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BETA Readers, Social Media and the Publishing Journey

Wow! I never realised writing a book had so many stages. Sure, I knew it wasn't necessarily the easiest thing to do, but when I set out to write Loving Dr Jones I had no idea where the journey would lead me. In all honesty, I expected to have it printed, and bound so it could sit on my bedside cabinet and I could flick through it occasionally.

In the past three months, I have thrown myself into the world of TikTok and Instagram. I've had a personal Insta for years but never really used it beyond linking it to Facebook. But the book world has huge communities on both these platforms, so for me, it was important to have some understanding of them. Both have grown slowly with my confidence but I still haven't progressed to lip-syncing to Harry Styles. I'm not sure I ever will.

From what I've learnt social media is a marathon, not a race. It is about finding genuine followers and interacting with them. There's no point having a million followers but none are interested in my books. Slowly, my numbers are increasing along with meaningful connections. I've found a community of authors and readers to interact with and support. We read and share each other work, cheering each other on in the process.

BETA readers are the first people you let read your work. Most people say don't use friends. Well, I went against this advice and asked two close friends to read Dr Jones. Two people I knew wouldn't massage my ego or let me embarrass myself. They've read everything so far and given honest feedback. For that, I'm forever grateful. Without their support, I would never have come this far.

After the manuscript was smoother, I hired a professional BETA reader from across the pond. She read the book and provided me with an in-depth report of her thoughts and room for improvement. Some of her comments were mind-blowing and I found it hard to believe my story could evoke such emotion from someone I didn't know. We've worked together on a few manuscripts now and I'm delighted to consider her part of my team.

After being accepted by Extasy Books for publication, my manuscript was passed to their in-house editor. I've been so lucky to be allocated someone completely on the same page as me. Three rounds of edits later, we had the manuscript ready to move to proofread. Then there was cover design, formatting and more proofreading. That's before the book is listed on all the relevant sales sites. I can't thank the team at Extasy Books enough for taking a chance on me and providing direction through the process of becoming a published author.

Loving Dr Jones will be released early September in both ebook and paperback formats.

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