Following my recent article on deciding to use beta readers for my last two books, I thought it would be nice to give a shout out to the three lovely ladies who took on the task of helping me to make my books the best they can be.
The ladies in question are Carole P Roman, Amy J Hamilton and Jessica Jesinghaus – first up is Carole.
Carole P Roman
Carole is a multi award-winning children’s author, who specialises in books of an educational nature with her biggest series being the ‘If you were me and lived in…’ series that teaches young children about different cultures, both modern and from history.
In addition to her own writing, Carole helps to promote the books written by her sons and those written by other indie authors – she is the most amazing supporter of indie authors, and shares every opportunity she finds for promotion, including a chance to get our books entered into swag bags at awards shows such as the Emmys and the Oscars.
When it comes to being a beta reader Carole is great at spotting elements that need clarification, and suggesting ways to make a character more relatable. She also has a really keen eye for what will appeal to readers.
Amy J Hamilton
Amy is a multi genre author from the UK with a cracking sense of humour and wild-coloured hair. After starting off writing humorous, sci-fi erotica (she likes to mash genres) she has moved into mystery and paranormal, all with a sci-fi element and plenty of humour; her current efforts are focused on the Radish reading app, where she is serialising two titles simultaneously.
Amy not only spots the usual problems for me when beta reading, she brings a much more valuable item to the beta table; she knows about areas of British life that I don’t, so she is able to correct mistakes where my research has let me down, or where I have make the error of assuming I know something.
An example of this is that in my most recent book, A Perfect Pose: Inspector Stone Mysteries, I mentioned a girl leaving school at age 16 – when I went to school, a long time ago now (I won’t say exactly how long because that will date me and reveal my age, which is far too big a number) it was possible for someone to leave school at 16 after completing their GCSEs. Now, though, everyone is required to stay in education until they are 18, whether that be college, 6th form, or an apprenticeship/training scheme.
It was only required a couple of sentences through the book to correct this error, but I was really pleased to have it spotted before the book hit the virtual shelves because that is the kind of thing an author gets slammed for in reviews.
If you’d like to find out more about Amy and the weird and wonderful world she inhabits, which includes reptiles and rodents (she has a really cute Degu, which I had never heard of before getting to know Amy) you can visit her blog here or follow her on Twitter here
Last of my beta readers, but by no means least is
Like me, Carole and Amy, Jess is a writer alongside providing me with invaluable assistance as a beta reader. My first introduction to Jess’ writing was her novel, Mirror, Mirror, a thriller about a serial killer which kept me guessing all the way to the end. She has recently turned her hand to fantasy, a change of genre that I am very jealous of since I’m a huge fan of fantasy and would love to write in it, but can’t find either the confidence or the right story to do so.
I’ll leave it to Jess to tell the world about the fantasy project she is working on when she is ready, I will say, though, that I had the privilege of being asked to beta read the first book in the series recently and thoroughly enjoyed it. It had me hating everything that kept me from sinking into its pages, a sure sign that the book is a winner.
When not questioning the differences between English English and American English (I’m the former and she’s the latter) to be sure I won’t confuse readers on the other side of the pond, she likes to demonstrate that in a former life she was almost certainly an eagle – she has the sharpest eyes of anyone I know when it comes to spotting typos that have slipped through the net.
All three of my beta readers bring something different to the table when they look over my books, this is important because it means when all three say there’s a problem with a section I know there’s definitely a problem. Not only that but their contrasting ways of looking at things provides me with alternatives on how to improve aspects of my stories.
This post seems like a poor way to thank them for the hours they have put in helping me to not only improve my writing but to increase the chances of people finding my books once they are published. I would be grateful, however, if those of you reading this could take the time to have a look at their blogs and maybe share a post or two, perhaps buy a book if any take your fancy, or maybe follow them on Twitter and help to make the world a little more aware of how awesome they are.