I’ve officially decided to stop sharing my manuscript with anyone except the following people:
- My critique partners
- My beta readers
- My immediate family members (husband and children)
First, let me explain my list.
I will share my writing with my critique partners because they are amazing. Also because they know what they’re talking about. Even if I don’t implement every single suggestion they give, I know they have the best interest of my story at heart. They are writers. They know how to write. They may not be perfect (who is?) but they understand the objectives of writing a novel, getting it published, and the struggles of the whole process. To me, they are invaluable.
I will share my writing with a few select beta readers because they are either my target audience, or they are avid readers. In either case, I am willing to share because, they will hopefully ask questions about things that confuse them or indicate places where they lost interest… or other stuff that may help me improve my story.
I will share my writing with my family whenever they are willing to read it. This is merely because after seven years of writing, they rarely are excited to do this anymore! And since I want them to understand the alternate world I live in, I’ll take whatever interest they throw my way. Besides, gone are the days they tell me everything I write is awesome, so I actually value their opinions.
I’m adding a small exception to this list—my parents and in-laws. I will share my writing (when it’s ready-ish) with them because they are sincerely interested; they ask me about my story all the time; and even though I know they will tell me it’s awesome (even if it isn’t), I can always use a rah-rah session when I’m deep in the query trenches and need a pick-me-up! 🙂
So, if you do not see yourself on this list, be aware that I will not be sending you my manuscript. That may sound harsh, but here’s why:
- Over the last seven years, I have sent numerous stories to extended family members (Riley and Jordan this does not include you). I thought it would bring them great joy and/ or bring me great insight as to how I can make the story better. With the exception of a few people, most of the feedback I’ve gotten has been along the lines of, “Wow, that’s a great story. How long did it take you to write it? When is it going to get published?” At this point in my writing career (if you can call it that) I’d rather send them the finished product. Who knows when that will be, but I’d rather give it to them under the pretense that it may never be published, but if you’re interested, here’s a free story to read! No pressure and no expectations.
- Over the last seven years I have sent numerous stories to friends. Even friends who begged me to send it to them. Begged! With much trepidation, I did hit the send button. And you know what? Many of them, never ever responded. Oh, they definitely received it, and they said they would let me know what they thought. And then nothing. Nothing! It is not a good feeling to know someone has your manuscript, but never takes the time to actually read it. To be fair, I have two very dear friends who responded differently. As in, they cried and talked at length about the whole manuscript. But they are the exception.
- I am constantly revising. Just as soon as I send someone my manuscript, I will find a section that requires major changes. And it completely frustrates me to think my finished story is out in the world—unfinished.
So as much as I can’t wait to have my story in the hands of literary agents and eventually young readers (or any readers) who may ultimately feel something (hope, inspiration, understanding) from reading it, I’ll refrain from doing so until it’s ready. And that may take more time. So I will force myself to be patient, and be very selective with who gets to read it. For now. At some point I’ll want to put my best work out into the world, and in order to do that, I need the right people to read it. 🙂
What about you? Who’s on your list? Do you share your words with anyone who’s interested, or are you more selective?
On that note, I guess I better get back to my revisions. I have a lot to do and maybe that way I’ll get this story out to those certain people who did make the list!
Have a great weekend. Cheers to all of you who work so hard to write words. May you find a way to make them flow and make them mean something in your story! 🙂