MY JOURNEY AS A READER...
When I first started reading Joanna's pre-published work, my goal was to get through the book or short story as quickly as possible to find out "who done it?"
She was extremely tough taskmaster when it came to proper English. (No, it did not make my school days easier!)
CHOOSING AND MAINTAINING A STYLE...
Joanna and I decided that we needed one reference that we both could turn to for answers. She owned The Gregg Reference Manual, so she bought me my own copy. We're also compiling a style sheet just for the Kiki and Cara Mia books. A style sheet goes beyond the reference manual to keep small details consistent from one Kiki book to the other. For example, when Kiki flips the sign over at Time in a Bottle, it says OPEN or CLOSED in all capital letters. That's a small thing, but one that must remain the same from book to book and story to story.
Here's another example. Did you know that there's no full stop (period) after the letter "r" in Dr Pepper? That's right. It was dropped in the 1950s. So that, too, will go into our style sheet.
Wikipedia describes a beta reader as someone who brings "a critical eye, with the aim of improving grammar, spelling, characterization, and general style of a story prior to its release to the general public."
But that definition doesn't begin to define what you offer Joanna. Beyond the help you offer by reading and commenting on early versions of the work, you are a valued sounding board and cheering section. Because you are so invested in the series, your opinions matter greatly to us.
COULD YOU QUALIFY AS A BETA?
Do you like to read any genre in fiction?
Do you enjoy watching a series grow and evolve?
These are all qualities that we value in our Beta Readers. Most of all, we appreciate the dedication and candor that our Betas bring to their reading. While Joanna might not take every suggestion that's offered, I can tell you that she considers it. Often she and I will discuss the suggestions and decide whether she needs to follow them! (You'd be surprised at how much she cares about creating a satisfying reading experience. Then again, maybe it wouldn't surprise you. After all, you know her work.)