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Why An Author Needs a Beta Reader



Friend, Before we get into why you need a Beta Reader, let me explain who a Beta Reader and what they do. A beta reader is a test reader who reads your manuscript and gives you feedback from the point of view of an average reader. Beta readers are not editors or professional critics, however, they can help you the author improve your work by pointing out errors, plot holes, inconsistencies or unclear passages. A beta may be a friend or acquaintance or even a stranger who knows the genre you are writing in very well. This individual reads books similar to yours, and so are able to point out ideas and concepts that are overused or key elements missing from your story. Essentially a beta reader is representative of your target audience. Now to the why? When you are writing it is very to get lost in your story and it makes a lot of sense to you. However, words and emotions can become jumbled and unclear and the beta reader will help you work through the jumble in that early draft. Once you have done the initial review and revision, a beta reader can provide feedback to see if you are on the right track. This review is critical to you so you can gain perspective to see if your story is engaging and what didn't make sense. Getting the most out of your beta reader

You can give beta readers some pointer questions to make sure they address any specific areas or elements of your manuscript you aren’t sure about. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Does each scene flow naturally into the next?

  • Did you feel there were any areas that skipped over information?

  • Can you see the action clearly while reading?

  • Can you see the characters clearly while reading?

  • Does the dialogue sound natural and realistic?

  • Does the character development feel natural?

  • Who is your least favorite character and why?

  • What’s your favorite part and why?

  • Did you have a least favorite part? What is it and why?

If you have very specific questions (e.g. “Does chapter 5 feel out of character for the protagonist?”) you can share them with your beta in advance, so they might bear them in mind as they read. But don’t inundate them with all your questions in advance of their first read. Let them read with as little bias as possible, then have an in-depth chat with them later. Either way, don’t be afraid to steer the conversation where you feel it’ll be most helpful.


Processing the Feedback. You've received the feedback from your beta reader. The first thing to remember is that it's not personal. I know it can be tough to hear, because your manuscript/book is your baby and it's hard to take that criticism. However, consider your beta readers’ feedback carefully and with openness — this review will help you to succeed and produce a better book for your audience.

When you receive feedback during the writing process it helps you to understand where the vision has fallen short and got lost in translation. It is up to you as the writer to take or leave the pointers given during this process especially if you have conflicting reviews from more than one beta reader. It is important to consider the feedback that aligns with the goals you have for your book. Now that you know who a beta reader is, what they do and why, I hope you can find someone you trust to review your manuscript/work. The more you work with beta readers, you'll know what questions to ask them. Remember don't tell them what the story is about, see if they can figure it out based on the what they have read.

Happy Writing!

From IABX Renaee Smith CEO/Founder IABX ***Source Internet



At IABX, our mission is to promote and empower independent authors. We strive to provide useful and valuable information to do just that.

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