Monday, December 31, 2012

On Accepting e-Books into Your Life

I admit it, I was so against e-books. I was of the "I will NEVER never ever buy or read an e-book camp. What betrayal to 'real' books!" But then...I did read an e-book. And shhhh...I LOVED it. Shhhh.

There's always that gateway e-book that drags you down into the e-book world, I suppose. And for me it was Jenny Han's The Summer I Turned Pretty, which I had been wanting to read for ages and happened to be on sale on Kindle one day. And with my shiny new iPad and Kindle app and no e-books, I thought, fine. I'll try it. But I won't like it.

But I was wrong. I was so, so wrong. Because the truth is, e-books are awesome. If you haven't given e-books a try, I encourage you to do so.

10 reasons you should read e-Books:

1. They're so convenient
If you're like me, you wish you could have a book with you at all times. Well you can. You can read your e-books on the go wherever you are. On your iPad or e-reader, on your laptop, even on your smartphone. So. Convenient.

2. They travel well
If you're going on a trip--packing 10 books in your suitcase vs. storing 100 on your iPad or other e-reader? No contest. Save the luggage space and pack more shoes. ;)

3. They're the wave of the future
Author Nathan Bransford has done an awesome poll the last few years asking people if they'll ever buy mostly e-books. And, not surprisingly, the number of people accepting e-books has been increasing every year. Embrace the change.

4. They're interactive
E-books have lots of cool features. There are usually web and twitter links to the author's pages at the end of the book, which enables you to easily learn more and interact with the author. You can also highlight a word and have instant in-app access to the definition. Pretty sweet.

5. They're searchable
Looking for a particular quote, character, or word? You can easily search and find a list of the pages with what you're looking for.

6. You can highlight and not feel guilty
I never highlight in print novels, but with e-books, I don't feel bad about it at all. I like flagging my favorite lines and funny things the characters say. And it's also really cool to see what other people have highlighted in the Kindle version of the book.

7. They're cheaper
Because you don't have those printing and distribution costs, e-books tend to be cheaper so you can buy and read even more of them on a budget! And there are always insane deals on Amazon where you can get e-books for $1.99. Everyone loves a great deal.

8. There are new cool features emerging
There are so many different possibilities with e-books, from making them truly interactive, where the reader chooses what decisions the character makes and the story comes out differently, to adding interactive media, to apps that allow authors to sign e-books. As e-books become even more mainstream, more features will continue to emerge.

9. They still support the author just like a "real" book
Buying an e-book still gives money to an author, just as buying the print version does. As long as you're not pirating the book, you're still supporting the author and letting them continue to write and bring you more books.

10. You can always buy the original print version too--at least for now!
If you really love the book that much and feel the need to have it sitting on your shelf, you still can! Hopefully e-books will just be a complement to traditional print books, because many people who love e-books still appreciate holding a real book in their hands too. Either way, I don't think traditional books are going away completely any time soon.

*11. Bonus 11th! Free public domain books!
You can read your heart out by downloading free classics in the public domain. :) Search Free Kindle public domain books: Here. Oh and there's always other random free books in the Kindle store too.

Happy e-reading!

Have you embraced e-books in your life? Do you love them or still hate them?

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Writer's Guide to Beta Readers: Part 1

A smiley face from Beta Reader Megan!
What are beta readers? Why do you need them? What should you ask them? My Guide to Beta Readers posts will cover all of these important topics for writers.

First of all, what is a beta reader? They can be a member of a writing group or critique partner, a friend, family member, acquaintance, basically anyone who will read an early version of your book and provide you with honest and critical feedback. The point of betas is not to just tell you how awesome you are--although the encouragement they can provide is also helpful for beginning writers. The point of betas is to help you make your book stronger. They can point out to you all the things you can't see about your book because you're too close to it. The best betas will give you honest feedback and comments on things you can improve and also hopefully some encouragement to keep you going!

I love this quote from author Angela Ackerman regarding betas/critique partners: "You want them to love it and say it’s great, but what you NEED is for them to point out the problems." Nothing could be more true about the beta process, which is why it is so important you have betas that are absolutely committed to being honest with you. Brutally honest (hopefully not in a brutal way though--no need to kill dreams!)

There are always a lot of "Do I need a beta reader?" questions out there. My take is definitely. Here's why I think they're the best and you should get some too:

Why they're the best

I happen to have some of the best beta readers ever and I am so thankful for all of their feedback. The great thing is they all bring a different perspective to my book, but each one is still so helpful and committed. I've got some writer friends, some reader friends, some other friends, some family, and also some critique partners and authors to give me feedback, which makes for a great mix of advice!

I must say though that my favorite (read: most hilarious) comments come from Megan, one of my best friends and my former college roomie--she basically knows me better than I know myself. Megan tells it how it is and is so blunt with the characters. For example, in one scene, character A is reflecting on how many times character B has saved her life. Megan, however, jumped in and said "Oh no, B. Questionable. I'll give you credit for one life saving, but not two. The other one totally doesn't count." Comments like these are really funny when they are addressed to the characters and they have Megan's enthusiasm for the book and the characters all over them. It also makes it much more fun to read through and revise because I get all her sidebars.

ALL of my beta readers have been incredibly helpful in pointing out all the things I thought I said (but didn't) and helping me make my book what I intended for it to be in the first place. Then there are also those great suggestions and new ideas that make it even better than it was before. I really couldn't do it without their help! So that's why I definitely recommend you get some beta readers of your own.

If you're ready to dive in, check out this post on the Pub(lishing) Crawl blog on Finding a Critique Parner!

Check back for part 2 of my beta readers series where I'll post a list of the questions I gave to my beta readers to help guide their critique.

Have you gotten feedback from a beta reader or been a beta reader before? What did you find helpful? Any other tips for writers and beta readers?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...