Sharing our Work: An Open Letter to our Test Readers

First of all, thank you. Truly, thank you for the time (lots of it) you have devoted to sharing our passion.

Without your eyes and your own love of reading, not to mention your courage to tell us what you really think, our manuscripts wouldn’t be possible. As the authors, we know the ins and outs of our plots. We understand the tiny things that make our characters tick. We don’t need the intricacies explained, because we already know them. But as a reader, you don’t. That gives you the uncanny ability to pick up on plot holes we are incapable of seeing.

Also, it’s really hard for us to sit back and read our work like we would a novel we love (don’t get me wrong- we love it, but it’s different). We read with a critic’s eye, evaluating every word choice for the strongest verb and every sentence for the right composition. We can’t sit back to just read the flow. But you can. And you can find areas where we got it wrong.

We understand the difference, and how important your criticism is. It’s what lets us shape our clay into something the world can understand.

We also know how much of a pain we are. “No no, I just sent an updated version…” How many times has this email landed in your inbox? We get it. We can see your good-natured eye rolls every time. But don’t worry, you’ll keep getting those emails. Cuz we love you.

Its easy to dismiss the sharing process as ego. As us fishing for compliments on something we’ve worked really hard on. While compliments are lovely, it’s really not about that. It’s an expression of trust.

We’ve poured our lives into our work, stealing every scrap moment we can find to scribble out the next ten words. Waiting for the train? Yes! I can write another paragraph. Errands complete and I’m falling asleep at the computer? Awesome! Let’s do this. Our work has been an encompassing part of our thoughts for the better part of six months (or much longer). That level of devotion starts seeping into us, our personalities changing a little to match our obsession. It gets into our souls.

When we ask you to read our work, please don’t see it as fishing for compliments. See it as us bearing those souls to a person we trust. We’re trusting our creation to your hands. Trusting that you’ll read it and not shy away from telling us what we can do better, as much or more than telling us what we’ve done right. And don’t forgot those moments when you need to tell us we got it all wrong. It happens, and we need to know.

Stories are meant to be told. To us, our stories are our babies. We nurture them, walking them through their learning curves and loving them even through their temper tantrums – and don’t think a novel in progress doesn’t throw temper tantrums. It does. But to you, our stories live up to their full potential. They open new worlds. The act of sharing our work allows those worlds to come to life.

So thank you, for your time and your patience, and even for your good-natured eye rolls.

We couldn’t have done it without you.

Thank you.

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