Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Guest post by author/publisher J.D Scott Are you plugged in?

I'm so excited to have J.D Scott on the blog today! She's an author, publisher and mentor to other women and children. 

Guest Blog Post
Are you plugged in?

As a publisher and author I meet a lot of writers, all in different places in their journey. One thing I have noticed is that those that have persevered are plugged in.
There are rogue writers. You know them, they are the literary loners of the writing world. Often their friends are completely unaware that they have one, or several manuscripts completed. Or maybe they briefly mentioned it in passing hoping someone would enthusiastically volunteer to read it, and were crushed when interest wasn’t peaked.  No one, other than maybe a family member, has ever read their work. They keep it guarded like a dragon does gold, but they are completely unaware of its value. They could be sitting on the next number one best seller, or they could be protecting a rough draft that needs lots and lots of work.
Suddenly, after years of writing in the shadows something stirs and there work goes off to an editor. Before you know it they have self-published and the first feedback they get comes in the form of reviews. If this sounds like a big gamble, it’s because it is. That nugget could start a gold rush, or an avalanche of criticism.
Why not plug in with other writers and readers? One huge hurdle is fear. Handing the book over and asking for opinions can be scary. I know, I have done it myself. The cold hard fact is this, if you are going to be an author you will get critiqued eventually. But that’s okay, because you need it and you should learn to want it.

Why do you need it? A writer sees the whole picture, the entire story with all the details in our heads. Often we get caught up in the rush of writing and don’t realize that we haven’t informed the reader of everything they need to know to follow the plot. These “holes” can be distracting and even detrimental to a story. As writers, we need fresh eyes to make sure we fill in the blanks with words not with images left in our mind’s eye.
Why should you want it? Plain and simple it, will make you a better writer. Learning your strengths and weaknesses are crucial to growing. If you can’t handle constructive criticism, I suggest you get over it quick. You aren’t perfect, no one is, so stop pretending you are and face the truth…you have flaws in your writing. Welcome to the human race!
Where should you plug in? A writers group is the obvious answer. If you can’t find a critique group in your area where you can bring your work to share, read aloud and receive feedback, then start looking online. There are websites, blogs, and lots of interactive places you can post your work and hear what the readers have to say. You can print out your manuscript and pass it around to some beta readers. Hopefully you have at least a few friends that love to read. Ask different people in different age groups so you can get a variety of reactions.
Essentially, take a leap of faith and share the gift you have with others. My recommendation is to share it before it goes to print so it can be the very best work you can do, until the next book. Which with a little help from some friends can be better than the first, and so on.

J.D. Scott Bio

J.D. Scott is the organizing member of Abba’s Writers in Phoenix, Arizona. She leads, instructs, and teaches critiquing and story development to its members.
In 2013, J.D. Scott became part of the team at A Book’s Mind as a Publishing Consultant. She enjoys working alongside writers, helping them fulfill their dreams of becoming published authors.
Before being bit by the writing bug, J.D. Scott spent 20 years working with children as a nanny, mentor, camp counselor, and youth group leader. With a heart for today’s youth, she set out to write books that both entertain and inspire them to rise above the current culture and see their true value.
She continues to live out her life’s passions of writing, publishing, and counseling/mentoring women and children.

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