Our Masterpieces...Err, Our Novels

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ode to an Alpha Reader

Workout Song of the Day: "Winner" by Jamie Foxx ftg Justin Timberlake & T.I.

Okay, so we all heard of beta readers. You know, those beautiful creations that help whip your manuscripts into submission-ready pieces of artwork. But what about those less heralded creations? Yes, my friends, I'm talking about the "Alpha" reader. The one who sees your work before you ship it off to get attacked by a red pen.

But what exactly is an alpha reader? Well, Webster dictionary says...okay, I don't think any dictionary is really savvy on the perks of having an alpha reader. So, my lovely followers, I will supply you with my own definition while paying homage to my favorite (and only alpha reader), my cuz, Marquita.

So, why is Quita such an awesome alpha?

1. She laughs...on the areas that are supposed to be funny.

2. She cries...on the areas that are supposed to be sad.

3. Sometimes she does a combination of 1 and 2, and I start thinking that I'm the coolest writer since John Green.

4. She always sees the good in my manuscripts, even when I don't.

5. If she sees anything wrong, she blankets it by first telling me why it could work (I'll let my beta readers tear me a new one for any mistakes).

6. She's an aspiring author, too, so she's going on this scary ride with me towards publication.

7. She lets me bounce new ideas off of her, and I never worry that she may steal them!

8. She doesn't let me give up. Ever. No matter how many rejections I collect. No matter how many negative comments I receive during workshops. No matter how many times I want to bang my head against the desk to get ideas out. She believes in me, and you just can't find that kind of support in forums and/or message boards. Okay, maybe you can. But it takes a while to get to that level of trust.

Okay, I think I've been schmaltzy enough. To balance the score, may I please add that she's the same color of a Simpsons character and she has an unhealthy obsession with Casey James from American Idol? There, I feel much better.

What about you all? Do you have an alpha reader? Why are they so awesome? Please comment below or post your own blog--just leave the link below. :)

7 comments:

Marquita Hockaday said...

Awwww! That was so sweet. Can I cry now?? And u r the BEST alpha reader too. I don't know what I would do without u- u keep me hanging on & you tell it like it is! Thanks for loving on me!!! Btw- I have a tan now thank u very much! And Casey James survives another week on AI ha haters! And how is the stalking of Leo DiCaprio going for ya?

Melanie said...

It is so awesome that you have a cousin that you are not only close to, but that she has the same passion for writing that you do.

My boyfriend read my book (props to a MAN that can sit through an entire chick lit novel!) and probably gave me the most useful feedback. He told me the issues he had with it, but also told me how much he actually enjoyed it.

I wish I had someone like you do. I truly think your relationship with your cousin is the shiznit!

Abby Stevens said...

My husband is my alpha. He works a lot so he doesn't have as much time to read as I wish, but he's always very honest (in a gentle, encouraging way) when reading my work. What is this Leo stalking? I want to know! I love Leo. :)

Kate Hart said...

My best friend is my alpha, and my husband is my alpha and a half. :)

KLM said...

9. And she is gonna be the first person you thank in the acknowledgements when your book gets published. Well, maybe third or fourth -- after your mom and your agent and your first grade teacher who taught you to read. :)

Pam Harris said...

I'm so glad that all of you have a great alpha reader, as well. :)

Abby, you are my new best friend because you appreciate the beauty that is Leo. :)

And KLM, Quita will probably be 5th on my thank you list because of course Leo would be #4. :)

Jamie said...

Congrats on finding your perfect "alpha mate" (i was going for a 'soul mate' play on words but failed miserably!)

And thanks for following me, Pam! I'm honored! And don't worry...I won't be mean even though you outbid me!

Go CASEY JAMES! Yum!