Now What? Bet a Reader Knows.

Bet a Reader Knows what this 2.65 pounds is worth.

Bet a Reader Knows what this 2.65 pounds is worth.

Now what?  I’ve handed off my manuscript, Rolling for Coal, to a few highly capable beta readers.  Part of me wants to gulp and say, Fate rests in their hands.  Everything from this point on, it’s up to them.

But we all know, that’s just not true.  All I honestly expect from my wonderful readers is honest and constructive feedback, nothing more.  If it’s terrible, tell my why.  If it’s wonderful, tell my how to make it even better.  If it’s average, let’s go grab a beer and think about the next one.

If I step back, I can’t help but smile at the path I have taken to get to this point.  My wife encouraged me to sign up for a creative writing class when I was, ahem, between jobs.  I fell in love with writing for fun.  This blog was born.  I even became a stalker – a book stocker.  I obsessed over how-to-write books, and dove head first into an education process that unraveled onto the pages of Rolling for Coal.  I studied the craft, I practiced revision, I even thought about editing.   Then, last weekend, I decided I had learned all I could learn.  I needed to be read, if I wanted to learn anything further.

I am grateful for the folks, who represent about half of a jury, who will read my story.  I know that my education will continue with their feedback, and I am incredibly excited to hear their thoughts on the story, the characters, and the plot.  Why am I excited?  I know they will be honest, and I will learn a great deal from their notes and insight- in the end, this will make me a better writer.

No, I’m not hedging or kidding myself:  back before I wrote RFC, for whatever reason, I decided it would take three books for me to get published.  My first would serve as my education, my second as my apprenticeship, and my third, well that would be the one that I would ultimately sell.

For the record, yes, there is a part of me that wants to skip straight to that third bit – to be published.  The reality is I’m okay with whatever happens.  I have learned an incredible amount about writing, and reading, and I am simply happy to have written a novel – no matter where it may go from here.

So what now?  1.  Celebrate.  2.  Dream.  3. Create (start the next one).

Categories: Amazon Kindle, Creative Writing, Rolling for Coal

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22 replies

  1. Sometimes, the lack of control is the only way to have a control.
    Nice entry.

  2. WRITE ON! This post gives me inspiration to keep on writing. Congrats and open a bottle, why not?

  3. YOU ARE AMAZING! So so sooooo proud of you! I remember sitting on the roof of the PEPY house, about to do Insanity in sweaty Cambodia, and you speaking about the book as if it might be farrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr off in the future…. and you DID IT! You WROTE IT! You ROCK! So proud and psyched to read it at some point! I beta not offer too soon, as I was delta bad hand at editing, but I’m gamma read it some day (I’m alpha-it!)

    (or, I can’t do that as well as you…. but I tried)


    • You are cracking me up. I love your puns, much needed after a very long day here. Thank you so much for your support, D, I am so grateful to have such wonderful friends in my life – people who put their faith in me to do good things, to accomplish my dreams. I am eternally grateful. Some would say I’m beaming. Radiating. Thanks again friend!

  4. Congratulations, Dom! That is an awesome achievement, and I’m sure that the manuscript is great. Best of luck with the rest of the process!

  5. So excited for you Dom – that is a HUGE accomplishment! Chad and I have a bottle of champagne with your name on it – just let me know when you (and Sheila and Luca) are ready to celebrate!

    • Thank you Sierra! I’d tell you not to open up that bottle just yet since there is still a long way to go, but you know what? I typed “the end” and I think that warrants a little cork action! We would love to see you guys and introduce you to Luca. Coming to the city anytime soon? Thanks again!!!

  6. Writing is all about “hurry up and wait.” It’s a tough lesson to learn, but well worth it. Congratulations of finishing a draft to send to beta readers!

    • Isn’t that true?! Without my book to constantly fill every free minute, I’m not sure what to do with myself! I do feel very proud of what I have done – no matter what comes of it. I have learned so much about writing, and about myself. I’m really looking forward to writing another one! Thanks for your comment and support, much appreciated!

  7. There really is such a learning curve to writing, isn’t there? It sounds like you’ve got both feet on the ground with no overly high expectations, which is great. I’m sure your beta readers will give you the feedback you require to achieve your goals. Best of luck, relax, and get back on that writing horse! We all can’t wait to read what you’ll come up with in the future. 🙂

    • Wow, thank you! Yea, it has been a wild ride. I look back on some of the earlier drafts and it makes me realize how much I have learned about writing fiction. The crazy thing is, there is still a long way to go! Really appreciate your comment and well wishes – looking forward to the next year!

  8. Dom, it’s been great to follow your progress. Those Beta readers are some lucky folks. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next.

    • Thanks, Tom. I’m only following in your footsteps – your willingness to blog about the process you went through to get Letters off the press was seriously (no bs here) a major source of inspiration for me – it was the fuel I needed to get over the revision hurdle. At some point, I’ll get you to read RFC – though I’m afraid its going to be a genre shift for you (there is some mushy father and son stuff in there!!!!)…but hey, anything for our writing right?! Thanks for all of your support, looking forward the journey with you.

      • Ah Dom, thanks for the good word. I actually enjoy emotional storytelling…in fact, I wish I could capture that. It’s very challenging for me. I don’t know why, but the crazy batsheet stuff comes easy. I guess I’m wired strangely. Definitely keep me on the short list!

  9. Love it. Glad to meet writers who are humble enough to acknowledge that writing is a process not a product.

    • Sounds like you feel the same way?! Thank you for your kind comment – it truly is a process – one that can be learned, too. I’m not a natural born writer – but I do have confidence that I can become a competent one through hard work and constant education. Thanks again for your support!

  10. I know exactly what you mean. I started working on my first novel about 4 months ago and in that time I’ve learned more about writing than I ever did at any time before. There’s no teacher like experience!

    • You got that right Christopher! Congrats on getting under way on your novel, what is it about? What is your process? Looking forward to following along…thanks for your comment!

      • The novel is about a girl who thinks she’s dead when she meets some aliens. She asks if they can take her to Heaven, and they oblige. She later figures out she’s not dead and gets embroiled in a plot to destroy Earth which she inadvertently caused and now has to fix. It’s a work in progress and keeps changing as I go. The basic story has stayed the same, but I’m constantly reworking details.

        I’m really lucky to have a job which doesn’t require a lot of concentration, so I end up doing a lot of my writing at work. I have a basic outline which gets more specific as I go. I’m very much what they call a gardener when it comes to writing. I have an idea and let the story grow in whatever direction it chooses, with a little guidance along the way. I hope to have the novel finished by the end of summer. Then I get to learn about editing!

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