authors, beta readers needed, readers, writing

Beta readers, huh? Well, then…

Hello WordPressers and others!

I found an article on Beta Readers and thought I’d share it. It’s at the bottom and I’ve included a few examples of the advice given.

As a new author, I haven’t yet had any successful “beta readers” unless mom counts. She did an okay job finding things that confused her and asking for clarification here and there and pointing out that I use a lot of semicolons and “And” a lot.

I’m not sure what they are supposed to do, or what I’m supposed to do. So I found this article pretty useful for future reference. I’ve got a good idea of what I want. I want the beta reader to play to their strong suits and be honest with me what they are. If you’re good at grammar and that sort of thing… let me know so I know I need someone else to focus on any loopholes, plot issues, errors in desription.. (I say character has green eyes then blue later, yeah it happened :P).

I don’t think it’s fair to expect someone to catch the grammar and the creative issues while reading and hopefully enjoying the book. I’d suggest a beta-reader read through the book for fun and then for errors.

If you cannot finish the book, due to lack of interest or real life issues, tell the author. Indie authors often cannot afford editors and we rely on beta-readers to help us bridge the gap between indie and professional editing services.

I need beta-readers, but as most of them have flaked on me I am not getting my hopes up anymore.


So you wanna be a beta reader, huh? Well, then…

Have you ever been asked to beta read for an author? Or have you wanted to be asked for a particular author? (I’ll admit there is one author out there that I might give up my first born to beta read for…). Lots of people think beta reading is a fun way to read a book early, get a free book, and say “look what I did!”. I’m going to dispell the myth, it isn’t that way at all.

Emma Marie Leyla recently re-posted this blog post on Beta Reader Etiquette and after reading it, I thought “okay, how about a beta reader’s side of things?” Because I think the thought process out there is that it is almost glamorous, that you are one of the chosen few, and in many ways you ARE. However, it isn’t just a quick, light read you are getting…

So, if you want to be a beta reader, here are a few tips for you:

1. Ask for ground rules at the beginning. I’ve had authors ask me to “beta read” and what they really wanted was for me to proofread their already pre-edited version of their work in progress. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve had another author give me a questionnaire to fill out. Having expectations ahead of time will make it easier for both you and the author. I ask questions like: “Do you want me to proofread? Is there something in particular you want me to watch for? When do you want this returned to you?” If you get these things out of the way right away if its someone you haven’t read for before, then you will both know what you are looking for, and there won’t be disappointment on either side.

2. This is not just a free book for you! Yes, you get to read the book, and you aren’t paying for it, but the author is looking for assistance with their book, in whatever capacity they need. Telling them “Wow, this is the best book I’ve ever read!” or some version of that statement does them absolutely no good. Your job (payment is the free book) is to help make the story better. It’s also quite likely not the final version (unless the author says up front they don’t want storyline input), so there may be significant changes by the time he or she hits publish.

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2 thoughts on “Beta readers, huh? Well, then…”

  1. I think if I was to add to that list of what to expect from a beta reader, it’s that what they do is general, rather than specific. They may “proofread” but don’t expect them to find every error. If they find many, then they may suggest you get a professional proofreader. Same with grammar. Unless your work is already edited and they pick up on one or two exceptions, don’t expect them to do all your editing unless you’re paying them to do it. It’s too huge a job to expect anyone to do for free.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I catch a lot of stuff the first time through a book. I can not see them on reread. If I was going to do it, (and I don’t mind at all, I’m a fast reader) I need a mark-able copy so I can stick an asterisk on the errors and move on. Trying to take notes just makes it way to unwieldy. I don’t have that kind of time to give to it. Plus it destroys the flow and you miss things.

    Liked by 1 person

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