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Official Beta Reader: Kelly Kennedy

Meet Kelly, our resident Canadian with a journalism background who radiates pure friendly librarian vibes.

About Kelly Kennedy

I've surrounded myself with words for my entire life, both personally and professionally. I'm a journalist and communications expert by day and a writer of MG and YA Fantasy by night. I grew up as a stereotypical bookworm, ravenously devouring every novel I could get my hands on, but it wasn’t until recently that I decided to pursue the world of fiction myself. Now, as part of the writing community, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

My favourite place to read is outside, basking in the hot sun. Ideally I’d do this all day, every day, but I live in central Canada so I squeeze it all into three-ish months of summer each year. The rest of the year, catch me wrapped in several layers of blankets with a mug of tea or hot chocolate nearby.

When I’m not writing, reading or scrolling endlessly on writing Twitter, I’m usually playing piano, petting my dog or eating snacks. My perfect day involves some combination of all those things.

What makes me passionate about writing is that it is an artistic medium that is intrinsically mundane. Everyone can do it – everyone does do it (thanks, Internet) – but not everyone can do it well. Skilled storytellers are capable of transforming the language of the everyday into sentences, paragraphs and books that can make us feel, yearn, cry, laugh and long for something beyond the tangible. It’s a magic that has captivated me my entire life, and like all of us here, I hope to leave my mark upon it someday.

Kelly's beta reading journey

Discovering Internet writing communities was like stumbling upon a hidden trove of riches just waiting to be explored. There are so many amazing writers out there just waiting to lend their talents to your manuscript. In my opinion, the key to writing a great novel is seeking out feedback.

I’m a journalist by trade, and so I’ve had my fair share of writers, reporters, editors and the critical eyes of the public look over my writing. It’s always terrifying, and sometimes it hurts, but it has never failed to make me a better writer.

Having beta readers is essential to my journey as an aspiring author – but being a beta reader in return has become an unexpected passion of mine. It is exhilarating to read fresh manuscripts from up-and-coming writers and to be able to lend my specific talents to help them improve their craft. It’s an altruistic offering with selfish motivations: let me fangirl over the brilliant stories of other writers while offering my best advice to make it even better? Win win.

Kelly's current "book crushes" include:

  • The Aurora Rising series by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff Red

  • White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

  • Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

  • A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying by Kelley Armstrong

  • Literally any Percy Jackson book by Rick Riordan

For this competition, Kelly is looking for:

  • Categories: MG, YA, NA

  • Genres: fantasy, science fiction, space opera, romance, magical realism, urban fantasy

I'm not the right reader for anything anti-inclusivity, anything where an animal dies or anything with a lesson that's too preachy.

Give me unique settings, give me characters who are guarded with their emotions but wish they didn't have to be, give me pure indulgent escapism, give me cute romances between shy characters.

Trapped in the slush pile? Don't suffer alone! Meet Steven, the big blue monster that lurks in this hopeless black pit. When he's not munching on the souls of hapless writers, he hosts an online writing community dedicated to making friends, having fun, and improving our literary skills.

Don’t forget to join our mailing list so you never miss any of the games or competitions for bookworms! We also share resources for writers. It's much more reliable than getting updated on Twitter, and we also have special mailing list-only content!

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