In the craziness that surrounds holiday season, I’ve been reflecting on how wonderful my beta readers are. Beta readers are the people who read your finished manuscript and give you feedback before you submit to your editor/submit for publication (if self-publishing) or before you submit to agents for querying. They are avid readers who also may be writers, editors, bloggers, fans, or any combination (or sometimes all) of the above. They are as busy as you are, and they deserve appreciation!
Every beta reader is different.
Every beta reader will be different in what types of feedback they’ll offer. Some betas prefer to leave line-by-line comments, where they talk about specific things that don’t work for them and also things that they like. Other betas might give you general impressions, including what they enjoyed about the plot and characters or what they perceived as plot holes, what they might have been confused about, or what they thought could have been developed more. Some will focus more on the mechanics of sentences. Others will focus more on the characters.
Some betas will want to give you feedback as they go along. Some will want to wait until the end. Some betas will focus on the things they loved. Some will focus on the things they didn’t. Some may gush at you. Some may swear at you.
Every beta reader’s feedback is valuable.
Not every beta reader will love what you write. Some beta readers may even suggest major changes, and then it’s your responsibility as a writer to decide what to do with the feedback. My advice is to seriously consider each and every comment that your beta readers give you. These are in effect your test readers before your book hits the world-at-large. In inviting your betas to critique your work, you should ask them to be candid and honest with you. After all, wouldn’t you rather know what needs to be changed now when you can still make those changes?
Helen Boswell loved to get lost in the pages of a story from the time she could sound out the words. She credits her dad, an avid fiction reader, with encouraging her to read ALL OF THE BOOKS on his shelves from the time she was a teenager. An author of both urban fantasy and contemporary romance, she loves to read and write characters that come to life with their beauty, flaws, and all. She is the author of YA urban fantasies MYTHOLOGY, THE WICKED, and NA contemporary romance LOSING ENOUGH.
AND SHE LOVES HER BETA READERS!
Find out more about Helen at www.helenboswell.com.