The problem with using external readers is that they often provide conflicting advice. I’ve sent my historical fiction manuscript (ms), Famine Bay, to several. Some liked the plot device; others didn’t. One suggested I rewrite the entire manuscript to change the point of view; that ain’t going to happen. I had readers who suggested I put in more backstory about the main characters, and after I did, other readers who suggested I take it out.
That’s when the process gets frustrating.
I remember doing that to The Beggar’s Opera — revising it to meet the whim of every agent who gave me feedback, only to have them all pass on the book anyway. Seventy revisions later, when I did get an agent, he suggested undoing some of the things I’d done at the suggestion of other agents.
So …. rather than try to sort this out on my own, I’ve passed the ms along to Alexander Schultz, a freelance editor, for feedback. Alex has worked on three of my books for Penguin Canada and Simon and Schuster Canada. He knows where and when to push me and also knows that I prefer to be told how to “improve” something that isn’t working rather than “remove” it. I think he’ll be worth every penny