Getting our writing critiqued is a vital learning process for writers. Through feedback, authors can shape their novel into a piece of work that’s coherent and has marketable appeal. Beta Reader’s response can help to judge which part of your book will work for your audience, and those that may not.
After I edited my first novel I wanted a Beta Reader, but I had no idea of how to go about it. Can we rely on our family and friends to be honest? Probably not, I tend to sugar coat things for those I care about.
So how do we find Beta Readers? Reaching out on social media is a great way to find Beta Readers. Either through Facebook groups, on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, or by asking writing bloggers. Yes it’s daunting. What if they steal your work? What if they’re feedback is negative and cruel, without being at all helpful? These are genuine fears. So going forward takes a lot of bravery and a little common sense.
Here are my 3 tips for working with your Beta Reader.
Finding the right reader is a vital first step. There’s no point in asking someone to read your genre if they don’t like it. Their feedback will be less than helpful. Ask questions and build a relationship. Your ideal reader should be similar to your target audience.
Develop a list of questions that you’d like answered. These might be about plot, pacing, strength of character, or the organisation of the story’s concept. Your checklist should meet the specific needs of each book you write. As a great starting point for question inspiration, go check out some of my ideas on these Pinterest boards.
Learnt to love negative feedback
Not everyone will like your work. So you shouldn’t revise your book based entirely on one person’s perspective. Gaining different points of views can help pinpoint the areas that need working on. And as hard as it can be, ask yourself: Will addressing the issues make your book better? Sometimes accepting the truth hurts, but that’s how we grow and learn. So remember to thank your beta readers, and embrace their feedback.
Return the Favor
Offer to work in tandem with your Beta reader. Or consider returning the favor at a later date. This helps build a level of trust and allows you to learn from someone who also writes. By reading someone else’s work you can gain experience at reading with a critical eye. This will be invaluable when editing your own WIP.
I’ve gained great advice, built lasting friendships and had the huge honor of reading other writers fantastic work. So what do you have to lose? Reach out and find some like minded reader/ writers.
Don’t forget to leave a comment and share your thoughts. You know I love hearing from you.
Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.