Beta Readers help make my novels better. How? They bring another pair of eyes to my writing which can catch:
Spelling errors I can’t see anymore because the text is so familiar to me and my editor.
Structure issues – making sure my story flows and doesn’t feel too rushed or too slow.
Strange wording that doesn’t make sense – either too wordy or phrases a common reader wouldn’t understand. Being a Southern girl, sometimes the phrases common in my life mean nothing to someone not born and raised in the South or even in my family!
Factual errors – I haven’t had EVERY job or experience I write about and Beta Readers can catch mistakes in careers, facts about dogs, or even places I haven’t been.
Consistency mistakes – saying it’s October at the beginning of the chapter and it’s September by the end, or having a character with blue eyes at the beginning of the novel, but brown toward the end.
Beta Readers are an important part of the writing process and I have been blessed with some fantastic beta readers…
But, it can be hard to find good beta readers and it helps to know what you need to look for:
Varying in age and life experiences, helps you get a variety of knowledge and background to proof your novel. Remember – Same gets the same.
Someone who can commit to reading in a certain amount of time because I’m on a deadline, promoting with a publishing date, months in advance.
Can give good insight to your novel and explain any issues they find. If they can’t say what’s wrong, I don’t know what to fix.
How to Be a Fantastic Beta Reader:
Always Be Truthful
Fantastic Beta Readers are TIMELY
Beta Readers are fantastic when they are consistent
Really, that’s it!
If a Beta Reader can’t tell you the problems with your novel, then you can’t improve it. I don’t want my Beta Readers to sugar coat any problems because now is the time to fix them and I can’t fix what I don’t know!
Time is important. I have my books scheduled out for writing, editing, beta readers, final edits, etc. I usually need the book to be read within a few weeks so I can make changes suggested by the Beta Reader and then I’ll still proof the book several more times after that before the final publish date.
Consistency is key! It’s fine to be focused on spelling and grammar, or structure, etc. I just need someone to point at the problems and inconsistencies and not just change what they are proofing halfway through.
My Beta Readers are not the same for every book. Life happens and not everyone can commit to reading my novels every time. BUT THAT’S OKAY because God sends me the right people at the right time.
If you want to be a beta reader, let me know.
Benefits to Being A Beta Reader:
It will let you read a novel before anyone else and know what’s happening to characters months ahead of readers!
Gets your name published in the acknowledgment page of my novels and you’ll love seeing your name in print.
And helps an author make his/her book even better!
Until next time, may God’s grace surround you,