I’ve been working diligently on my book WOLVES DON’T KNOCK for several years, off and on, in several evolving versions (short story, novella, novel) and finally had the nerve to send it off to beta readers. (A select few have previously read the manuscript in various stages, but not as it is now, in its—hopefully—last and final revision.)
One beta reader, a stranger, got back to me yesterday: “Absolutely thrilling. I couldn’t put it down…I love the parallel mother/daughter relationship and once the grandmother gets involved, it truly turns into a generational problem….Jeremy is a good character. He sneaks in gradually—I like that….Grammar looks good. Dialog is good. Character development is good… You have wonderful symbolism and use it well throughout. And all the “wolf” connections and descriptions are soooo perfect this should be in a lit course to teach symbolism!” Criticism: She wanted more information about the abductor, and the itty-bitty “prologue” (which isn’t labelled as a prologue) threw her off at the start, but by the time she finished reading the manuscript, she got it.
This is a far cry from my other beta reader (we exchanged beta reads), an online writer acquaintance, who relayed a couple of weeks previously: “I didn’t know what to make of all the visions both women had of wolves. I thought maybe shape-shifter things….I have never read a book with (possibly) wolf man themes and didn’t know what to expect….I have to wonder why the wolf-man theme is even there. What are we supposed to think at the end? That…the babies…half wolves and are now out there somewhere searching for new victims…”
What!?!? I was mystified and stunned as to the latter critique. I politely told her so, too, and she understood my feelings (we’re still friends; no hard feelings). Yes, I “get” that readers have differences and not every reader will enjoy every story, but I hate werewolf and vampire stories and most certainly would never write about them, so when she gleaned that theme from my book I was more than stunned. (Though she didn’t get the gist of my book, she was still helpful and picked up numerous errors.)
I have three other beta readers in the works. I’m hoping they get back to me soon, so I will have a clearer picture of my book. Right now, I’m batting 50/50, right? And then, after perhaps a few adjustments, off it goes to an editor—unless I accept an offered publishing contract. Hmm…
If I self-publish and all goes well, publication date is May 2, 2018.