So I finished and I am on top of the world. I want to tell everyone, and then I want to confine myself until I decide what to do with this frightening thing called ‘my first’. I let the book sleep for a while, and now the time is approaching when I will go back to it, for editing and revising, which is scary and unnerving, but I will do it anyway, because if it goes through me, it can go through anyone (I have a pretty fucked up inner critic, very strict, very judgmental). But I want to share what I did, I think it might be helpful for others.
Without planning my choice, I gave the manuscript to close people (who else, of course), but the useful thing about it, was that all of them are completely different personalities. So I got two men, one of which in his thirties, reads classics, mystery, thriller and horror, and hates romantic comedies. The other one is in his fifties, very serious and down-to-earth, but doesn’t mind an occasional ‘Love Actually’. And then a girl in late twenties, and another girl, in her late sixties.
When you share it with different characters, while you think you’ve got your target audience figured out, you will be surprised, and the feedback you get will be priceless. Because they all have completely different personalities, expectations and reading history. And very, very different taste in books.
Make sure you pick out your first readers carefully as well. Even if they are people who may or may not have had a key role in the creation of you (moms, dads, grandmas), pick the ones that you know will tell you what’s wrong with your writing. And yes, you can never fully rely on the people who share your DNA or childhood. But then again, you can always nitpick their comments.
Are they saying ‘omg, you’re like, so good‘ (and that’s it), or are they calling you every five minutes to discuss their awe in what you wrote in Chapter 24, or beg you to write a sequel because parting with the characters was something that left them sleepless that night?
I wish you the second one 🙂