My novel is now with beta readers

The Manhattan Beach Pier

The Manhattan Beach Pier

As of this afternoon I took the leap. I  sent off copies of my novel in progress – actually Revision Three – to five beta readers. It is both an exciting and scary step. Now I plan to wait. I won’t make any changes to the book until I’ve heard back from everyone – hopefully around July 15. In the meantime, I’ll catch up on my blogging, write a few poems, maybe put together a poetry chapbook, and perhaps enter a poetry contest or two. I can also spend more time at my hometown beach. Really, the options for a writer are endless.

After all beta reader feedback is in:

  • I’ll review the comments and criticisms
  • I’ll make changes as appropriate and turn them into Revision Four
  • I’ll seek out another group of beta readers to critique that revision
  • I’ll again review the comments and criticisms once I get their feedback
  • I’ll again make changes as appropriate and turn them Revision five

And the last step before I make any decisions about publishing:

  • Hire a professional editor to edit and proofread the document as a whole.

In all this should take another six months.


  1. You really have the routine down pat, Madeline. Congratulations for reaching this major milestone and moving onto the “next chapter.” Wishing you the best! xo

    • Thanks so much Kathy. As you know it takes a lot of focus, organization, and perseverance. This is a scary time, but I hope well worth it. Best to you for your book’s release. xo

  2. Reading about your milestone encourages me. I know that it takes a seroius commitment to get this far with your book. Congratulations! I hope to be where you are by the end of this month.

    • Madeline Sharples says:

      Thank you La Tanya. I wish you luck on your book. Please keep me posted. All best, Madeline

  3. Madeline, good for you that you’ve achieved this milestone! Do you celebrate each achievement? I hope so. Dogged determination is what an author needs to go on to the next step and the next, etc.

    I do have a question, though. Recently, an author friend of mine strongly suggested that I pay an editor to read my next novel checking for characterization, plotting, pacing, etc. I know that will cost at least $40 an hour. And it will total to an even larger sum if I have an editor fact-check and proofread the manuscript, as you mentioned, as well. (I did the latter for my first novel.)

    So, how do you choose your beta readers? Are they writers? Or are they readers who share your particular interests in genre’s and books?

    I’m asking because I work-shopped my first novel so much with different critique groups that I didn’t need beta readers. But I haven’t work-shopped the second novel as much, so I’ll need to select my beta readers very carefully. I’m leaning towards writers whose works I respect primarily, because they can often give constructive ideas of what to do if there’s a problem, rather than non-specific reader comments like “this chapter just isn’t working for me.”

    • Madeline Sharples says:

      Hi, Kas,
      I hope I can answer this adequately. My beta readers are mostly writers whom I respect. However one is a younger women. Since one of my main characters is a young woman, I wanted feedback on how I presented her. That said, once I get feedback and revise again, I still feel I need to have a professional editor look at it. My experience with my memoir is that we can’t have enough fresh eyes look at our manuscripts. I’m thinking of going the crowdfunding route to help pay for it.
      I agree we need feedback that is constructive. I’ve asked for it. I’m just hoping that the suggestions will be useful.
      Best luck with your book. Let’s keep in touch on this.

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