Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Beta Readers

“But, Do I Really Need An Editor?”

I’ve heard of writers who are able to fully edit their own work—never met one yet… 

Of course, all serious writers move words around and take some out and put some in and notice typos—all forms of editing; but, there’s more to a full editing job than what most writers can handle.

First comes the need for Other Eyes on the manuscript.

Some of this objective perception might come from beta-readers; but, a writer should never count on the betas for thorough editing.

There’s great value in having many beta-eyes on the manuscript before submitting it to the editors (<— yes, that word was a plural…).

Beta-readers are usually not hired—they do it because they love to read and comment—they find plot holes and express feelings about the characters and say things about the writing’s overall effect)—though, listing them in the back of the book is a welcome compensation.

Also, betas can induce the writer to do some self-editing before they engage a pro

So, how many kinds of editing are there?

Opinions differ but BookBub has an article, by C. S. Lakin, that will get you thinking about what various types do and whether they might be needed for a particular piece of writing.

The article’s called 3 Crucial Editing Phases All Authors Need to Sell More Books; and, is still valuable even if the writing is given away for free.

I encourage anyone serious about writing to read the full article; but, I’ll list the major points:

Phase One: Get a structural critique

Phase Two: Do thorough line editing (this is a self-editing phase {to reduce time and cost on the third phase}) There are 9 sub-phases

Phase Three: Find the right copy editor for your book — There are 8 sub-phases here about how to find the right person

And, if you want some in-depth understanding about that third phase, check out The Subversive Copy Editor Blog.

Or, if you’re the kind of person who would rather do all the editing yourself, check out the English Editing Blog—it has three main catagories:

For those who’ve never brought a manuscript to the level that needs beta-readers or editors, Be Aware—you’ll be forming a Relationship with these people

Also, here are 6 other posts about editors ( since I’m tagging this post with “editor”, you’ll need to scroll past it on your way to the other posts :-)
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Read A Book As It’s Written ~ or ~ Write A Book As It’s Read

Many authors use Beta Readers—folks who read the work before the editors do… 

Read A Book As It's Written or Write A Book As It's Read

Image Courtesy of Bernard Delobelle ~

Their function isn’t to find clunky sentences or fix typos (though they sometimes do).

Basically, they give their opinion on how the story feels to them.

They may say things like:

“Your main character feels too weak.”

“His girlfriend is dishonest.”

“I can’t understand this sentence.”

“What’s your point?”

“I love chapter three!”

Other writers get together in groups and do pretty much the same thing.

Some writers would never consider either situation

Some readers only want to read books that are “finished”.


What if

You could

Read A Book As It’s Written


Write A Book As It’s Read.

If neither of those situations appeals to you, you could stop reading this post


Read the rest of the post and think about it.

The site I’m featuring today is LeanPub.

I admit that many people will wonder if something like this could ever be worthwhile

And, I must admit that it certainly isn’t for everyone


What if, as a reader, you got to know an author as they wrote their book and also got to decide how much to pay them?

What if, as a writer, you could get feedback as you wrote and fine-tune your book before you published it; and, when you publish, make a 90% royalty minus 50¢ per copy that goes to LeanPub?

Are you at all interested?

You can go to one of these pages for more details:




However, what I suggest, is that you watch this video first, then click on one of those three links…

btw, don’t let all the marketing and software stuff turn you off if you want to write or read fiction—he talks about that too, starting at the 14 minute mark… :-)

And, if you’re really interested in the possibilities, check out all of LeanPub’s YouTube Videos…

Check Out Our Latest Poll…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

This Editor Needs An Editor . . .

Short post today

I’ve written a number of posts about editing and editors here.

I had one editor for my last book, as well as a few folks who read various incarnations of the manuscript.

After it was published, I found eight typos and a few other small errors.

My next book will have eight Beta Readers and two editors

So, there’s this post I read recently on another blog by an editor—one who presents himself with many credentials:

“I’ve been a publisher, a developmental editor, a line (or substantive) editor, a copy editor, a proofreader, a fact checker, a print layout and ebook designer, a rights-and-permissions researcher, a cover designer, an audiobook producer… and even an author.”

I’m just an Indie author living on a small pension, very lucky to have a group of people check my work without having to pay them.

This man is putting himself out as a total Pro…

Here’s the post’s link (the basic info is reasonably good): 7 Deadly Myths and 3 Inspired Truths About Book Editing.

The following sentence is from that post

“If the changes or suggestions have to do he or she was most likely trying to make the prose in your manuscript consistent with a standard.”

Sure, it’s only a blog post.

Sure, everyone makes mistakes.

Yet, surely, a final read-through of that post should have caught such a malformed sentence

Authors do need editors.

Apparently, some editors also need editors

Sure hope there aren’t any typos in this post :-)
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For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

Preparing To Write A Book . . .

I published a novel in May of 2011.

I’m preparing to write a companion book—a collection of 19 short stories that happen in the same universe and time-frame as the novel.

It may be of interest how I prepare to write.

In fact, it may be important to let you know I consider all the Preparation to be “writing”, too.

Putting the words on the screen or page is merely the final phase of the whole Process of Writing.

Is this different from how you may experience Writing? If so, let us know your thoughts and feelings in the Comments :-)

So, the way I Prepare

For the novel, it was 23 years of study—psychology, philosophy, sociology, religion, politics, and a few other topics.

Of course, during those years I didn’t know I was preparing a novel—looking back is what proves it

Then, 11 years of trying out various formats and plot structures—actually, 11 years of life crises (part of the Preparation) with a few intensive attempts to get the Form of the novel shaped

I also utilized my relationships on Book Island in the virtual world Second Life to get some broad concepts from folks—their responses to the over-all Theme of the book.

The putting-words-down part took  about six months.

Then, of course, the attending to revisions sparked by the editor and a few early readers.

Part of preparing to put the words down for the second book is all the additional reading—this time not as wide-ranging as for the novel since my mind has already narrowed down the areas of life that need attention.

Some of the reading has been purely Massaging my Mind—fiction and non-fiction that I’ve intuitively felt would loosen-up the flow from unconscious to conscious

My next task is to re-read the novel Hindustan Contessa by Jane Watson. I’ll be writing my thoughts, feelings, and opinions as I read; sending those to Jane; and, discussing them with her. This task is important to me as a writer—really getting into the larger considerations of the writing process with another person

The next phase is to deeply contemplate the 30+ pages of notes I’ve been compiling for months.

Since the second book is a reshaping of the same themes as the novel, getting to know what I actually wrote in the novel is one of the things I’m doing to prepare—yes, a writer can write things and still need to discover what they actually said :-)

So, then, re-reading the Novel and beginning the final Notes for the short stories

As I’m writing I’ll be sending each story to my Beta Readers—folks who read the novel and want to give feedback on the stories.

Finally, I’ll be sending the stories to two editors

Part of the reason for many Beta Readers and two editors is that me and one of those editors missed 12 typos in the novel :-)

So, that’s a peek into the Process I call Writing.

And, if you’re a writer, what’s your Process?
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