Thursday, February 20, 2014

Picking the Right Beta Readers

While I love to read the novels that I've written, sometimes I'm not the best person to judge whether it's good or not. That's why beta readers are the best things ever invented for writers.

It's an important thing to pick a beta reader. There are so many things that can go wrong with picking a beta reader. They have to be just right for the project in order to get the best kind of feedback. And it is so hard to get that right kind of fit. It's a comedy of errors, a series of fits and starts of trying to figure out who is best for which story. Sometimes you just have to take a stab in the dark and a wild guess. Sometimes it works. Other times it doesn't.

I've had to work with beta readers three times now. And I've learned a few things about picking them. Choosing a beta reader is like doing an interview for a nanny for your book. They have to be the right fit, and there are some questions you can ask to see if that person is a good fit for you.

  1. What kind of books do you like to read? What are your favorite genres?
  2. Who are some of your favorite authors?
  3. Do you feel comfortable being critical of a work? (This doesn't mean being mean or picking it apart, but being able to describe things that might not work or things that are "wrong.")
  4. How fast do you think you can read the work and still be able to read it "critically?"
  5. Why do you want to be a beta reader for this particular novel?
Most of the time, my beta readers have been friends and "fans" of my short stories. They're people who know how I write and like my style and characters. It's important to find people who like to read stories like the ones you write.

It's important to find beta readers who will treat your work with all the respect it deserves. It took you a long time to get it written. They should take just as much consideration in reading it and giving notes.

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Edited by - Stephanie King