Beta Reading

If you’ve been looking for beta readers I do recommend www.critiquematch.com, www.cpmatchmaking.wordpress.com, and the latest www.betareader.io. With Critique Match and Betareader.io, you will have to upload your manuscript, whether its pages or the full document. I do advise reviewing the tutorials, and anything else can be asked in the help desks.

I will say what’s been working for me, is offering to be a beta reader. Of course, I don’t offer in the hopes of “what can you do for me?” If a story sparks my interest and I have the time, I don’t mind helping a fellow author in my genre. I know I can’t read everyone’s work, but I aim to sharpen my skills when it comes to plot development, character arcs, narratives, etc. Doing this, however, I have found authors are more open to reading my work since I took the time to read theirs. Again, I’m happy to help because I love reading and writing, but this has definitely been an asset to my works in progress.

Once again, don’t spread yourself too thin. You have your own work to do, so don’t be afraid to say “no I can’t this time, but thanks so much for thinking of me.” For those who I do accept, what then? I let them know what my strong points are: plot, character, setting, prose, head-hopping, dialogue, etc. I’m not editing for them or looking for grammar. I help with the overall story. While there are more involved guidelines with this, I find this to work for me when beta reading.

My process when beta reading:

1) I read the book as if I would for fun but with a keener eye. I take notes as I go so I won’t forget to mention it to the author.

2) I look at pacing. Are they info-dumping in the beginning? How’s the hook? Does it pull me to the inciting incident?

3) Is there enough conflict and tension in the middle of the book?  I look to see does it drag and are the arcs present in both main characters.

4) Is the setting solid? Do I feel the small town or the hustle and bustle of the city? Are the five senses engaged during narratives? Can I smell, taste, touch, etc?

5) Does the dialogue flow? I personally love writing dialogue so this is my favorite part. I look for flow here.

6) Is the climax and ending satisfying? I look for what could have been done differently. If not, I leave this alone.

Again, I know there are other ways of doing this, but I find this to work best for me. Of course, I’ll answer any requests the author has made that I’m asked to look for specifically. More than anything, I’m respectful in my notes. I let them know my comments are just suggestions and the final decision is up to them. I believe in being honest but I’m never harsh. As a fellow author, I know how it feels to put my work in the hands of someone else. So I praise them first, insert my suggestions in the middle, and then praise them again. If I truly like the book, I’m going to tell them that. There’s no point in me lying about it.

By doing all of this, I get stronger in my own writing skills. I’m able to apply it to my own work, and I pay that much more attention to my own stories. I find myself looking for these things in my own books as I would a fellow author.

I hope all this was helpful and maybe you got a few pointers. Until next time!

%d bloggers like this: