Nine: The Other Eye

Nine: The Other Eye

A Lesson by Belator Books

Going for & accepting artful criticism...


While I wish I could write without error--whether grammatical or otherwise--the facts fly in the face of such a whimsical daydream.

The blatantly honest editor has grown in my esteem over the last two years, to a place where I resent not the advice… at least, not usually. We use four beta-readers now, and not just in the US; they constantly edit not only our work but each others' edits, and thus most--if not all--the mistakes are eventually located and scoured from the surface of our books. Over the last year alone the books for sale on our website have undergone four separate edits for the little things that were missed.

What do you look for in an editor? The first criterion remains the most basic: money. Editors can be professionals that one can hire and get all the pivotal advice and corrections done in one swift go. In reality, however, most writers cannot afford such services, but a wonderful facet of the online community is the amount of free advice one can collect, simply by posting sample chapters online, or engaging the services of a good beta reader; many of them read through material for no other pay than the act itself. Sites like and harbor sections and groups devoted to matching writers and books with betas.

The other pivotal quality of a good ‘Other Eye is honesty. Therefore, most of your friends and family are disqualified for consideration… unless you have an exceptionally honest friend/family member who does not spare your feelings by ‘glossing over’ things which should be addressed.


If using ‘free’ services, then multiple betas/readers/editors is advisable, especially choosing betas in a wide range of ages, educations and backgrounds; this enables you to glean useful information about which demographic your book most appeals to.

 Take the humble pill as others look at your work; bite back the retorts that invariably bubble up as valid mistakes are pointed out. For, thus is the reason they edit and why writers seek out these opinions: to make the work as good as it can be.

Remember: if you choose to post samples of your work online for scrutiny or send it to a beta, register your work first with the US copyright office, and update these as new versions of your work ensue.

Lastly, contribute to the online community, especially if you have benefited from it. Join writers/ readers groups and help edit the work of others as time allows.

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Posted 4 Years Ago

I belong to a great critique group; very professional and, when necessary, quite merciless. At times, after my group has gone over the required 25 page MS, I return home and fume, and sometimes cuss 'em out for some of the "dastardly" comments and criticisms I received. But wonder of it all, "the other eye" they graciously gave my work is useful. Well, not all of it. What a wake-up call "the other eye" provides. Thanks for your advise. jjh

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Posted 6 Years Ago

Can you add chapters as you write a book if you register with the copyright office? I will look into the betas and readers. Editors will cost too much I am afraid.
This is great advice, and I have not seen it anywhere else.

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Posted 6 Years Ago

MG : "What do you look for in an editor? The first criterion remains the most basic: money"
me : "I am editor digital and I am more interested in great story not money"
But I admit that this is a very helpful article.
Thank you for share it with us.
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Added on September 23, 2011
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Belator Books
Belator Books


The Styles are two fiction writers with day jobs. Married 17 years, 4 children and an organic garden. Twitter: @BelatorBooks & @writerlrstyles WordPress Blogs: www..