Nathalie Jakoby is the indie writer who wants a hand in every part of the publishing process. She debuted in September 2018 with the novel 197 dagar (197 days), runs her own publishing firm, Growing Stories, and is currently testing her second novel on BetaReader.io. We reached out to learn more about how she works.
Tell us about yourself and your writing. What do you write?
– My name is Nathalie Jakoby, and I am an indie writer with my own publishing firm. Mainly because I want to try doing everything myself. I love stories of all shapes and forms. To me, they are like time capsules, that open to a whole new world, another planet, time or mindset. Unique, amazing fantasies.I am quite new to the page turner industry, debuted in September 2018 with “197 dagar” (197 days), an apocalyptic story about several individuals seeking shelter after an epidemic in Sweden. I write fiction, and am currently editing a YA fantasy trilogy called “Nålar av ben” (Needles of bones).
How important would you say that beta readers are for your books?
– After my first novel, “197 dagar,” I realized that finding good beta readers is just as hard work as editing a manuscript. It is only through the eyes of others that the words come to life and get meaning. Their feedback is invaluable for a book to reach its full potential and become the diamond it really is. Therefore, I am constantly on the lookout for new test readers.
How many beta readers to you use for a typical project?
– I have six readers, who I am extremely grateful for, who read and provide feedback on my current project. One dropped off, but that also gave me valuable feedback. Two have been with me for a long time, and we’ve built up a level of trust and confidence. One challenge I have is to find people who have the time to give me feedback. In the future, I hope to get more test readers, I would like to have ten faithful ones to return to. I believe that it’s easier to find potential test readers if you are good at writing blurbs.
What type of feedback do you look for when sending your manuscript to a beta reader?
– It varies. I am currently trying to build up an editing structure, and am trying different things. I did a read-through of the first rough draft, where I wanted feedback on the overarching environments, characters, and storylines. But most important is to know if the manuscript interests the reader, if they like the idea. It’s good, but not mandatory, if they are in my target audience, as well. During the second round, I want readers who are good at details, ideally also who enjoy my voice and can imagine to become a recurring beta reader. It’s easy to get blind to flaws in your own writing, and I don’t want to throw away gems by mistake.
Did your test on BetaReader.io render any insights that made you tweak your story?
– Primarily how long it took different readers to finish the story, where they lost focus, got hooked again, and continued to read. I was a bit too repetitive with my reader surveys, which might have been the reason to receiving a lot of answers to my early questions, and fewer towards the end of the manuscript. I am not done editing yet, but my readers’ considerations have been incorporated into the story and rendered a better end result.
What are your best tips for other authors who are thinking about starting to work with beta readers?
– A good book needs to be read many times before publishing, and having good beta readers is the be-all and end-all [of the whole project]. In the end, they are the ones who represent your target audience. Using the BetaReader platform to find test readers is golden, especially for us self-publishers. It saves us time and energy, and the author controls themselves how they want to manage the feedback.
Would you recommend other authors or publishers to use BetaReader.io? Why / why not?
– I started recommending BetaReader.io already after I received my first feedback. I highly recommend the platform. Sure, Google is good, but BetaReader puts together authors and curious readers in a controlled way. Smooth and simple, which makes it possible even for completely non-technical individuals to be able to access texts and provide feedback that the author can easily digest.
Nathalie Jakoby is an indie writer. She debuted with the novel, 197 dagar (197 days), in September 2018 on Growing Stories, and is currently working on her second novel, Skräddarens Lärling (The Tailor’s Apprentice), which she is testing via BetaReader.io.