Today I reached a milestone for this blog – 1000 followers! I’m so pleased to have reached such a wide audience. I’ve also been loving hearing the recent success stories some of you have been having with your manuscripts – some mentioned on this blog already, others to come over the next few months. We all know what a difficult and frustrating journey it can be, and to hear that publishers are still keen to accept new authors is heartwarming indeed.
To celebrate I’d like to offer you a present. We all know how hard it is to get a second opinion on your work. Scrub that – an honest and useful second opinion. Family are lovely but will always say it’s ‘good’, even if you give them a pencil and ask them to scrub out whole chapters. Some writers swear by having a ‘beta reader’ – someone to go through an early draft and give them a useful critique before they start submitting. I have recently started doing this with two other playwrights for the short plays I’m working on and I feel it has improved my work hugely, as well as decreasing the sense of writing ‘in a vacuum’. You can find willing beta readers in writers’ groups, online forums, social media groups, or sites where you post work up for others to critique and repay them the favour, such as Authonomy.
Or – as a thank you for being such a lovely follower – you can simply post a comment below and I will pick one out of a hat for a free writer-to-writer critique. (A nice, encouraging one, not a tearing-you-to-shreds one, delivered in confidence by email, not published on the blog.)
It could be for a work in progress, something you are preparing for submission, or something you are already sending out but would like some feedback on from a fellow author. All I ask is that it’s under 50,000 words. For very short works like picture books I’d be happy to look at three.
Feel free to talk about your manuscript in your comment, or if you want to play your cards close to your chest then that’s fine as well, just make a remark so I know you’re in the draw. After a month I will print out this page, cut the comments into strips, put them in a hat and ask one of my children to pull one out, then the winner can email me their work.
Good luck and I look forward to reading your manuscript!