Bonus!

Look! A bonus blog for you! (Remember, I said I wasn’t planning anything until June 20, and anything before then was a bonus.)

I wanted to go briefly into beta reading today. As a writer and a reader, I hear a lot about beta reading. For those of you who don’t, a beta reader is essentially this: someone who reads a manuscript pre-publication but post-editing. The chief point of a beta reader is to be the last line of defense between the unfinished book and the public. Not to worry about grammar or punctuation; that’s what the actual editors are for. Also not to worry (too much) about making sure the author’s word choice is perfect, or to nit-pick teeny details about setting or plot.

A good beta reader, while catching small things, is really there for the bigger picture. What impressions does the book/character leave with you? Are there any inconsistencies between book #1 and book #2 in a series? When the author changed a character name, did any instances of the old name get left behind by mistake? Big things like that.

And I love doing it.

Let me say right up front that it’s not for everyone. Some people don’t read fast enough, or with enough of an eye to detail. Some people don’t want to analyze what they read; they just want to enjoy it. And some people will analyze TOO much, and give the author more information than is useful at this stage. (Remember, the manuscript has already gone through the writing, re-writing, and editing stages. This is one of the final steps before it leaves the author’s hands.)

I have beta read for several authors now, and it’s a different process with each. Some want a higher level of feedback, while others just want the overall impression. But it’s fun whatever the case. It’s a rush getting a book specially delivered to you before the rest of the world knows much about it. It’s fun to see your name with the thank-you credit to the betas, or to receive a thank-you on a blog.

But most of all, it’s wonderful to read a section of the finished novel, and see something that you helped correct, and know that the book is all the more polished thanks to you. This is the closest I have gotten (as yet) to publication myself, and it’s a great feeling to know that I have helped make fiction a better place.

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6 thoughts on “Bonus!

  1. Chris says:

    I beta read for several authors, too, and I agree – it’s fun/cool to be part of the process and to know you’re participating in the community. 🙂

  2. Carrie#K says:

    It sounds like fun! Something I would have really enjoyed a few years ago. I don’t read the way I used to. Not nearly as fast. It’s a little disconcerting.

  3. OMG I totally forgot to thank you as my Beta reader in SYB… I did mention you as my Crit Partner though. Um… yeah… I’m going with being overwhelmed and I forgot to single you out as much as I should have. Hahaha, what an idiot. Sorry.

    Might I add that you rock as a beta reader 🙂 Can’t wait to get the sequel to SYB to you.

  4. Lorraine says:

    Nicole-That’s a great idea, and will also give you insight for your own writing.

  5. Sherri says:

    I love beta reading as well. Every author is different but so are the needs for each story. You’re so right about that feeling you get when you’ve helped the author. And each beta read has also taught me something. One of the best experiences in the world 🙂

  6. LesleyW says:

    I like the fact that you get an insight into how a story develops. And I think you learn a lot from doing it. 🙂

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