Friday, September 20, 2013

My Maiden Voyage with Beta Readers

I've never before used Beta Readers.  In fact, until a couple of months ago, I didn't even know for sure what a Beta Reader was or was supposed to do.

Short explanation: Beta Readers are folks (often fellow writers, but not exclusively) who read your manuscript and give you feedback.  The feedback can take on just about any shape - from formatting to dialogue to plot to structure to punctuation, and everything in between.

A little while ago, I (nervously) sent the manuscript of Frisky Business to six people.  They all got back to me fairly quickly (which in itself was a very good sign.)  

Wow!  What a cool process this beta reading thing is!  The overall reactions were positive, very positive, and obviously that made me do a happy dance!  Yay!  


But, despite the loads of good karma these six people gave me, they also offered criticism - constructive, well-intended criticism.  

I'm so very glad they did!!!

As I read through their comments, I found myself nodding in agreement.  I thought to myself: "Yes... Good point!   ...My gawd, he's right!   ...Wow, her suggestion is terrific!" and so on.  

I can honestly say that there wasn't one point raised by a single one of them that I disagreed with.  So, revisions are being made, and Frisky Business will be a better book because of going through this process!

It's a good feeling to try something new and to have it work out so well, so satisfyingly.  That's probably because I was smart enough to choose good Beta Readers.

6 comments:

  1. How do you find Beta Readers and what books or manuscripts use Beta Readers. Your post is very informative. Thanks for the tips.

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  2. I'm glad you found it a good experience, Jill. I think you've put your finger on what's important too, in a beta reader: promptness, honesty (without being cutting) and support. Thoroughness too helps, I've found.

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  3. Charles: Just ask people (fellow writers, bookworms)! Don't be shy about asking - the worst they can say is "no".

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  4. Is that not what your editor does though...

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  5. @Matthew - this is a good step to do before it goes to the editing stage (which is not nearly as much fun!)

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