Who are your early readers?

YoungReaders_Getty_400As is one of the perks of my job, I often get to read my clients’ manuscripts at a relatively early stage — if it’s material that hasn’t sold yet, well before anyone else knows how awesome it is, but also, when we’re talking about books already under contract, either with or sometimes even more the editor gets a chance to read it. And I love it!

I love that sneak peak of something that’s going to be great — something that I know the author’s fans are going to utterly fall for in a year or two when it’s published.

But I hope that my early read isn’t just a source of pleasure. I aim to provide comments and feedback that the author can use to make the material even stronger.

And that’s what your early readers need to do, even if you haven’t yet signed with an agent. I always mention how vital it is for an author to have a critique group, but even if that’s not possible, you really need to have a couple of early readers you can trust for an honest opinion of your work.

So here are my questions to you: who are your early readers? Where did you find them? When do you use them? (First draft, third draft, to work out the missing bits, etc.) Any hints or tips in working with them? To the comments!

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