I cast my net wide when it came to beta readers. Since it’s my first novel and I was learning as I went, I decided more readers would prevent outlier syndrome. I had to know whether or not this really worked as well as I think it did.

So, I compiled a list of women and men, ages 20 to 68. Hard core fantasy readers and those who just discovered fantasy existed with Game of Thrones. People who eat Greek mythology for breakfast and those who think they might remember something from third grade about that whole Hades-and-Persephone thing. Some who are fantastic copy editors and those that read books like candy. People I’ve known a long time, and people I don’t know well at all, and people I respect.

The feedback has been coming in the last couple of months as readers finish up THE LOST DAUGHTER. The comments have taken my breath away! I wanted to share a few that came up repeatedly:

  • I couldn’t put this book down! It sucked me in from the beginning. By the end of the first chapter, I was hooked. I completely forgot I was reading for someone I knew. It was like reading someone already published.
  • I love the characters. They are so individualized and well-developed. I’m already casting people to play them in the movie version because I can see them so well.
  • You made me laugh and cry and care about your characters. That’s the magic you always want to happen with a book, but you never know if it’s going to.
  • It’s not just the story — it’s how you write. You don’t just pick a word. It’s obvious you take time to pick the right word. This blew me away. It’s better most of the books I read this year. I’m so grateful you let me read it.
  • You’re going to get comparisons to Sherrilyn Kenyon, but your voice is different, darker. Your story has a more epic feel, much more detail. I never felt like the story lagged. I ended up losing sleep staying up reading.
  • When is Book 2 going to be done? I needed it yesterday! We’re all waiting impatiently. Get a time turner already!

I think every writer experiences fear throwing their work out there, seeing if it will fly when pushed from the nest. It’s feedback like this that makes me think yes, I have a really good chance of being successful at this. I thought I’d done well, but finding out that it reads equally well among both men and women, across a 40+ year age range, among both self-professed “fantasy snobs” and general fantasy lovers…

And here I thought I felt good when I finalized the manuscript. Wow.

Melody Wingfield

Author | Voice Artist | Witch Queen - Melody Wingfield is the creator of The WitchQueen Project podcast and an author of dark fantasy, epic mythology, horror, and erotica. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok at @witchqueenarts. Subscribe to her newsletter, The Magick Word on her website, www.witchqueenarts.com.


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