Beta Reading

Posted by Stephanie Rose on March 2, 2010 at 4:56 PM Comments comments (0)

If you've read our front page, you're no doubt asking yourself, "What is a beta reader?" I'm here to answer your questions and hopefully get your pumped up about being one, as they are desperately needed.


First let me introduce myself. My name is Stephanie. You can find my bio here, along with first chapters for your perusal. I am actively seeking beta readers while I rework my drafts in preperation for submission to publishers.


About Beta Reading:


What is a beta reader?

A beta reader is a person who reads through an authors rough draft and provides feedback. You don't need a degree or any type of background. This is a way for an author to hear how an average reader views their book.


Why is having a beta reader important?

As a beta reader, you are the most important part of a writer's process. As writers, we are too close to our work to look at it objectively. While writing, we enter a zone that can easily take us off on tangents and sidebars. While caught up in our story telling, we may leave out details a reader wants, or add details that are unnecessary to the plot due to our extensive world building. To hear an outside perspective is invaluable in our journey to published works.


So what do I have to do?

It's simple. You read. You read as though you are reading a book you've bought from the store, and keep track of what you are thinking. Some beta readers read the book as a whole, then go back through and take notes on things they liked, things they didn't, what made them laugh, what made them cry. Some choose to keep notes as they're reading. These notes are then given to the writer.


I'm not very good at editing, do you still want me?

A beta reader is NOT an editor. We can get those, they're all over the place. If in your reading you stumble across something that is truly driving you crazy (a misspelling or a comma in the wrong place), go ahead and make a note of it. but chances are we've caught it already. We are more looking for the emotions you feel while reading our story. What you liked, when you were bored, what you want more of. That is the feedback we want.


What do I get out of this?

Not much, I'm afraid. You get to read an unpublished work and be involved in the writing process. Most likely, you will get an acknowledgement in the published work. I promise all of my beta readers a thank you in the book. But hopefully you're not doing it to be paid or for anything more than a thank you. You're doing it because you love to read and want a chance for your feedback to be applied to a finished product. If you've ever thought while reading a book, "I wish the author did this . . .", then beta reading is for you.


I'm all for it, where do I sign up?

If you're interested in being a beta reader, just tell us! We will gladly hand over our manuscripts for feedback.


I'm ready Stephanie, so what do you personally want from me?

My best beta readers have been those who provide me notes corresponding with page numbers on how they felt, when they laughed, where they were bored. I'm never offended, so please do not spare my feelings if you find a scene intensely dull. Then, let me ask questions. Give me your top three favorite moments, the top three moments that you feel could be dropped. Any and all information is welcome, the more the better. If you have a thought about every paragraph in the book, I welcome it, as I probably have a thought about every paragraph as well. Also, as said above, you will receive a thank you in the final product and my eternal love and thanks for your invaluable notes.


Let me finish by saying, only offer to beta read a genre you enjoy. This should be a fun thing for both you and the writer. If you hate reading horror, it's not going to be fun for you, and the feedback given won't help the writer.


I look forward to hearing from you beta readers. If you want to be a beta reader for someone, but don't necessarily like the genre's we write in, let me know. I know many writers around the area and can pass your name along.