Did They REALLY Read My Whole MS? Why We Should Start a Swoon Reads Forum

On Reading by Jan Willem van Wessel

We should start a Swoon Reads forum.

Here’s something I discussed with a writer from the site: How do people do to read your ENTIRE book in minutes, an hour, and rate you and comment you right away? My answer is, they don’t. Here’s how I know this.

I uploaded my manuscript at, let’s say, 5pm one afternoon. And… by 7pm I already had a comment saying how much they loved my book. And that’s awesome, and I totally thanked the person who said it. But. Them having nothing else to say makes me think they didn’t read the whole thing, because I KNOW that MS needs more work.

And here I was thinking that SR was a place where we could share our work and get positive criticism.

Maybe what they usually do is read the first couple of chapters, then rate you and leave an “Awesometastic book! Good luck with publishing it!!!1!”. But they don’t get to the end. ‘Cause if they did, I’m sure they’d have more than one suggestion to make you to help turn your manuscript into the best thing it can possibly be.

So NOW I’m wondering if I should do the same. You know, not read the whole book and just give it an overall look, so I can “read” as many MSs as possible. But, no, that’s just not me. Because when I say that I’ll read someone else’s MS, I do it with a critical eye and make comments that’ll -hopefully- help the writer. And I in turn expect the same from my readers.

I wanna know what’s bothering you about my MC, why you think that’s out of character for him…or if you totally love him, I’d like to know why, so I know what I’m doing right.

There’s another site like SR.com: Figment. A while ago, inkpop.com (HarperCollins) merged with Figment, and a lot of us wailed at this change. Inkpop was amazing. Writers seriously READ you, and gave you great feedback. But Figment is but a shadow of inkpop’s former glory. You have to dig really hard to find people willing to read you properly, like an actual Beta Reader.

Another thing that baffles me completely is the fact that very few MSs are really high on the rankings’ list. I know that this must be because of the fact that, being displayed on the front page, readers automatically click on them to see what the fuzz is all about. And that’s cool. But you shouldn’t disregard those other, less commented-on books! Just because they have four or seven ratings compared to the 145ish stars those Top Books have, doesn’t mean they’re crap. They’re just not read as much. (Ahem… my MS, Class Three has four comments on SR, and one is mine.)

What can we do to get readers to read and rate and comment on our work?

To answer that, I go back to my first sentence: We should start a Swoon Reads forum. A place to find readers who are willing to read your WHOLE 60K word MS, and give you awesome (sometimes scary) feedback, so you can sit your butt down and re-write what needs to be improved.

Are you on Swoon Reads or Figment?

Well, I am! You can find me here and here.

xo, Ella

Ella Press is a book blogger and writer who is currently working on her YA Dystopian novel, Class Three. Visit her author blog here.

The photo featured with this post is by Jan Willem van Wessel!
Check out more of his photos on Flickr.