Alpha Readers – the nail-biting phase

So GRENDEL is with my alpha reader, which is a nerve-wracking time. I love the book, but now I’m letting other people get a peek at it. And opening that door is always scary. Until feedback starts rolling in, I’m in a safe zone where the only judge of my novel is myself. Once it goes out into the world, I have to deal with people who didn’t spend the last six months of their life immersed in the characters and their troubles.

I don’t think any writer gets away stress-free at this phase. Somewhere inside us we’re wired to ask, what if my readers hate it? What if it’s filled with cliches or plot-holes, or characters so boring people choose to go to the dentist instead of read? These fears are in our nature because writing is so personal. Even though we’re not writing ourselves and our own lives in fiction, our blood is on the page. And no, I’m not worried about grammer or an awkward sentence here or there because those things are easily fixed. They can be primped and prettied to come up to snuff. What I’m worried about is that the story sucks. Hearing that is like a death blow, when my own feelings for it are completely at odds. So until I hear it’s not the case, that fear is a boogey-man laughing in my head.

So it’s time to distract myself. Work on my next book, weed the garden, catch up on some TV. My alpha is a picky reader but he’s not an ogre. If it can live up to his standards, I can put that boogey-man to bed.