Kayla Howarth

Author of The Institute Series

The Insta-love Rebellion.

Love at first sight. Instant connection. Sudden obsession.

When these things happen in a novel, people are quick to shout, “Insta-love!” “Unrealistic!” “Annoying-as-f***”

But when they happen in movies? ROMANTIC AS HELL! (Think of all of your Disney classics. Nearly all of them involve an insta-love story.)

So why the stigma when it comes to books? And why has it suddenly become this big taboo thing that people get to complain about if there’s even a hint of attraction between two characters?

Someone recently suggested to me that in novels, we have time to learn about the characters separately before they come together. Their relationship can bloom and grow at a slow pace because there’s 350 pages or so to fill. Whereas, in a movie, they only have an hour and a half to two hours of screen time, and so the attraction needs to be instant.

This analysis seems fair. But why can’t people find other people immediately attractive in books without having people whine about it?

Hell, I see a good-looking guy walking down the street and I get flustered! (Sorry, hubby. Love you, though.) There’s a really extremely good-looking veterinarian that I used to drop medical supplies off to at my old job. I think I’ve spoken a massive few sentences to him, and yet, whenever I drive past that vet, I think of the hunky, blonde, tattooed, animal loving guy who I want to have babies with. (Again, sorry hubby.) Sometimes when people meet, the attraction IS instant (even if it’s only one-sided, like in the case of me and the vet). I guess I should mention, that when I first met my husband, my initial thought was, “I’ll probably make out with him one day.” So maybe it wasn’t inta-love between us, and maybe I didn’t instantly jump to wanting to have his babies like I did with the vet *sigh* HE’S A REALLY PRETTY VET, but I certainly knew I wanted to kiss my husband upon meeting him!

Apparently there’s a fine line between insta-love and insta-attraction. Here’s where I think the line should be drawn:

Insta-like: The MC’s mouth goes dry, their heart starts pounding a bit harder, they have trouble forming coherent sentences.
(A lot of people associate this with insta-love, like this is not a normal reaction to have in real life. Once, when meeting a really good-looking guy – granted he was famous, so I was already nervous – he shook my hand, introduced himself, and I forgot my name. I am NOT kidding you. I actually FORGOT MY NAME. Was I in love with the guy? No! I didn’t even watch the TV show he was on, so I wasn’t even a fan, either. He was just really good looking. And I totally just tried to find a good pic of him on google images to show you all, but then I realised I must of had beer goggles on when I met him. He’s certainly no vet.)

Insta-love: You know it’s insta-love when the two characters touch and it sends a jolt of electricity through them. Okay, like, really? The only time this has ever happened to me in real life is when I’ve been at the shops and the static electricity gets me. It certainly doesn’t shoot warm and fuzzies to my lady parts, and certainly doesn’t make me think the person zapping me is my soulmate. Especially considering I mostly go shopping with my mum and sisters… please – we aren’t from Tasmania (The Kentucky of Australia).

Insta-like: Two characters want to see each other a lot after first meeting, and want to spend most of their time together.
(Isn’t this just how people are in the beginning of a relationship? Or am I just a clingy crazy girl? :


Insta-love: The two main characters throw their life goals/ambitions/jobs out the window, just so they can spend time with the person they’re dating. *sigh* THIS is extreme. But, if handled correctly (i.e. if the main character was having a crisis/struggle in making a decision in where they want their life to lead, and new character helps them make better life choices – even if it may not seem like the right choice at the time – I think this is okay, IMHO)

I dunno, I guess I’m getting really tired of people complaining about Insta-love in books. I agree, it can be overdone and done to the extreme, but it seems to be that these days, a character even MENTIONS that they find another character attractive, and BAM, reviewer writes that it’s an insta-love story. Hell, I read a review of a book where two characters hate each other in the beginning, and yet the reviewer said ‘I could see the insta-love happening between them coming a mile away’……….. THEY COULDN’T STAND EACH OTHER FOR THE FIRST FEW DAYS OF KNOWING ONE ANOTHER. How is that Insta-love? what?

I’m going to admit it, loud and proud: I LIKE INSTA-LIKE, but with today’s reviewers definitions, it seems I have to admit that I LIKE INSTA-LOVE. So sue me.*

*Please don’t actually sue me, I have no money.


From Bookworm to Social Butterfly

This is so awesome. Even though I read heaps, I must have to read more literary fiction, because I’m still socially awkward in real life situations. Unless I’m drunk. Then I’m a hoot! (At least, I think so, anyway. Others might not agree.)

YA Author Rendezvous

wwywtryWritten by
Julie Tuovi

The eReader was a great invention for YA fiction-addicted adults everywhere—for those who dared read that awful Twilight gender swap book without getting flack from coworkers! In PRE eReader days, there was no hiding your reading preferences from the lunchroom crowd: your cover was right there for the world to see!

(YOU know what I’m talking about, you book addict, you. I know I’m not the only one who got odd looks for reading Harry Potter during my law school downtime, instead of catching up on Wills and Trusts…)

But the eReader era brought a breath of relief, didn’t it? Thousands of books at your fingertips, and no one is any the wiser as to whether you’re reading Hunger Games or an age-appropriate, snooze-worthy biography on the subway. Because hey, all eReaders look essentially the same from the back, don’t they?

But good news! Socially outcast…

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What YA Readers Really Want In Their Strong Female Leads

I can’t stress enough how much the YA world needs more strong females.

YA Author Rendezvous

Blog image10.255Written By
Melissa A. Craven 
Author of the Emerge Series

What kind of main characters do YA readers really want to see in the books they read? What makes a “strong young woman” strong?

There’s all sorts of talk about this subject, especially with the recent addition to the Twilight series, Life and Death, Twilight Reimagined, involving a reversal in gender roles. Meyer wanted to show the world that Bella’s portrayal of the “damsel in distress” was situational, and had she been a boy surrounded by supes, he would have been in distress as well. While that is a very plausible argument, creating a strong-willed female lead is a careful balancing act that is not easily accomplished.  

In my own series, Emerge, my main motivation for writing the book was to create a true, realistic example of that young woman of strength. (And I like to…

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Wrong, by Jana Aston – Book Review. 18+

Okay, I know I usually don’t post book reviews on my blog, and I guess being a YA author, reviewing a Romance/Erotica novel is a tad weird, but I have a point to it. I promise.

I’m sure all authors experience trolls at some point in their career. I have the habit of writing reviews and then reading other reviews of that book to see if others felt the same way I did, and compare what others take from the book. I read both the good and the bad.

I can appreciate that everyone has a different taste, and everyone is allowed to have their own opinion, but some of the low rated reviews on this book left me speechless.

Here is my review of Wrong: (contains some minor spoilers)

Okay, I don’t really know where to start and I anticipate I may ramble, because this book was so damn hilarious, and wrong, and sweet, all at the same time.

Appropriately entitled ‘Wrong’, the first quarter of the book had me covering my face with embarrassment.

Quick synopsis: Sophie works at Grind Me coffee shop (yes, one of the reasons I was cringing was the coffee shop name – it’s a bit too on the nose – but it makes for great comedic relief later in the story.) and every Tuesday, hottie mchot stuff (my words, not the book’s) comes in and orders a coffee from her.

Sophie is a 21 year old virgin who decides to take the next step with her boyfriend who she’s in like with. Not love. He’s okay. So she does the responsible thing by going to the student clinic at her college for a pill prescription.

Here she finds out that hottie mchot stuff is a doctor. HER doctor. This leads to the most AWKWARD and WRONG scene I think I have ever read (and I have read some pretty horrible things!). Like a train wreck, I couldn’t look away. It was entertaining, yet so so so so so very wrong at the same time. (Let’s just say, my next doctor exam will be horrific with flashbacks of this scene).

Luke (hottie mchot stuff) and Sophie, despite the age gap, are perfect for each other.

The best friend, Everly, is entertaining and I’m anticipating a follow up with her love story with her college professor in book 2. PLEASE?

There were some issues that never ended up being closed fully, ie. his family’s hatred for Sophie, or his ex-fiancee who always hung around trying to get her claws back into Luke (it kind of annoys me how Sophie never once tells Luke what crazy bitch is up to, or what she has said to her, and lets Luke assume Sophie’s just being immature and jealous.) but these issues were fleshed out enough for the reader to come to their own conclusion.

A very funny and entertaining read.

I rated this book five stars because it was so entertaining, I didn’t want to put it down. As it states in my review, did I love every aspect of it? No. But that didn’t take away from the fact that it kept me occupied and entertained for a few hours.

Being a mum of a toddler, and working two jobs, I don’t have a lot of time to read, so a book really has to be good for me to finish in less than twenty-four hours.

So, what was my point of this again? Right. Trolls.

This is clearly a romance, and contains erotica. The author/publisher was not secretive about this. So when I read a one star review that says, “The butt stuff made me uncomfortable”, I have to laugh and shake my head at the same time.  I’m not into butt stuff either, (sorry, is that an overshare?) so you know what I did? SKIMMED those sections (and laughed my ass off at some of the things I DID read in it. #immature) I dunno, taking stars off for that reason just kind of made me think she was complaining that “this erotica has too much sex.”

That would be like someone reviewing my work and saying “I’m too old for this. It’s all about teenagers.” Well, you know what, honey? You’re reading a YA book, what do you expect? (Side note: I have had a review actually say this. LOL)

Another one star review, and this is probably my favourite one of Wrong, stated that the book was titled correctly because all of it was so WRONG. Uh…… didn’t I state the same thing in my 5 star review?

What were these women expecting when they picked up a book entitled Wrong? I mean, really? I don’t think the title could be any more clearer about what’s in store. Yet they still buy it and then complain about all the wrong stuff that’s in there? It’s laughable, but a bit sad at the same time.

For a debut novel, it’s impressive. It might even be one of my favourite romance books I’ve read this year, which is why I felt the need to defend it.

People are entitled to opinions, and they are allowed to not like books. And I understand that readers are different to authors – we all know what it’s like to put blood, sweat and tears … many many many many tears into a book. Years of our hard work is put into turning out books and these people come in and tear it down in one foul swoop. But as an author, I wish to tell readers to really think about what they’re saying when they tear a book apart.

So it’s not your thing? Hey, fair enough. The writing was full of errors and clearly hadn’t been edited? (That’s so not the case with Wrong BTW) That’s a valid argument. Saying that the erotica you were reading had sex in it? WHAT? NO! Are you crazy?

End rant. And, you should by this book!

Death of the Man-whore.

Okay, I think every girl has had that fantasy. You know the one. Handsome player with a huge reputation for being a ladies’ man sees you – Plain Jane – across a crowded room. He immediately dismisses the hot, skinny bimbo he’s talking to and heads in your direction.

Your breath hitches, your palms become sweaty, and your eyes dart around the room making sure this is actually happening, AND that everyone is watching it happen.

He reaches your side, a smirk playing on his lips. “You are, without a doubt, the hottest girl in this room, and I want to take you home. Right now.”

No, no, no, no, no. This can’t actually be happening. I’m totes dreaming, right? He’s noticed me? Why me? I’m nobody. He could have anyone he wants, and he’s chosen me. 

“Okay,” you stammer, reaching for his outstretched hand.

You know he’s a man-whore, that he’s slept with three quarters of the female population, but you don’t care – it’s your turn.

He leads you to his car, opening the door like a gentleman. You slide into the leather seats of his brand new, very expensive (insert dream car here – Beemer, Merc, hey maybe even a Porche).

He takes you back to his mansion/penthouse/wherever and makes sweet sweet love to you all night long. Okay, he f**ks you all night long. Players don’t make love. But that’s okay, because it’s not the reason you went home with him in the first place.

Waking up the next morning to his beautiful face, you blush, realising you just had sex with (insert rich boy name that’s still cool here – Donovan, Carter, Royce). He rolls over to face you, cradling your head in his hand, bringing your lips to his in a slow kiss.

“You’re perfect,” he whispers, not caring about your morning breath.

“You’re insane,” you giggle. Why in the world would he think I’M perfect?

“I mean it. We should do this again sometime. Every day, actually. Today, tomorrow, the next day, the next day after that.”

“Why?” you croak.

“Because you’re the woman of my dreams. All those other girls don’t mean anything. I’m done with my man-whore ways. You’re it for me.”

…… End fantasy …….

Okay, I get the appeal, I really do. It’s probably why these story lines have been done to death in the YA/NA/Romance genre and are so popular.

But can we please step back and take a look at the reality of this situation for just a moment?

  1. Girl is interested in boy, even though it’s well known he has had countless sexual partners. You know that saying, “When you have sex with someone, you’re not just having sex with them, but with every person they’ve ever had sex with?” Is it just me who would look at a man like that and see nothing but an STD risk?
  2. A guy like that would never chase. EVER. I’ve read many books lately where the hot guy makes a move/snarky comment/sexual innuendo toward the female heroine of the story, only to have the female reply in a negative way – ie. snarky non-flirty comment, a slap, a drink thrown in his face. Suddenly, the guy is up for the challenge because NO ONE ever rejects him. There must be something special about this girl, because hey, she has self respect. Something said boy has to tear down immediately, just to prove he can get into her knickers. And guess what – 100% of the time, HE WINS.While I appreciate the girls not throwing themselves at the guy at first, my respect for them teeters when the guy flashes his winning smile or takes them on a first date and suddenly she’s wearing no underwear. OOPS.
  3. These guys seem to always have girls fawning all over them. Like they walk into a room and suddenly girls are throwing their panties at them. WHERE DOES THIS HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE BECAUSE I WANT TO SEE THAT! (Purely for the entertainment of girls acting like morons, of course.) So I can understand them wanting the thrill of the chase when a girl rejects him. But realistically? He’d probably not even bother when there’s another hot girl right beside him, just waiting for her chance to pounce.
  4. Which brings me to point number four, and something that will probably piss a lot of people off. A hot guy like that will NEVER find insta-love with the Plain Jane. THE END. These girls must have such terrible self-esteem that they think they’re ugly when they’re really not. (Most cases this seems to be true because with all their inner whining monologue, everyone else always seems to tell them how pretty they are, and nearly all the boys want to have sex with her. Which brings me to a whole other point I won’t get into which is- while I think hot people can have insecurities, I don’t know of many hot people who will think themselves completely ugly like these girls do in these books.)Okay, so did I just say a hot guy could never fall for a not-so-hot girl? NO! I said they would never experience that Insta-spark, that instant lust where they want to get down and have sex with them immediately. And yet, all of these books portray this as reality.

And okay, here’s where the fantasy part comes into it. I realise these books are just that – a fantasy. (I really think some romance books should be in the Fantasy section because they’re so unbelievable.) But when aimed at YA/NA what are we really teaching them?
Yes, we may be teaching them that the hot guy COULD fall for someone who’s not as good looking as others, and that everyone is beautiful to someone – no matter what they look like on the outside. Yes, we may be teaching them that man-whores can change their ways (everyone can change, right?). And yes, we may be teaching them that playing hard to get will work if the right boy comes along. But aren’t we also saying that a boy isn’t worth having unless he is rich and handsome? Don’t worry about their sordid sexual history – he has money and is good looking. And that damn arrogant smirk! (Can’t forget the smirk!)

Why can’t I read about the Plain Jane woman falling in love with the Plain Jane (Joe?)? A man who has to work for a living? Even the decent looking poor woman, and the decent looking poor man who’s only had a handful of sexual partners?
I want to read about the imperfectly perfect man who makes her heart beat faster, and the butterflies swarm in her stomach. Why do they always have to be rich, and why do they always have to be the best looking guy in the world? Why do they ALWAYS have to have a man-whore status?

My fantasy couple may struggle through life, but they have each other… and that’s a lot for love. (We’ll give it a shot! WOOOOAH WE’RE HALF WAY THERE!…. okay, enough Bon Jovi)

I don’t want to read any more about taming a man-whore. PLEASE.

Introducing: The YAAR Blog!

YA Author Rendezvous

YAAR logo 2

Greetings, fellow bookaholics!

Allow me to introduce ourselves. We are the Young Adult Author Rendezvous, a stalwart group of authors, writers and fanatics from all over the globe. Though most of us write in the Young Adult genre, quite a few of us write for younger audiences as well, from Middle Grade all the way down to picture books for preschoolers.

We have banded together as a group because we all have stories to tell, and, if I may be so bold, we are darn good at it. Our library of books is extensive, and we hold that you will browse our selection of books that are guaranteed to entertain readers of any age.

But more than that: we want to give you all the benefit of our experiences and our vast array of knowledge. Though we come from all walks of life, we are united by our love of…

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Third Book Syndrome

I’m noticing this common trend in trilogies, where the third and last book of the series is extremely different than the first two books. The story is different, the writing varies, and generally, the setting is different.

Not only am I part of the Third Book Syndrome Club, but best sellers like The Hunger Games and Divergent are also guilty of this.

Just a heads up, there will be spoilers from all of these as I’ll use them for examples. If you haven’t read them, but plan to, stop reading now. Unless you don’t mind reading minor spoilers.

So, Third Book Syndrome.

The Hunger Games :
Book 1. Katniss is a strong, independent girl who fights in an arena to save her sister.
Book 2. Katniss is a strong –  if somewhat suffering from a mild case of PTSD – independent girl who fights in an arena to save Peeta.
Book 3. Katniss is an absolute mess, there’s no arena, and weird shit goes down. The setting of District 13 is brand new to this world. A whole new cast of characters are introduced, and the overall feel is different than the first two.

Divergent :
Book 1. Tris joins Dauntless and trains to become one of them, living in a city surrounded by a big wall. They’re not told much about the outside world, just that it’s dangerous.
Book 2. Shit happens, Tris and Four spend nearly the entire book running from one place to another, still within the walls of the enclosed city. So while the scenery changes between factions, it’s still within the same world we lived in in book one.
Book 3. They go outside the wall. There’s a whole cast of new characters introduced, and there is a really, really, really, shit explanation of why they were locked in the city to begin with. (Can you tell I wasn’t a fan of the third book?)

The Institute :
Book 1. Allira finds herself in trapped in the Institute, doing whatever she can to protect her brother. Even if that means working for them. Three quarters of the book is set in the Institute.
Book 2. Allira escapes, but that’s not enough. Her family and friends make a plan to take the Institute down. Three quarters of this book is set in a new setting – the Resistance compound. The rest, is set in the Institute.
Book 3. The Institute makes an appearance a total of three times in the whole book. Allira isn’t the strong girl she was in the first two, and she’s lost, unsure of what she should be doing with her life. She does what those around her ask of her without questioning whether she should. With the help of new characters, she fights to find herself once again. There is a major romance plot line in this book, something that was very minor in the previous books.

All of the last books of each series feature a new setting, new characters, and major character arcs… well, except for Divergent. Tris didn’t learn a damn thing or change at all in three books. (but the new characters and new setting thing is true)

As a general rule, by evidence of reviews, the third book in a trilogy is the least favourite.

When I released book three of The Institute Series, I was so excited for people to read what I thought was my best work. It didn’t even occur to me that my new, improved, but different vision of where Allira’s life led, might not sit well with my readers who loved the first two.

The people who absolutely gushed over book one and two, found the third to be too different. They still enjoyed it, sure (or so they said in their review), but of the three, it was their least favourite.

I could say the exact same for my two examples. Mockingjay was my least favourite book of the Hunger Games series, and I barely made it through Allegiant, book three of Divergent.

So, what is it about book three that we as authors feel we need to mix it up? 

Could it be that in The Hunger Games, there was an arena in book one, an arena in book two … did we really want to see another arena in book three?
Okay, so all you die-hard fans out there will argue that when Katniss and her troop try to storm the capital, they are in arena like circumstances with the pods and weird mutts that are after them. But it’s not the same thing.
If there was another arena in book three, would the reviews be saying, “How many times can a government try to kill one girl? It’s the exact same plot as the last two!? I’m bored!”

Book two and three of Divergent were scattery, at best, but the different setting in the last book was necessary to resolving the questions everyone had been asking for the first two books.

In the Institute, Allira’s life had changed so drastically in between book two and three (there’s a massive eighteen month gap in between the books), it would only make sense that she would be meeting new people and forming new bonds. The first two books were about Allira’s fight against the Institute, the third was about her learning to be an adult.

Growth is an important part of writing. Characters need to grow and learn lessons, or you get to the end and kind of ask “well, what was the point of that?”

 How much change is too much, and how much of the same is not enough?

Why do you think people aren’t falling in love with trilogy endings?

Listing off other trilogies that I’ve read that also follows the different story arc for the third book include:

The Mara Dyer series (loved the first two books. The third just went weird.)

The Maze Runner series (although, this one lost me at book two, if I’m completely honest.)

The Matched series (but to be fair, I’d say of all of the books on my list, this one is the one that remains most true to the first two.)

How do we prevent the different story arc, but still show growth within the characters/community, without getting repetitive by using the same plot as the previous books. Or is this what readers want? They fell in love with book one and two for a reason, right? 

If anyone has the answer, I’d really like to know, because after mapping out my next trilogy, I’ve noticed it follows the same pattern.

Beta Decorum

Actors, artists, musicians, writers – we’re all creative, we all put ourselves out there, and we all get criticized. It’s part of the parcel for doing the thing we love.

For authors, these criticisms can come in many different forms: Feedback from beta readers, fellow authors, friends and family (if you have family like me who like to tell me that my books suck and are only mildly entertaining. Thanks, bro.) But the main form of feedback authors receive are through reviews.

I’ve written blogs in the past about reviews and how I handle negative feedback (reminder: it’s in the fetal position, rocking back and fourth in the corner of the room.) but this post is going to focus more on the feedback of others, BEFORE the book is released and the nasty reviews start coming in.

Nasty reviews are inevitable. No author is immune. Not everyone will like your work, not everyone will like how your story ends. And for most readers, who have NO idea what it takes to write a book, they will not hold back in their reviews. Everyone gains a certain amount of confidence behind a computer screen. I’m sure if they were told they had to deliver their reviews in person, to a real-life author, they’d be able to sugar coat their words a lot better, but because they’re anonymous behind a computer screen, they don’t really give much thought to the author reading them. They may not even realise authors read them at all. After all, reviews are for fellow readers, not to stroke the author’s ego. They’re also reviewing a product, not the author themselves (although some trolls have been known to attack an author personally, and that’s really unfair, but it’s important not to feed the trolls – they usually only do it to make themselves feel better, or to get a rise out of people so they can sit back and enjoy the ensuing drama).

So before us authors put out a product, we go through a series of reads and we rely on betas to tell us what could be changed or improved on.

I’ve read a lot of books lately where I’ve come across things that have me scratching my head and wondering how beta readers had not pointed out these flaws/plot holes/issues.

But after a string of beta reads I did myself, it didn’t take me long to realise that a lot of beta readers are too scared of receiving retaliation from their feedback. Something I have had happen to me recently.

I gave my honest opinion and was flat out told “you’re wrong” by the author who asked me to give me said honest opinion.

Actors, artists, musicians, writers- something else we all have in common: big egos!

I will be the first to admit that it hurts to get negative feedback. It stings when someone doesn’t like your work. We dedicate years of our life to our books, and to have someone rip it apart (even in the slightest), yeah, it bites. But if we all had the same opinion, wouldn’t life be boring as shit? (Sorry, my inner bogan is coming out here.)

However, after the hurt, after the swearing and muttering to ourselves that the person critiquing is dumb and stupid and doesn’t know any better… Perhaps we should sit back and take their opinion into consideration.

True story: I had a beta reader flat out tell me my work is not polished enough and then proceeded to tear chapter one of my work apart word for word before giving up and saying it NEEDED a professional edit as the copy editor I had obviously didn’t do a good enough job.

I found her remarks harsh and rude, and because I’m still a teenager at heart, when I’m told I NEED to do something, or I CAN’T fix it myself, I of course want to do the opposite just to prove them wrong!

After my initial overreaction, I sat down, evaluated her critique, and realised she was right. As much as I wanted her to be wrong, and as much as I wanted to dislike her for her words… I couldn’t. She was right, and fair, and I needed to get over myself.

So I’m not completely innocent myself when it comes to overreacting to critique, but I definitely know better than to retaliate or give a rebuttle stating why their critique is wrong.

Beta readers are doing is a favour by giving us their opinions ahead of publication. So when authors flip their lid at their betas for not giving them all glowing and fabulous feedback, we’re encouraging our betas to only give positive feedback in fear of being sworn at (has also happened to me). Meaning we may be putting out less than mediocre work. Then what happens when the reviews come piling in?

Writing is an industry where you need thick skin. The way I see it, if author’s can’t handle feedback from their peers, what is going to happen when they read a scathing review?

Scenario: you go to a five star restaurant and order the signature dish. It comes out and it is covered in garlic. You HATE garlic! Sometimes you like a little bit of it, but it looked good on the menu, so you ordered it. Your dining companion orders the same thing. They LOVE it, but it leaves a not quite nice taste in your mouth after a few bites. So you complain and ask for something else. Reasonable, right?

Well, what would you then do if the chef comes out of the kitchen, yells at you because everyone else loves the garlic, says you’re being too picky, and clearly you have the wrong taste because everyone else loved it?
You wouldn’t come back! (And if you did, you’d certainly be too scared to complain again!)

Same principles apply in writing. Not everyone will love it, and this is why it’s important to have more than one beta reader. You need an entire team, and you need to be able to trust them to tell you the truth, and you need to be big enough to take their advice into consideration without complaint. You need to not alienate your betas by telling them they’re wrong. Perhaps out of five beta readers, one of them hates a certain element. 1/5 isn’t bad, and perhaps you could ignore their opinion. But just remember, if one beta picks up on it, others will too and you WILL get reviews that represent that.

I recently beta read for a friend, and I admit, I was nervous about my critique because it did seem harsh. I really didn’t enjoy a major aspect of this book. But I spent the majority of the next day going over it all with my friend via email. We had about 27 emails back and forth by the end. She was appreciative and agreed with most of what I said. We did still had our differences of opinion in the end, but it’s her book, her choice. But she never once said “you’re wrong and I’m keeping it. End of story.” She took my feedback on and took what she wanted and left what she wanted.

Authors should be there for other authors. They shouldn’t be all compliments and bullshit like “I’ll stroke your ego if you stroke mine”. We should be able to state our opinions and have an open discussion without it turning ugly. We’re only trying to help when we give you advice.

As hard as it is to hear where our work is lacking, I’d rather be told while it’s still an easy fix, than after its published and I’ve had ten reviews stating the same problem.

So in short:

Stop treating betas like crap. You’re scaring them off doing it for others in fear of having their heads bitten off.

If you ask a question on a forum or group, don’t get defensive of people’s reactions if they are not of the same opinion.

Get more than one opinion. You may very well be right, but that doesn’t mean you have the right to tell the other person they are wrong. They simply have a different opinion to you.

And lastly: don’t take it personally. Betas aren’t attacking you!

Bite Sized Interview with Author Michelle Bryan!

Interview with awesome ms. Michelle Bryan, a woman who makes me laugh on a daily basis.


DSC_0182This week on THE KATY, I am helping celebrate the release of the anthology “Bite Sized Offerings,” which many authors wrote to help pay for a little girl’s medical bills. This coming Saturday (9/5) from 12PM- 10PM CST, is the “Bite Sized Offerings” release party on Facebook! Join the event here! In preparation for this awesome party for such a wonderful cause, I am interviewing several authors from the anthology. (Check out the other interviews here)

You can buy “Bite Sized Offerings” here on Amazon!

Today’s author for my Bite Sized Interview is author Michelle Bryan.

You can find out more about Michelle on her website.

Thank you for joining me here on THE KATY today, Michelle!

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Ever since I was a kid, I lived and breathed books. From Nancy Drew, to Stephen King, I couldn’t get enough. Always wanted to…

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