#BetaReaders | Lit World Interviews

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How important is it to have beta readers for our books before sending them off to the editor?

I can say from my own experience that I’ve never put out a book without at least another few pair of eyes on it to gain feedback from someone who’s opinion I highly value as a reader, be it a fellow author or an avid book reader. It’s nice to receive some objectivity, which we as writers often tend to lose after reading our own work many times over. This helps to prepare our manuscripts, ready for editing. But Jo Robinson’s article below that she wrote for LitWorldInterviews will explain the value of beta readers in greater detail.

 

“Not all writers use beta readers, and not all writers offer their services as beta readers, but both of these things can serve as a huge help in our writing. Looking at it from the writer’s side first, it’s important to know what it is that you’d like your beta reader to do for your story, if there is anything in particular that you do want. Don’t be shy to ask if you suspect a weakness in any area.

 

In general, as well as glaring plot holes and so on, your beta reader will spot things like continuity problems, or hair that started out blonde and suddenly changed to auburn half way through the story. These are big deal issues for your future readers and often things that we miss because of our closeness to the story. . . Continue Reading

 

Source: Beta Readers | Lit World Interviews

19 thoughts on “#BetaReaders | Lit World Interviews

  1. Debbie and Jo, necessary information for all of us who are passionate about good writing, thank you! Without my beta readers, god knows! I have learned to be utterly ruthless when I edit my own work, but still, no way of underestimating the objective analytical power – as well as the support and praise – of a good beta reader – which is why I consider each of my novels a collective endeavor. In fact, if either of you know of a good place to recruit fantastic beta readers, I for one would be most grateful. Om!

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    1. Hi Mira! Thanks so much for chiming in here. So true, we lose objectivity when we look at our own work so many times. I don’t have a list of beta readers. I usually get mine done through author friends.
      Om to you too Miraji. ❤

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      1. Thanks for taking the trouble to respond, Debbie! Author friends make great beta readers, but they are often busy busy busy with their own creative projects. Sigh.

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  2. When one of my beta readers found all the same things my editor did, I knew I had a keeper! But I agree that it’s crucial to tell beta readers exactly what you’re looking for- do you want the person’s general “feel” for the book, or do you want them looking for specific things? Do you want them to comment on separate pages or do you want the comments right in the manuscript? The relationship is better for everyone if expectations are clearly communicated from the start. Great post!

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    1. Absolutely right Amy. Beta readers are giving us a take on our stories, plot holes, story flow, etc. It is up to ask to let them know what we wish to learn in feedback. 🙂

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  3. A different kind of question. Do writers expect to pay beta readers? When I was a beta reader for a friend, I did not expect to be paid, but I know some writers who do. Is it just individual preferences?

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    1. Hi Diane. I’m not the authority on this, but I can say from experience and from many of my writing friends that they ask well read friends and or authors, or people they’ve been recommended to, to request a beta read. This doesn’t usually entail paying. Unless of course, you go off and hire a professional service, which indeed you’ll pay for. I should think that having our MS read by avid readers is good feedback because they know what excites them and what falls short for them as readers. 🙂

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  4. When I was first asked to beta read a book, I wasn’t sure what was being asked of me, so I pointed everything out–from missing punctuation to character inconsistencies to switches in tenses! Then, when people beta read my books, all I got were nice reviews. It’s a good idea to ask your beta readers specific questions you wish to have answered about your manuscript, that there is less mystery and more mutual satisfaction!

    Great topic, Debby!

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    1. Thanks Lorna. Yes, the importance of beta reading is to get feedback on the story, how it resonates, plot holes, etc. No point asking for grammar and punctuation errors, as it’s only a draft that will no doubt be changed several times in more revisions. 🙂

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