As many of you know, I have wonderful beta readers. Fabulous beta readers. I love them all to death. And when I gave them Searcher, they offered amazing, insightful advice, as well as MUCH appreciated praise. Seriously, their enthusiasm has been the one thing that kept me going in my darkest moments, as lame as that might sound.
Today, however, I'm thinking of the one beta reader that didn't offer encouragement. We crossed paths on Absolute Write, because she said she was looking for a non sugar coated review. Sounded good to me, so we agreed to swap manuscripts. And let me tell you, her review of mine was FAR from sugar coated.
I remember reading her email and getting a knot in my stomach. Let's just say she didn't mince words. I feel like I went through the five stages of grief in dealing with her evaluation of my work. First Denial: This is bull, she didn't even read it. (She had gotten back to me in only one day.) Then Anger: Who does she think she is? (After all, I'd read her book, and it was far from perfect.) Barganing and then Depression. In fact, I think my depression over her bad review was one of the big factors in my dilemma of a few weeks ago, where I was ready to shelve Searcher forever.
Now, I think I've finally reached Acceptance. Truth is, in many ways, she was right. Some of the points that hurt the most, probably did because I knew deep down that it was true. It's funny because as irritated as I was (still am?) with this girl for being harsh, I find myself very grateful to her.
Don't get me wrong, there are many things about her review that I've ignored. Could she have said things in a more constructive, kind way? Definitely. Could she have integrated things she liked in with her numerous criticisms? Uh, hello, yes. However, I can't deny how helpful she has been to me. Some of the things she said acted as the catalyst in my mind, which lead to changes in my story that I am so excited about now. I know my story will be better because of her.
So Harsh Girl, wherever you are, I just wanted to say thanks.