On my first proper day back to work (like I’ve ever actually been away!), I would just like to say a great big thank you to my lovely Beta Readers: Vikki Thompson, Lynsey James, Pauline Wiles, Debbie Young and Emma Harrison – you guys are amazing! Not only did you manage to find time in your busy schedules to read The Family Trap over the Christmas break, you also make stacks of notes and gave me brilliant – and incredibly useful – feedback for my final edit. I’m now collating my own notes with yours and will spend the next few weeks glued to my desk putting the final touches to the manuscript ready for the copy edit and proofreading. The February 14th deadline is looking tight but do-able! I’m so lucky to have such talented and committed people willing to offer up their advice and time for free – please let me know if I can return the favour.

The Family Trap cover

(Don’t worry if you’ve offered to beta read The Family Trap and haven’t gotten around to it yet – I understand how busy this time of year is! I’d still love to read your thoughts whenever you get time.)

Readers might be wondering about the general response to The Family Trap … well, it was very good 🙂 The general consensus was that it works well as a sequel, with just enough to orientate the new reader without boring the returning reader (this was something I worked hard on – it’s so tricky to get the balance right). The Beta Readers loved the new challenges Stella faces, and liked the subplot (which is set in an old people’s home – you’ll have to read the book to find out more). There was also a consensus on what needed clarification and the areas that could be worked on to deliver maximum impact. Some of the points were things I kinda knew deep down and should have sorted out in previous drafts, others were new, and it was really interesting to see the book I’ve been working on for so long through other people’s eyes. If you have a manuscript you’re about to publish and you haven’t used Beta Readers before I would definitely recommend it.

It’s all systems go now – this is one of the parts of being an indie author I love the most. The next few months I’ll be multi-tasking on a mammoth scale: editing, sorting the cover for print and ebook, formatting and typesetting, coordinating proofreader and designer and uploading to Amazon and sending print files to the printer and ordering copies for the launch party – and organising the launch party and contacting the press  and getting promotional material printed and … Does my head hurt just thinking about it? Not really 🙂 I made loads of notes when I did it the first time around and I’m looking forward to the ride. I hope you’ll join me for the online launch right here (stick it in your diary – Valentine’s Day!) or if you live anywhere near Shropshire, England, come along to the party at BookShrop in Whitchurch on Saturday 16th Feb at 11.00 am.