I Am Not a Stalker

I tend to get twitchy and hovery when beta-readers have my book. I go all mother-hen on my words and want to protect them, justify them, or generally cling to them.

My words… they be stealin’ my words!

How I handled cheerfully sending off submissions and waiting weeks or months to hear back last fall is beyond me. I was a basket case, sure, but I think maybe the lack of access to the reader helped me keep at least a little of my cool.

But for beta-reading… well… one of my readers is my husband. I can watch him read every page. I twitch every time he circles something and I can do sneaky side-eyes at the notes he’s writing. I can see how my book is affecting someone as it’s happening.

It must really suck for him.

And as for my other reader? Well, I talk to Emmie Mears just about every day, but I can’t stalk her in quite the same way. I’m reduced to lurking, wondering, biting my nails, and trying not to send her emails that contain each of the pilfered notes from my husband’s reading.

Me, not waiting or watching. Totally.

I think I need another hobby, guys.

Writers, how do you handle the period when beta-readers have your book? Do you hover? Or am I just exceptionally neurotic?

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10 thoughts on “I Am Not a Stalker

  1. Anyone who isn’t neurotic about beta-reader response has never submitted something for critique. I have learned to accept that I will feel like the world’s neediest ex until it’s handed back to me. The only sanity-saving measure I have developed is to ask that they don’t give any feedback until they’ve read the whole thing, and to do my best to be in a different physical location for as long as they are reading it.

    1. I’m two projects deep right now — I need to slow down on rough drafts! Though I do have an idea for my next project.

      1. I knew it! That’s awesome.

        And I hadn’t meant to be so terse. I fret, too. But writing something new quiets the pleading.

        Cute cats, by the way. 🙂

  2. I become (more) neurotic. I’ve tried losing myself in someone else’s book, but I found that was even more stress-inducing and completely unfair to the author. After much flailing about, I tend to resort to my psychological fail-safe: gardening, cleaning, and organizing. I can burn off physical energy and mentally feel that I do still have some control in the universe.

    Thanks for sharing your own neurosis with us, Kristin! 🙂

    ~Mo

  3. I’m okay for like… a day. After that I’m stalking FB, Twitter, blogs, looking for any mention of them reading someone’s MS. And if there’s nothing, I’m itching to email or tweet. I don’t try to distract myself, I just ride the worries but try to keep doing other stuff. But when I see them (yes, you too this last time) online and not talking about my MS, I’m screaming in my head. It’s totally normal, I’ve come to accept. Well, normal, so long as you don’t actually pressure the CPs.

    Point of interest, my hubs reads mine too. I have no problem saying, “So, do any reading today?!?!?” and smush my face against his, like a crazy person. It helps.

    1. D’aww! Now I feel bad for maintaining dignified silence!

      Husband is off reading in the bedroom now. I’m answering blog comments, which I’m bad about.

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