In a press release, Amazon called Martin Crosbie one of their success stories of 2012. His self-publishing journey has been chronicled in Publisher’s Weekly, Forbes Online, and Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper. Martin’s debut novel, “My Temporary Life”, has been downloaded over one hundred and fifty thousand times and became an Amazon top ten overall bestseller.
He’s also the author of “My Name Is Hardly – Book Two of the My Temporary Life Trilogy”, “Lies I Never Told – A Collection of Short Stories”, “How I Sold 30,000 eBooks on Amazon’s Kindle – An Easy-To-Follow Self-Publishing Guidebook, 2014 Edition”, and “Believing Again: A Tale Of Two Christmases”.
Martin was born in the Highlands of Scotland and currently makes his home just outside Vancouver, on the west coast of Canada.
You can connect with Martin on his Facebook page facebook.com/martin.crosbie.3 Or follow him on Twitter @martinthewriter Or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephanie: I would like to welcome, Martin to Layered Pages today. He is here to take part in my Beta Reader Series and he is quite the expert in this topic.
Martin, do you use beta readers?
Martin: Absolutely! Yes, I wouldn’t proceed to the next phase without getting input from beta readers.
Stephanie: I know of a few authors who use beta readers for different phases of their manuscript. How many do you use and in what phase of your WIP do you require them?
Martin: I have a trusted reader who actually reads my work as the first few drafts progress. I also have some who I would never send a first draft to. And, I always use new beta readers for each book. It’s important to have betas who don’t know me or my work. The amount varies. I published a Christmas romance last December and I had over thirty for that project. And then some I’ve used as few as ten or twelve.
Stephanie: What is it that you look for in a beta reader? And what is the importance of them?
Martin: I always say that a beta reader will give you what they’ve got. I get different feedback from different betas, and it’s all invaluable. Some will comment on continuity, others will edit, others will talk about plot or character development, and others will just tell me how the book made them feel. I find it difficult to ask for specific feedback so I just keep sending it out until I feel I have every aspect covered.
The importance of betas is – I would not release a book until it’s been through the beta-reading process. It’s that important.
Stephanie: How do you choose your beta readers?
Martin: I’m very fortunate in that most of them have approached me and volunteered. I have some who have stuck with me through all my books and others who I source out through LinkedIn or Facebook beta reader groups.
Stephanie: What has been your experiences with them?
Martin: I’ve had beta-readers who have become very good friends and I’ve had others who prefer to just be a reader. It varies. I have an incredible amount of respect for anyone who gives up their time to help me become a better writer. Beta readers truly are special people.
Stephanie: How often do you take their advice and what is the impact they have had on your writing?
Martin: I often take their advice. Often, but not always. My writing teacher told me once that I should listen to everything he says, study the information carefully, then either take his advice or throw it out the window. He says that no one knows your story better than you do. So, there are times when I don’t take their advice. But, if several betas are telling me the same thing then the changes have to be made.
Beta readers have helped me turn my drafts into completed books. And, they continue to help me become a better writer.
Stephanie: Do you use them for every book you write?
Martin: I will even have a beta reader check the answers that I’m writing to these questions.
No, I won’t. I’m just kidding. But, yes, I would not release a book without having it beta-read. My process is to send my manuscript to my beta readers, then make the changes, then editing, then sometimes another beta read and sometimes one more round with the editor also. The effort is worth it – our readers are worth it.