It’s been a fun week so far for one simple reason: presents. I don’t often get them and this week they’ve come from the most unlikeliest of places. First, I got a nice little gift from an author as a thank you for being a first reader to her upcoming novel. I can’t give too many specifics on who it is because I’m sworn to secrecy, but I’ve enjoyed this author’s books for quite a while and it was nice to have her ask my opinion.
The book is about something we both share a common interest in, so she asked if I would read her manuscript. For those of you who aren’t sure what a “first reader” is, it’s someone who will give it to you straight about your book. It isn’t a proofreader or an editor, rather, it’s someone you’re looking for an honest opinion from about the overall book itself. Did the concepts seem right? Did they enjoy reading it? Did it confuse them? Etc.
While many authors have first readers that are close friends and family, it also helps to have someone not in your inner circle read your work and give you some feedback. To put it bluntly, first readers should be really objective and give it to you straight. My very first reader is always my husband, who has been schooled in the English whatits and whoseits and also, as a rule, tends to read things that are completely opposite of the ones I write. That’s one reason I enjoy his opinion. Also, because he doesn’t sugarcoat. I couldn’t stand it if he absolutely adored every single thing I did. That would ring very false to me. In fact, the things I write (mainstream drama with a helping of humor) would not normally be something he would go for. That’s why it means a lot when he reads my stuff and gives me his two cents.
If your first readers are just telling you how wonderful you are, you need a couple more. (But keep the ones that tell you how wonderful you are, because you will need them when you cry over the ones who tell you how not wonderful you are.)
Anywho, she sent me a sweet little gift for reading her work. I was touched. I’ve received books from authors in the past but I think the only other time I got an actual thank you gift before this was from Michelle Moran who sent me some ancient coins for interviewing her about her wonderful book, Cleopatra’s Daughter.
The second gifty I got this week was from one of my clients! Well blow me down. I couldn’t believe it. I love being a freelance writer, but it is a rare thing when a client sends you something just for doing a great job. It isn’t like a “real” job where you go to work and then once in a while you get rewarded with a little something extra just for doing the job they hired you for. No, freelancing is an entirely different game. So this was a lovely surprise.
All of this makes me wonder, of course, if this trend will continue. Will DH bring me flowers just for making dinner? Will another client send me a gift just for being in their life? Oh the possibilities!