I am currently preparing two novels for submission and creating a trial reader group for feedback and review. Is there any other writers out there interested in putting their work in the hands of readers to assess readiness for submission? Want to discuss?
Whether you call it a trial reader group or not, it seems obvious to me that you would make some people read your book before releasing it to the general public. Personally, I wouldn't be brave enough to publish a book before I had the opinion of at least some of my friends. (The ones I trust will tell the truth.)
It all depends on where you're submitting the novel.
Most publishers want a crisp, clean copy. To get that, you absolutely need people to read what you've wrote. (Read: Not family or friends, they will always tell you that your work is brilliant, even if it's not.) Since they aren't intimately involved in the work, they'll be able to point out different things here and there.
My suggestion, find a writers critique group nearby and ask them to review your work. If you can't find a critique group, there are some online, but you have to be very very careful with those. Make sure to read all of the fine print before you join. Most of the time, the people who critique your work through these groups are highly knowledgeable about what their doing. Be warned though, they won't pull punches - they'll tell you exactly how it is, and most of the time they'll focus on what's bad with the novel.
Either way, I wish you the best of luck with your novels.. It's a rough world for writers, but if you take your time then you'll be alright. Good luck!
It is always a good practice to have few people who can review your work carefully and honestly. And it is hard to find such people online.
Nice to see some comments here. I agree with all of you, everyone needs input from readers before submission. As far as using writer groups -- I do belong to two, one in Alberta and one in Florida. My experience has been these are more social groups than anythings else, and usually only read a five minute segment. I had very good response here on hubpages where I'm trying to set up a site for authors to ask for trial readers. For our first experiment, I received applications from 14 people in 6 different countries. The manuscripts are out now, so I'll let you know how it goes. If anyone wants more info, contact me.
I wish you the best of luck with things!
As far as groups, there were a couple that I used where people actually gave constructive feedback - but both were online. I think one was writers.com, they have a forum that protects your work so I always felt comfortable with them. The other was accentuate writers, they also have a critique forum, but they aren't as "harsh" as the other group.
You're right though, a lot of these types of groups - both online and off - are more social circles than anything. I joined with a group that my old college had, but beyond that, you're absolutely right.
I hope that everything works out for ya.. Good luck!
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