Calling all Beta Readers

Beta Reader definition:

A beta reader is usually an unpaid test reader of an unreleased work of literature or other writing, who gives feedback from the point of view of an average reader to the author. A beta reader is not a professional and can therefore provide advice and comments in the opinions of an average reader.

I am looking for Beta Readers from around the world to help me. I write Chick Lit, which falls under the Romance umbrella and would love to hear your opinion on my latest book ‘Iridescent’. As a Beta Reader, you are getting the book before it is properly edited or embellished. Raw, so to say.

If you are interested, please complete the ‘Contact me’ form under the ‘Communicate’ tab and I will then first email you a Non-Disclosure form which protects my work from being used as someone else’s and a form detailing what it expected of you. These details are the same as what I will be providing below, but then you will at least have it on hand. I would appreciate your help.

What’s Expected from a Beta Reader

1. Be Honest

To be useful to a writer you must be willing to be honest with them: about the good and the bad of their stories. No, you don’t want to hurt any feelings, but just assume that any writer who asks your opinion will be big enough to handle even a negative response.

2. Be Specific

Generalities like, “I loved it!” or “Your plot was boring!” aren’t going to be much help. Even if you start out with only a gut feeling about the story, do your best to figure out why you liked or disliked something. Give your writer friend something concrete on which to build their revisions.

3. Observe Deadlines

Aside from the fact that most writers will be chewing their fingernails with anticipation from the moment they send you their precious manuscript, they’ve also probably got some serious deadlines to meet. So, once you agree to a timeline, try your best to meet it. Yes, you’re doing the writer a favour, but they’re also depending on you. If you’re going to be unable to meet the deadline, always take a moment to let the writer know about the delay.

4. Check Your Personal Agenda at the Door

Remember: as a beta reader, you’re there to serve the writer, not the other way around. If you have a personal dislike for characters with red hair, the word “stupendous,” or rainy scenes, keep it to yourself. There’s a difference between pet peeves based on technical mistakes and pet peeves that are specific only to us and our personalities.

5. Identify the Author’s Vision

In the same vein as #4, your job is to help the author realize her vision for the story. It’s definitely not your job to try to impose your vision (or worldview) onto the writer’s story. If she wrote an adventure story, but you wanted a romance, don’t take it upon yourself to rewrite the genre. Do your best to figure out what type and tone of story the author is going for and shape your comments to help her figure out where she’s falling short of her vision.

6. Respect the Author’s Autonomy

No matter how much effort and time you spend critiquing this story, there is no guarantee the author will make the changes you’re suggesting. Once you’ve turned over your critique, let the story go. You’ve had your say; you’ve fulfilled your duty. It’s not your responsibility to talk the writer into using all your suggestions. When the book comes out and the main character still has red hair, resist the urge to throw up your hands in frustration or write the author a scolding email. Remember that.

That’s it from me for now…

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Enjoy the moments

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