My second novel is now complete at 82,700 words and it's gone to a professional editor to be knocked into publishable (hopefully) shape. I really enjoyed writing this book and I've been very pleased with the feedback to date.
I asked for volunteer readers on this blog and on Facebook and Twitter and was delighted when a fair number of people responded and offered to give it a try. Their responses have been trickling in over the last four weeks and they've provided me with some helpful and constructive criticism and some very encouraging comments.
I appreciate that I have not made any comment on the blog or on Facebook about the content of the book. This is deliberate. The subject matter is quite topical and I want it to be as fresh and original as possible when it comes to its launch.
It's a comedy and for me the most important thing is that everyone who responded has said that they laughed (some even admitted to doing so out loud). The other pleasing thing is that three readers reported staying up late well beyond their normal bedtime to finish the book as they wanted to discover what happened. This means that my two principal aims - to write something funny and to create a page turner were met (at least with my volunteer readers). This has been particularly encouraging as they have not all been people who I would consider my target audience.
As a result of some of the critical comments I've made some very minor changes. I also spotted another half a dozen typing errors in my final draft. It's always easy to get carried away when you create something. No friend or relative is going to want to tell you that your painting is rubbish, your poetry stinks or your novel is dire and that's why I asked for volunteers. Of course some of those readers have been friends and relatives but there are several others who I have never met and their feedback has been very much on the same lines as the rest.
So what next? The editor is a highly respected figure in the publishing world and he will not pull any punches when he gets back to me. I'm paying him for his expertise and not his sycophancy so my current upbeat feeling about the novel may be taken down a few notches when he gets to work but until then I'll bask in the warmth of the response.
Thanks again to those who have read the book for me. I'll make sure that your help is acknowledged if it goes into print.
Now it's time to start on the next one.