12 Secret Meanings of Beta Reader Lingo

dictionary-wideIt is said we find the truth we seek. That makes it very easy to look at feedback and see it as glowingly positive when the reader may actually be trying to tell us something else. Here are a few common phrases used by readers and what they might really mean:

1. The story was absorbing.
I used your book to clean up something I spilled.
2. It moved along very quickly.
I skipped over quite a bit of this drivel.
3. The writing was accessible.
The author’s vocabulary is very limited.
4. The plot dynamics were intricate.
It may be time to up the author’s medication.
5. The characters were instantly relatable.
We all know boring people.
6. The style was captivating.
You know, like a train wreck you can’t help but stare at.
7. The dialogue was gritty and real.
This author knows a lot of bad words.
8. It’s easy for the reader to become immersed.
Swallowed up by a whirlpool of convoluted sentences.
9. I wondered how everything would be wrapped up.
It should be wrapped up, set on fire, and stomped out with golf cleats.
10. The ending was very satisfying.
So relieved this is over.
11. It left me wanting more.
More plot, better dialogue, better characters…
12. I am looking forward to the author’s next book.
It has GOT to be better than this one.

When authors throw a wobbly…

jelly2If you had told me four years ago that I would be reviewing books on a regular basis, I might have looked at you as if you had suddenly sprouted a rainbow-coloured big toe on your head. Me? A book reviewer? You’re havin’ a larf!

But, reviewing is what I started to do. It marked the beginning of my ‘deep and meaningful’ (relationship) with my new Kindle three years ago. Well, my first Kindle. I’ve divorced six and am on my seventh now. (Don’t ask.) Zsa Zsa Gabor has got competition, let me tell you. Continue reading

Book Vetter

Book VetterThe best thing about self-publishing is that anyone can do it.
The worst thing about self-publishing is that anyone can do it
– Anonymous

I’ve yet to see anyone describe the perceived issue better than this anonymous commenter on my blog. The rise of a viable means of self-publishing has given anyone who wants to bypass the traditional gatekeepers and put their work out there a way to do so. Books that deserved to make it past the gatekeepers, but might not have in the past for reasons of marketability or just bad luck, are now getting a shot at finding their audience. But many also perceive a downside. In the past a reader could pick up a random book at their local bookseller or bring up a book’s page at their favorite online retailer, read the blurb, possibly check out the first few paragraphs, and if the story appealed to them they could purchase it with the assurance that all aspects of the book would almost always meet some minimum quality standard. Continue reading

Real Writers Have Thick Skins

Walk it offYou don’t have to spend a lot of time on social media to see plenty of examples of jackassery. This is not especially true of authors, but authors are people, so it is just as true of authors. Seldom does a day go by that we are not exposed to some kind of little drama – petulance, whining, back-biting, or fervent appeals to action over some imagined injustice. What a buzzkill.

When ignorance (don’t know) combines with apathy (don’t care) and arrogance (I’m special), you really have the makings of mega-drama. One of two things is usually at the center when this vitriolic mixture bubbles up to the surface. Either some author did not like a review they just got, or somebody’s book or guest post got turned down. Continue reading