Finding Beta Readers and Letting It Go

It’s hard to really estimate the power of a good beta reader. I have three right now – one on Live Journal, one on Scribophile, and then one I met through a yahoo list for romance writers. One lets me know I’m not crazy and helps me check for continuity, one makes me take a closer look at my sentence structure, the other makes me take a better look at my story structure. All are fantastic, and I think all of my work so far is better thanks to them.

I have three novels and three novellas finished now. I have three other novellas in the works, with two of them getting close to being done. I would love to get a novella published every month or two after I get the first novel out there.

One of the problems, for me, is still terror. Okay, that’s the main problem. The terror that it will never be good enough – and when I do put it out there, no one will ever read it – and if they do happen to read it, no one aside from those few beta readers, who happen to think the same way I do, will ever like it.

A secondary problem is time. At the rate I am getting chapters on Scribophile, it will be the end of the year before I get the entire thing on there, and I really wanted to publish the first book in June or July, either at the solstice or on the date I have at the beginning of the book. That date – July 19th, 1982 – is the “date of conception” for Brandy (I counted back 40 weeks from her birth date, April 12th, 1983). It was also given as a marriage festival for Isis and Osiris on a calendar I saw years ago.

Looked it up again – yep, here it is:

Festival calendar of Ancient Egypt

Granted, Brandy’s family is the Greek pantheon, but it’s oddly fitting since Brandy does die and reincarnate so many times. I’m not sure John is a very good counterpart for Isis, though.

So. I would love to find a few more beta readers, readers who could go through the entire book in less time than it takes to get critique feedback on Scribophile and Critique Circle. How do YOU go about finding beta readers? And how do you know when it’s time to just “let it go” and publish?

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