Who are ‘your people’?
Some view writing as a solo journey, but many, including myself, rely on others to help improve their craft and learn about what’s available to ease the process. The sphere of folks who I rely on includes other writers who exchange chapters, beta readers who read my entire book, and people from all sorts of backgrounds who attend conferences.
Other writers are vital because they ‘get it.’ They understand the concepts of pace, timing, arc, and character voice. They help me to see what opportunities I’ve missed and where I’ve completely lost track of the story. By sharing their projects, I learn from their work, too. I see the benefits of their well-turned phrases and how much they know and appreciate their characters.
There are no words to express the importance of beta readers. They read the entire book and tell me what works and what doesn’t. They let me know whether my story has merit and if they can relate to the characters. Beta readers fill me in on whether my story is sufficiently unpredictable and if they were satisfied with the ending. They bring different skills to the process. One of my readers is a court reporter who can pick out a malapropism from a mile away. Others are crime story aficionados, general bibliophiles, and technical writers. Their contributions to my project are priceless.
Conference attendees are an incredible source of information about writing techniques, marketing options, and trade-craft tips. At my last conference, big takeaways included: how to interpret responses from query letter submissions, options for self-publishing, and imperative marketing/networking for a debut author. I look forward to the next conference event – there is still so much to learn!
The group of people that I rely upon to move my project from an idea to a published book range from dear friends to casual acquaintances. They are all a valuable part of my journey, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.