Wednesday Woo: Are You A Hack?

Seth Godin’s blog post this morning struck a nerve for me (it’s only four lines–go read it)

The critic as an amateur hack

Not only is it super easy for us to think of ourselves as critics worth listening to, but writers worth reading.

Let’s never mind the critics since they are so unreliable. How do we determine whether our efforts deserve the reader’s time and money? Or even our own time and resources?

Do you care about the quality of your work? By whose standards do you measure it?

Do you even question the works value? Or is producing it the payback? What makes a work so self-serving merit readers attention?

If you haven’t considered whether the work you are producing is worthy of what you are asking for it (a reader’s time and money) then you are a hack.

But, that’s just my opinion, take it for it’s worth.

Wednesday Woo: Beta Readers

Mom has read your book, heaped praise upon your head for its cleverness, and depth of human emotion, then proceeded to tell everyone she knows that it is the best thing she’s ever read. Congrats.

But unless your mother is an editor at Doubleday, your book still needs some help. Help in the form of beta readers, especially those willing to risk bruising your ego to assist you in putting out a quality product.

What constitutes a quality product is subjective, even the most poorly written work’s premise can still be a good story. This is a compilation of views on what a bad book is or isn’t–The Top 40 Bad Books.

Let’s assume you’re looking to produce something to be proud of. You’ve done all you can by ensuring it is your very best work to date, and have put in the grueling hours of revisions and edits. It is now time to let someone else give you their two cents.

I’m serious about you needing to care about the product you’re sending out into the world. It represents you. It says something about who you are as writer and a person. As a reader, I have no respect for writers who ask me to shell out my hard earned money for something they didn’t deem worthy enough to seek help with.

Sure, there are a few writers able to edit their own work, just as there are beta readers whose skills are on par with a professional content editor, but they are few and far between.

Stop resisting doing the right thing for expediency. Get your beta readers lined up and let them fire away. How to Find A Beta Reader

Beta Reader Guidelines

Self-publishing is far too easy. It means anyone can do it regardless of quality, regardless of the consumer, regardless of how this reflects on other self-published authors. Vanity publishing serves only ego, not the craft of writing, or the business of being an author.

Here’s a test. Would you be embarrassed to send your book to a traditional publisher, or a literary agent? Then stop right there. Save up every penny you can, put off publishing for a year, even two, get yourself a professional content editor and polish that work till it shines. Only then, when it is worthy of it’s price tag, release it into the world amid as much fanfare as you can muster knowing you’ve done the best job you possible could, for yourself, your fellow authors, your readers and the self-publishing industry as a whole.

15 Ways to Find a Beta Reader

How to Tackle Those Critique Notes

Beta Readers on deviant Art

6 Tips for Picking Your Beta Readers

Wednesday Woo: Criticism

Criticism: What we hear “the expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes.” What was meant “the analysis and judgment of the merits and faults of a literary or artistic work.”

We all have something that we are afraid of being judge for, it could be our appearance, our choice of career, our spouse, or eating that dessert. Creatives are especially vulnerable since our sensitivities extend to how our work is perceived mistaking that as a reflection of us personally.

Here’s a humorous take on how to handle criticism. http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-6-greatest-life-hacks-handling-criticism/

A Zen approach to handling personal criticism. http://tinybuddha.com/blog/how-to-deal-with-criticism-well-25-reasons-to-embrace-it/

For someday when we finally get feedback from an editor. http://nailyournovel.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/how-to-deal-with-critiques-and-editorial-feedback/

And a resource for Literary Criticism. http://www.onlineuniversitylowdown.com/2007/08/50-places-to-find-literary-criticism-online.html

Almost forgot, the sensible C.S. Lakin (I have not used her services but have followed her for quite a while. When the time comes she’s top on my list to try inquire about) http://critiquemymanuscript.com/#writetip