust me it's amazing no matter how many times I read it :D

  9. Speaking of first drafts, have you ever watched the outtakes of Lacey Chabert from that photograb of Mean Girls you have posted? Lacey had to do the scene a number of times, because she kept cracking up. It's not exactly the same as a writer having to rewrite a scene, but if a professional like her needs a few do-overs, we shouldn't mind having to rewrite some pages.


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