BETA READING

BETA READING

Your first readers are invaluable. They give feedback on parts of your story they liked and didn’t like and often have surprising insight that you wouldn’t have seen without them.

Usually your first readers are family and friends, which is great. Your mum mentions how much she loved the character Jane Doe, but she wasn’t a fan of Joe Smith. Does that mean you need to rethink Joe Smith? Or is it okay that Mum didn’t like him? Mum doesn’t know. “You’re the writer,” she says.

Now you’re a little confused and unsure about your manuscript. This is when a professional beta read comes in handy because it includes not only valuable insights from a first reader, but also pinpoints the specific areas that could use some tweaking that a friend or relative might not be able to explain beyond generalised statements.

Perfect if:

  • you’re an author intending to self publish.
  • you’re an author intending to publish traditionally.

What stage should you be at?

  • You’ve completed your own extensive revisions on your manuscript.
  • You want some feedback on any areas that need improvement before sending to an editor or agent.
  • You want some feedback on the tone of your manuscript and where it might fit within the market.
  • You want some feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the manuscript.

You don’t need to tick all of the above but at the very least the first should be completed so you get the most out of the beta reading experience.

What does beta reading involve?

  • A read through of your manuscript with comments and notes left throughout.
  • Comments included on characters, tone, readability, dialogue, setting, world building, interactions between characters, and any issues big or small that could lead to improvement of your story.
  • Plus comments on any areas that are confusing or need clarification.
  • You can specify any areas in particular you’d like me to focus on or look out for during the read.