I found a link on Pinterest today that seemed quite relevant to me at the moment.
It’s called Ten Questions to Ask a Friend Who Just Read Your Novel, and it’s a great set of questions to ask more casual readers, rather than those who maybe you are asking to proof your work for errors and things.
I really love the idea of using friends and family as the first line of readers before your book goes out for publishing. I know that is a big no-no in the writing business, but I think writers should use every resource they can get. Luckily, my family and best friend know how much I want to succeed in my career so they are very honest with me.
They don’t worry about hurting my fragile writer feelings, because they know in the end it will be worth it if it makes my books better! 😀
Whilst I’ve been doing my final read outs of my books, I’ve been trying to think up questions that I can ask at the end. When I print off my manuscripts to give to my readers, I always include a front sheet stating things I want them to look out for, and looking back on them I realise I ask them to look on a lot of editing and technical stuff. I make them look at it critically, which is exactly what I want and need, but I also need them to read my book as a reader. I need to know if they enjoyed the story and characters itself.
But when I went looking for suggestions on questions to ask readers, a lot of them were focused on the technical side of things, such as: Were there many typos? How was my grammar? Etc. Which is important I know, and those are the things I always ask, but the questions in the article I found were different; rather than technical questions, they were more focused on story and character, and that is after all the most important part, right?
After having all my edits back on the technical side and working for so long on editing grammar and punctuation it was nice to be reminded to focus on story. And although my technical ability needs to be great (which is important to me), I also need to remember to look at my story as a reader and not just a writer. When I read a book, especially one I’m really enjoying, things like adverbs and how many commas a sentence has doesn’t matter very much. What matters is the story and the characters.
The technical side of my writing can be as brilliant as it wants, great editing and formatting, but unless the characters are relatable and real, and the story is fun and read-able, then all that lovely editing will count for little 😀 So, I’m going to make even more use of my readers, and ask them these new sets of questions and anymore I can think of (if you guys have suggestions, I would be very grateful!).
Are there any questions you always ask your readers? Do you wrangle your family and friends into reading your books before publishing? 😀
Also, I have finally got a Tumblr account for any of those who want to follow and connect 🙂 – awriterslifeformeblog. It will be a writing focused blog, with updates on my books and writing, as well as inspiration and tips.
> Stolen– Final edits. (Still to do: Cover, blurb, final read-out, formatting, marketing).
> The Queen’s Jester– Final edits. (Still to do: Cover, blurb, final read-out, formatting, marketing).
> Third Manuscript– Editing, 2/3 copies back from readers. (Still to do: Final edits, cover, blurb, final read-out, formatting, marketing).
April E-Book Review: Book read. Review ready.