Insecure Writers Support Group badgeBeta-reader of your choice… who would it be? That’s (roughly) the question for this month’s IWSG post, an event that has crept up on me, despite thinking about it  last month.

It’s probably down to two things, well, maybe three.

Three excuses

First, it was a bank holiday weekend in the UK, and despite not actually going to work, that Monday still throws the week’s sequence into chaos.  Added to the lockdown-disorientation, remembering days of the week is still almost impossible unless I’ve got something in my calendar, liking taking Roscoe to the vet at 11.30 today. Oh. That rather destroys my argument.

Second, I’ve been busy finishing illustrations and setting up promotional stuff for Princelings Revolution, which is not only finished, but I have the final cover in my inbox as of last night!  Thank you to everyone who has responded to my Goodreads buddy request, it’ll probably be my best launch yet, but there’s room for more.  If you’d like to do a launch post, guest or interview with me, or just tweet or share my post, let me know.

work in progressThird, my roof is being repaired.  They started yesterday. You know, roof repairs – banging anywhere on it means unbearable noise just where you are. They are great workers, finished the front and left it looking pristine (which was far from how it looked before I left them to it) and turned up on time this morning to do the last corner. I put the boys in their boxes out in the summerhouse, and fled to have a waffle lunch with my niece and great-nieces before they go back to school next Monday. It was yummy.  The boys went out on the grass when I got back, in case you think I’d neglect them.

The Beta-reader question

All of which does nothing to explain who I would choose to be a beta-reading buddy if I could choose anyone, living or dead.

In no particular order I thought of A A Milne, Ursula LeGuin, Isaac Asimov, John Brunner and J K Rowling. But I wonder what any of them would make of my books?  A beta-reader needs some empathy with your books and what you’re trying to achieve, I think. It helps if they would normally read in your genre, so they know what you’re up against, in terms of reader expectations.

I’m not sure I like the Cormoran Strike books sufficiently to be confident that J K Rowling and I would be on the same wavelength, however much I love Harry and the team. Actually, that’s not true. I read one Cormoran Strike and hated it. I’m sure we’re not on the same wavelength.

I love Isaac Asimov’s science future, and John Brunner’s tale-telling. I think they’d both make great beta-readers for the scifi stories if they had the patience with modern scifi.

That meme that did the rounds about ten years ago on ‘who do you write like?’ often gave me Ursula LeGuin as my ‘most like’, so I’d like to give it a go with her as my beta-buddy.

But somehow, I don’t think you could go very wrong with A A Milne. Especially in my Eeyore moments.

Eeyoe beta-reader


Many thanks to Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh and the rest of the IWSG team for this fabulous resource.  Please remember to visit your co-hosts for the month:

PJ Colando, J Lenni Dorner, Deniz Bevan, Kim Lajevardi, Natalie Aguirre, and Louise – Fundy Blue!

… and I look forward to seeing you next month, 7th October, when I’ll be floating around in several places as well as visiting as many of you as I can!


#IWSG September | The Beta-reader question
Tagged on:                 

20 thoughts on “#IWSG September | The Beta-reader question

  • 2 September, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    I agree. A beta reader, for me, is someone that likes my style and has some kind of idea about what I am trying to achieve, not because I tell them but because they have read my flash fictions or some of my short stories and have an idea of where the heart of my stories lie.
    Have a lovely month of September.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

    • 2 September, 2020 at 2:10 pm

      We are of one mind, Pat. Have a good month too 🙂

  • 2 September, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    How are the boys doing with all the noise? I usually get beta readers who don’t know me well …
    Love Eyore. I living an Eyore life right now

    • 2 September, 2020 at 2:09 pm

      Boys coped fine with being in the summerhouse yesterday. Today they were only banging on one corner away from us, which was bearable. I took Roscoe for vet checkup, and took Neville too, to keep him company. I think Biggles slept in his tunnel while we were out. He didn’t seem to have moved, anyway. We’re all out in the garden now!

  • 2 September, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    Your choices are very good, and I actually know who they are. I have too many to choose from, which makes it difficult.

    • 2 September, 2020 at 6:02 pm

      It’s such a relief when you find people citing authors you know, isn’t it?! I just wrote down the first five that came to mind…

  • 2 September, 2020 at 4:44 pm

    I’d be happy to help you with your release. hit me up at pattyauthor07@gmail

    • 2 September, 2020 at 6:03 pm

      Thanks, Patricia, an email is on its way!

  • 2 September, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    Good selection! I agree about needing someone who you think would be on the same wavelength with your work. Another reason I’m not so sure about Sayers for me, though Christie might appreciate JJ… Milne is a great choice 😀

    • 3 September, 2020 at 9:19 am

      I’m sure anyone would appreciate JJ. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never read any Sayers. Comes of having discovered crime writers like Lindsey Davis, I suppose…

  • 3 September, 2020 at 3:23 am

    Good answer! I like the way you thought about it.
    Did I read that right, book TEN in your series? That’s amazing! Much congratulations.
    My blog is more speculative fiction than it is childrens, but I’d be willing to give you a guest post blog hop spot thingy if you wanted one.

    • 3 September, 2020 at 9:17 am

      Yes, ten! If they weren’t all piled up on my desk for reference, I wouldn’t believe it either. They do look impressive, though. 🙂
      I suspect Princelings could have fitted into spec fiction. I had a sort of theory that this was the world once human had blotted themselves out and guinea pigs had taken over. Hence the wasteland in the greater London area! But not something to fit into the story…

  • 3 September, 2020 at 7:29 am

    Jemima, love your answer. Choosing beta readers and critique partners is no easy task. Now I have the critters sorted, I couldn’t live without their input into my writing.
    Ha. Cormoran Strike I love/hate.
    Love your illustration!

    • 3 September, 2020 at 9:14 am

      Ah, no that’s an E H Shepherd, which doesn’t seem to have copyright any more. I should have attributed it, though. Would that I could draw characters like he did. I went to an exhibition of his work at the Dulwich Art Gallery once. It was inspirational!

  • 3 September, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    I love Eeyore!

  • 3 September, 2020 at 4:50 pm

    I love Eeyore too! You have a lot going on, Jemima! I think the roof work would make me nuts. And keeping track of everything during this difficult time is challenging. Your choices for a Beta reader are awesome. Thanks for introducing me to John Brunner. I love sci fi, and I think I would enjoy what he has written. Happy writing in September!

  • 3 September, 2020 at 7:53 pm

    That’s great you have a release coming up! Be happy to share it – just send me an email.
    Roofing is noisy but the one blessing is they are outside and not banging in your house.

  • 4 September, 2020 at 3:42 am

    Eeyore would suit me – or Pooh. I like your sensible approach to Beta readers. I’ve now got three first class readers and it took a few years.

    As for your release, if there’s anything I can do – like share your post in some way, my blog page is yours. Email me at

  • 9 September, 2020 at 11:06 am

    Great choice! I wonder what AA Milne might say about my stories… Good luck with your roof!

  • 12 September, 2020 at 9:01 am

    Hi Jemima – glad you’re getting the roof fixed before Autumn really sets in … the boys seem to be coping with all the changes … green grass must help. You’re right about AA Milne – good choice – enjoy these lovely sunny days … all the best – Hilary

Comments are closed.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: