Tag: beta readers

beta readers

The Writers Group….. this isn’t your Beta reader

 Last night my writers group met. This is a public, regional group. We meet monthly and two members present a work in progress, often an essay, poem, or short story, sometimes 5,000 words from a longer piece.  We are a varied membership, including published authors, aspiring authors, writing faculty from local universities, and people who are curious and think they want to write.  I’m sometimes asked about the value of such a group and how it differs from Beta readers.  Most clearly, the difference is that a Beta reader is committed to ‘this project.’ The project they have agreed to read. I think Beta readers should appreciate, and hopefully read widely, in the genre of the manuscript, but most importantly they are reading as a ‘reader.’ They may not be writers at all. Good readers, widely read and critically thinking readers are invaluable for writers. They are the perfect Beta reader.  A writing group is full of people who want to write (writers must also be readers, but that is a topic for another day). Members of a writing group hope to hone craft. They hope to learn from the struggles of others, and to in turn make a contribution to the success of their […]

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The Betas

My Beta readers are the unsung heroes of the writing process. Every author has them, a fixed group or changeable one, dependable or sporadic, they are the kind souls who are willing to read a draft and speak honestly about it. I have a crew and what a group they are. Scattered around the globe I usually send the chapters to them all at the same time. Then I keep working on something else and wait. Not patiently. After all, shouldn’t they drop everything they are doing – work, family, vacation, other books and read what I have suggested? In all fairness, they are unfailingly excited to receive their email with attachment. And they do read quickly (anything outside of a 24 hour turn around for me feels like a nail biting trip to Mars and back. I have actually Tweeted a Beta reader that she needed to start reading faster. Did that smack of desperation?!). Some readers are naturals – they read carefully, thoughtfully and don’t hesitate to make ‘suggestions’. Others must be trained. Yes, you really do want their opinion. You may not take all their suggestions, but each and every idea is welcome and plays a part in strengthening […]

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