Back on the horse

A few months ago I posted about using little beta readers to help give me that final push to get my childrens’ novel ship shape for submitting to agents and publishers this year.

I advertised on a community Facebook page for parents and children aged 6-10 to read my book and provide a critique.

Well, the results are now in and, after a short break from writing altogether, I think I’m finally ready to get back on the editing horse again. 

My book was born five years ago now. It’s been a long process not helped by the fact that I’ve had a tricky few months wrestling with my confidence. I suppose this block started when I met with a commissioning editor and agent at a Scottish Book Week event in November. I was hoping to pitch but it turned out just to be a 10 minute two to one PR press junket, which was disappointing after having prepped and psyched up.

When I told them enthusiastically about my beta readers, they were surprised and said I was being “very entrepreneurial,” which I must admit to finding rather patronising. 

Some other short story rejections came in around that time, leaving me feeling crest fallen. I just felt like giving up on my dream. Perhaps it had just been a huge waste of time and energy. 

Despite this and my fears about getting my work “out there” for criticism, the feedback from both parents and children has been great and has really helped steer me back on course. 

There’s nothing like a child to tell it like it is (!) and I’m hoping to use some of their fabby one-liners to boulster my submissions letters. 

A great confidence booster! 


The tricky bit now is knowing how much more tinkering to do. Should I submit knowing some changes may still be required? I’m a little afraid of pushing the draft too far and over-working it.

For the first time in months I’m actually looking forward to getting started again. 

A little patience with myself is all I need.

It feels good to be back. 

Writing Bubble

24 thoughts on “Back on the horse”

  1. I think “entrepreneurial” is an essential in this publishing day and age. Even the best agents and biggest publishers are going to expect that in their authors, while if you decide to go indie it will be critical. I’m so glad you’re back on board and wish you best of luck with your book.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh I know how hard it can be to get back on that horse after a break…momentum is so hard to kick-start at times! But I have do doubt you’ll soon be back in the groove and doing what you do so well! Sending good thoughts and positive energy your way!


  3. If you’ve updated your draft with the feedback from the beta readers then it’s probably OK to submit. Most publishers will want to do some editing anyway. Best to let them see it.

    PS I have a 10 year old, so if you want any more beta reading done he’d be happy to help.


  4. Glad you’re back and that you’ve got over the confidence dip. Sounds like you’ve got some excellent feedback and are in a really strong position to submit to agents. At the Festival of Writing, agents told us to carry on making a MS as good as you could ‘until you feel sick at the sight of it’ before submitting. Mind you they’d been telling us about how many people submit rough drafts of the first few chapters (having not even written any more of the book) which is REALLY not what they’re after. So as long as you’ve re-edited using beta reader feedback you’re probably good to go! Exciting! Thanks for linking to #whatImWriting


  5. It sounds like you’re at a great point with this. It’s always tough gearing up for an edit, especially after knocks to your confidence, but I think that’s all part of this writing journey (I hope so anyway!). I would say if you’re questioning whether it’s worth doing more tweaking before submitting then it’s definitely worth doing some… Ultimately you will know when you’re at risk of pushing it too far, but you do want it to be as good as it can possibly be! Good luck πŸ™‚ xx


  6. I am so pleased to hear that you are back! It is so hard with this book writing lark as you can’t please all of the people all of the time – and less so when it comes to publishers! Ross is currently on his 20th draft of a script that he has now been writing for nearly 2 years. He has had it critiqued so many times now that I think he has kind of become immune to it! Keep going – you CAN do this! #WhatImWriting


  7. I’m so glad you’re back and that you’ve gotten over the confidence dip. You can do this hon. You can submit and you can do this. I am following and right behind you. Go for it x


  8. Kids have no filter!! It’s awesome πŸ˜› Glad you are excited about getting back to work on finalizing your book project…..there is nothing like having that feeling of momentum return!! Good luck πŸ™‚


  9. It’s getting the balance isn’t it, between as good as you can get, and worked into the ground. I thought her entrepreneurial comment was patronising, too – if you’ve done any research into getting a book out there you should know about alpha- and beta-readers! It is tough though when you get a lot of rejection at once – but at least it’s over and done with, and you can look at each piece and decide, should I keep working on this? Or put it away for another time? As you never know when something could be rejigged. Just keep doing what you’re doing. I so admire you putting your writing out there – I hide mine away. Not going to get far with that, am I? And I know a 9-year-old girl (my daughter’s half sister), should you need any other beta readers who don’t know you AT ALL!


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