After i submitted my book, Genetic Attraction, to a publisher the first time, they came back with suggested changes and said i should find some readers to help me. I thought “Really, do i need that?” And the answer is an emphatic YES!
Since then, i have gone to a dear friend who also happens to be a best-selling romance author with dozens of books to her credit. Years ago, i used to read her books and now, bless her, she is returning the favor. What a difference a reader makes. Just a few words from Suzanne can change my whole viewpoint.
My most recent book, The Scientist and the Supermodel, that i’m submitting to my publisher next, has had the same opening scene since i started it. I’ve rewritten whole chapters, but that scene stayed the same. I saw nothing wrong with it. I even had a judge in a fiction contest rave over my first couple chapters and say nothing about the first scene being a problem. Then Suzanne said, “I don’t like the hero in this scene or the other character either. It makes me not want to read the book.” Suddenly, i saw the whole thing differently. Of course, i wouldn’t like a guy that acted that way either. I knew this character already (Jake from Genetic Attraction). I knew all his good points, so it never occurred to me he was acting like a jerk in this scene. But he was and Suzanne saw it. Of course, that scene has now been rewritten and i like it so much better.
I also have other readers who are not professional writers, but have the “readers” perspective. They are also invaluable. My reader, Cindy, questioned a scene that Suzanne also questioned. One in which two brothers talk about their sexual experiences. Both readers said “wouldn’t the hero be more reluctant to open up to his younger brother?” Boy, did i change that scene fast.
So before you submit that manuscript, find some readers. Get a mix of viewpoints and strongpoints. Make one a professional writer, if you can. You’ll be amazed how it will expand your mind.
BTW, the photo above is the inspiration photo for one of my heroes. Isn’t he gorgeous! : )