Greetings My Lovelies!
When writing, our stories go through several changes before it makes its way into the hands of our readers. We as authors, write, revise and edit. Then we send it to the editor who does the same thing. We do this to ensure that the story that makes it out to the readers is the best one that we can make. But there’s one more level that sometimes doesn’t get used – Beta readers.
I can see some of you tilting your heads. Let me clarify. A beta reader is someone who reads over your WIP by chapter, page count, or word count. They provide feed back that you as the writer may not see. I know I’m bad about not fully explaining everything. Betas can help you catch that.
How do I get a beta reader?
There are services that charge you to read your work samples. But one of easiest things to do is to ask your friends, family, or fellow writer friends. Ask them if they would help you by reading your WIP and giving constructive feed back.
How do they do that?
The easiest way to help them help you is to a) tell them what you want them to look for or b) give them a survey that they can fill out. You can find beta reader surveys all over the internet but they can be lengthy. A good survey should be (in my opinion) no more than 10 questions. I also like to provide a section where they can tell me what they liked or didn’t like about the chapter.
How can I thank these people who are doing work for free?
This is important. The people who agree to be betas for you are taking time out of their day to read you WIP. One way to thank them is to give them a shout out in the acknowledgement section of your book. You can also send them a free signed copy of your book for their efforts, because hey, they put in work too. And if they’re writers as well offer to beta for them in return in a you scratched my back so I’ll scratch yours.
How many should I have?
Two to three is a good number. But if all you get is one then don’t worry over it. But too many betas can mean a headache for you. The more betas you have the more notes you have to go through the more suggestions you have to contemplate.
I’m too shy to ask people. What if they hate it? What if I’m bothering them?
Hey I get it. I hate asking people things for these very reasons. I always feel awkward and bothersome. But you ask your friends for favors all the time for other things right? This is nothing different. Just make sure that you pick the most reliable of your friends. One that will be with you for the long haul. And make sure that you choose the one that will be honest with you. Avoid yes men. For your writer friends….they might turn you down but it’s no big deal. They’ll usually surprised that you asked and they’ll appreciate that you thought of them. If they say yes they can help point out some areas where your writing is weaker and provide tips to help.
Asking for help can be terrifying but in the end taking the plunge and getting yourself a few beta readers can only help to improve your story. Plus you don’t have to do what they suggest because it’s their opinion. But its always good to get a second set of eyes on your work.
Well that’s all I have for today.
See ya next time!
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