After a weekend of intense activity, I have succeeded in converting the second daft of The Atholl Expedition into a beta advance copy: that is, a rough-and-ready (but presentable) version of the book suitable for distribution to a small number of beta readers.
This is something I recommend all writers do with their work before they push the ‘publish’ button. It is completely impossible for an author to be objective about his or her own work; you need another pair of eyes, or preferably several, to read through and tell you about the inevitable inconsistencies, plot holes, character problems, and bits where it just doesn’t make any sense. If possible, I recommend you recruit experts in specific fields who will be able to provide targeted advice on areas you aren’t strong on yourself.
Who are my beta readers? Two are family members, one is a Twitter follower who has offered to help me out, three are people who have provided feedback on my work before (and whose objectivity and attention can be relied upon), one is an expert on Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, and another is an expert on the history and geography of the Cairngorms.
Beta reading isn’t a substitute for professional editing, however, and as soon as I have acted on the advice of my readers the manuscript will be heading off to my editor for a closer look at what still needs work.
Remember, as indie authors we have a duty to our readers: to be diligent, to hold ourselves to the highest professional standards, to strive to do our work as well as authors who are with a mainstream publishing house. I believe we have absolutely no right to charge readers for our creations if we haven’t done everything in our power to get them to a professional standard before publication.
I hope to publish The Atholl Expedition by Christmas. To get the chance of downloading the book at a lower price before general release, click here to sign up to my new release mailing list.