Writing is a solitary vocation, or so people want you to believe. But really, it’s not. It takes a village to write a book. Or a story. Or a memoir. Or creative non-fiction. (You get the idea.) In the writers village, you’ll find a wide cast of characters – the alpha readers, the beta readers, the proofreaders, the fact checkers, the illustration editor, the illustrator, the acquiring editor, the developmental editor, the substantive editor, the copy editor, the cover artist, the marketing director, the managing editor, the publicist, and, well, you are probably getting the idea that this village is big and complicated for a writer to navigate.

Indie authors generally don’t have such a diverse village. They try to do as much of this work as they can on their own. But no indie author should be without alpha readers, beta readers, and proofreading. Why not trade these services with other writers? Traditionally, this has been difficult online. There are email groups and forums set up for this, but many writers worry about having their writing stolen or losing the ability to sell the first publication rights.

What if there was a site online where writers and other professionals could collaborate on a story without risking loss of publishing rights? Where only people specifically chosen by the author have the right to view and comment on it? And, just for fun, what if this cool collaborative space was free? Wouldn’t that be awesome? It sure would!

A couple weeks ago, the developers of a new site, Libboo.com, contacted me to see if I would come to try their site and write a review of it. And here is a partial review.

There are some really great things about this site. The interface is uncluttered, and the site is fast. I had some difficulties setting up my profile, but the customer service was fantastic. (And in the process of fighting with Libboo about my birth date, I had a great story idea!)

I recruited an alpha reader on SheWrites and uploaded a short story.  My alpha reader, Nadine Galinsky Feldman of A Woman’s Nest, joined Libboo and sent me a friend request. It was simple to add her to my team for the story. Once on the team, she saw my request for specific types of feedback. She read the story at Libboo and provided her feedback within their system. Every step along the way, I got email notifications so that I knew what was happening with my story and my alpha reader.

If I put another story up at Libboo, I could make a choice as to whether to invite Nadine to my team again. Just because she’s on the team for one story doesn’t mean that she is automatically added to any team I set up. I got great feedback from her, but I also learned that she’s not a target reader for the type of story I had her read. I don’t want to burn her out reading stuff she won’t enjoy, because I want her to be willing to help me in the future. I also would rather have writers who are familiar with the genre as my alpha readers.

I’m still learning about Libboo, so I’ll post more as I work through the stages. I’m still looking for alpha readers for this story. It’s horror in the tradition of the Brothers Grimm and runs just under 3k words. If you’re a writer, and you’d like to play around on Libboo with me, sign up for an account, and then send me a Libboo friend request. I’m listed there as WritingReader. If horror’s not your thing, I’ve also got a cute dragon story I’m going to post over there as soon as I have some fantasy alpha readers. Sign up and post on my profile that you’d like to alpha read it.

If you’d like me to be an alpha reader for you, I read sci fi, fantasy, mystery, thriller, and suspense. Invite me!


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7 Responses to A new tool for writers

  1. Nadine Feldman says:

    Nice analysis, Liz. I think this could be a cool site to use. Finding reliable alpha and beta readers is always a challenge, so Libboo definitely has possibilities.

    Thanks for inviting me to help out on your research! It was fun, and I got to read one of your stories. Bonus!
    Nadine Feldman recently posted..Good Morning, Monday! Make Way for the New!My Profile

  2. This could prove to be interesting, not to mention useful. I’ll be keeping my eye on this, and when I finally get the nerve to try something new (I have computer phobia LOL) I’ll probably wander in. Thanks for the article!

  3. […] Shaw presents A new tool for writers posted at The Writing Reader, saying, “The collaborative writing site, Libboo, I’m […]

  4. zencherry says:

    Oh I missed this one when you first posted it. (Slaps hand)

    I had so much fun reading your work on Libboo. A blast! Hope I was helpful though, to be honest, your work didn’t need any help at all. (Fabulous!) xoxo

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