Are you ready for prime time?

Well, I’m not, not yet anyway.

Getting ready to release on the world has more steps than stitches in a quilt.

Or so it seems. As I type this post with trembling fingers I’m moving on to the next step.

Beta Readers.

Someone once told me to never fear asking.

She said, “What’s the worst that can happen? You already have a no.”

I try to remember her advice. It comes in handy when I need to boost my nerve, like today.

My children’s book may not be ready for prime time yet, but after going through one editing process, it’s time to move on to the next stage­ with Beta Readers.

According to the glasgowdragonfly there is a beta reader selection methodology. Who knew? Anyway, she gives 10 things to remember when searching for Beta Readers.

If you are considering Beta Readers, I recommend you read her article before starting.


Okay, #1 – done, #2 – I’m breathing, so on to #3 – Searching for independent feedback.

Because you guys were so helpful with cover suggestions, I’m turning to you again.

I’m looking for Beta Readers who have children, or grandchildren between the ages of 6-10.

So if you can help a writer out, please email me at and I’ll forward you an e-copy or a pdf copy.

Now, next I must decide what to ask.

After reading umpteen suggestions on what to ask, I’ve come to the conclusion the questions should be tailored to the project. Just like each genre, story, or writer, no size fits all.

But some of the articles I found were very helpful. But, never fear I’ll keep my request short and simple.

Questions for Your Beta Readers by Jodie Renner

In Ms. Renner’s article she gives us feedback from several of her clients. Here I think you’ll find questions to work for any genre.

Ten Questions to ask a Friend Who Just Read Your Novel by Lydia Netzer

Okay, give me a shout-out if you’re willing to read my little book. 

About my book:

The story is about a little boy named Ben, who doesn’t believe he is any good at sports. Growing up in the shadow of an older sibling, who is a star athlete, can be difficult.

At the insistence of his parents, Ben discovers he can do anything if he tries and in the process make new friends.

This book is for young readers, between the age 7-9 yrs old and Grades 2-3, who are bridging the gap between early readers and chapter books.

A Quick Guide to Beta Reader Etiquette by K.M. Weiland


Thinking of asking Harry to be my first Beta.

You’ve made it this far so give me just two more seconds and hit Facebook and Twitter and share.
Thank you!
If you’re not already, I’d be much obliged if you would follow me @jeancogdell on Twitter or jean.cogdell on Facebook!


Why not turn that novel into a short story?

May is almost over and so is National Short Story Month.

Did you submit a short story? Wish I’d spent my time on NSSM instead of reading, studying and ripping my current work in progress (WIP) apart. Now I’m considering just burying it in the back of my closet and denying its existence.

Is Your Idea a Short Story or Novel?

Makes me wonder if my “novel” be better as a short story???

There are three days left in National Short Story Month. Three days, hmm. Not sure I can write something worth reading in three days.

No, let me revise that statement. I can write something, but getting it ready for prime time is the challenge.

Ding, ding, ding! Light bulb moment. Why not try? I love a challenge. What about you?

Did you submit a short story for the month of May frenzy?

Do tell. And do share any success stories.

Maybe it’s too late to get in those submissions for National Short Story Month but it’s never too late for inspiration to strike.

On Twitter check out  #ShortReads or  for a list of people, places and stories. And follow @ShortStoryMonth for more….

FREE contest Alternating Current (There’s still time!)

The Fiction Desk (There’s still time!)

Every Writer Magazine

Fiction Writers Review

Story A Day

Every Day Fiction

Flash Fiction On Line

The Stoneslide Corrective

Nano Fiction

Reading the Short Story

Flavor Wire 

Get a FREE trial subscription to Found Press.

Okay, is that enough to get the juices flowing?

No? Then watch a pro – Steven King.

Time to start clicking those keys. Happy writing!


Writers looking for writing inspiration?

Do you have writers burnout?

Need a little writing help with a plot or character?

Check out these great generators to kick-start your writing.

Need to generate everything but the kitchen sink to get your story started.

Click on this Writing Exercises website that has it all from a Children’s Section, Plots, Towns,
, First Line, Theme, Names, Dialog and more generators to get you started.

Writing Sci-Fi?
English: Icon for lists of science fiction authors

You can find random generators for story concepts for everything Sci-Fi from monsters, the undead, silly spells, evil creatures, or humorous space aliens at the Seventh Sanctum

Generate an entire short story?

A romantic/fantasy blurb? This generator over at Plot Generator might be for you. There you can find inspiration for Pen Names, Letter writing and much more.

Problems with Blank Page?

blank pageOver at the Writers Plot Idea Generator you might like the Blank Page Eliminator, Plot Twist Generator or the Fun stuff.

Now you might be wondering where I found all these amazing Generators. I like to give credit where credit is due. I didn’t pick them out of thin air, or Google air. LOL

After surviving the A to Z Challenge left me with a bit of writers burnout and I needed to recharge. Scouring Amazon for something to read I found a short book and after reading it for free on Kindle Unlimited, I bought it for my library.

Nine Day Novel: Writing Fiction: How to Structure and Write Your Fiction Novel Faster (Fiction Writing Basics Book 1) by Steve Windsor

Now as a disclaimer, I haven’t yet put into practice Mr. Windsor’s technique, but there are some really good tips in this book. I hope you enjoy the websites and book as much as I did.
Happy writing.

Kindle Price: $2.99
Kindle Unlimited: Free

Write One Word – Sounds Easy

Picking up where I left off yesterday

Writing is hard.

But do you want to know what the hardest part is?

It’s writing.

I guess if it were easy, Pulitzer Prize winning books would line every shelf at Barns and Noble.  Yesterday I wasted an another day tweaking stuff. From updating profiles on about a dozen social sites, fixing a few snags on my blog, and running security updates on my laptop about the only writing I accomplished was updating passwords. There were no hot bodice ripping or bloody murder scenes to be had, nope all techno geek stuff.keyboard04-001


But here’s the thing, when you get errors, electronic housekeeping is a must. If you want someone, anyone, to read your blog or book you must be visible. Part of all this cleaning is to Google a few sites, including yours. See what pops. Find out where your rank. Don’t become discouraged, become informed.

When was the last time you posted something to, researched, checked out trends on, set up a Google alert or ran or checked your SEO (search engine optimization) or SERP (search engine results page) ranking?

I know all this takes time away from writing that break-out novel but is necessary. So take a day or get someone to do all this for you and make sure all your hard work pays off.

If you write just to see your thoughts in print, to read to your pet… never mind.

After posting this, I’m gonna write a paragraph. A fiction paragraph.

Picture 135
Getty Images

Well, I’m gonna try.

This afternoon I’m heading over to The Prompt  and use her word Cinderella  Prompt #59

Link closes 3/26/2015 11:59 PM North America – Eastern Standard Time

What about you?
What word will you use to prime your pump?
What are your writing challenges?
thankyou note card
your words are important