author, creative writing, writers, writing

3 important reasons to become a beta reader

Beta readers are a vital part of any writers’ journey. They offer feedback, advice, and support to writers as they make their journey from first draft, to published works. Recently, I beta read for the wonderful Lorraine Ambers, and I’m currently reading the third book in K.M. Allan’s phenomenal Blackbirch series.

It’s a privilege
Above all other reasons, it’s a real privilege to be a beta reader. The writer you read for entrusts you with their words, something that is never easy to do. You are given the opportunity to read a book that isn’t out in the world yet, and experience the story in it’s editing stages. Not only that, but the author is looking to you for advice and feedback, to help them grow and improve their work. It’s a real honour.

You build relationships
The trust and honesty involved in beta reading means you often form a strong relationship with that person. You may become friends, and act as critique partners for each other, giving you somebody you can turn to when you need advice as well. I’ve been so fortunate to read for some amazing, hugely talented writers, and have their support in return, and I couldn’t recommend it enough. The writing community can help you feel less alone in a hobby/career/lifestyle that is often isolated.

It’s helps you grow as a writer
Beta reading encourages you to look at what works and what doesn’t in a story. It has you spotting typos and inconsistencies, considering the pace and tone of a story, and figuring out if the characters and plot are authentic. In doing so, you hone valuable skills that will aid you as you write and edit your own novels.


Have you ever been a beta reader, or perhaps used one for yourself? Share your thoughts and experiences below.

Until then,
Keep writing,
M
x

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24 thoughts on “3 important reasons to become a beta reader”

  1. Being a beta reader was an interesting experience, though I believe I still have a long way to go before I’m nearly as good at it as other people are. Finding someone is definitely a challenge (at least it was for me) and it may not be any different when you “apply” to be one for someone else, because you have to guess if you’re good fit for the book before it’s finalized.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. These are all great reasons for being a beta reader. My question is: how do you find one if you are not currently in a critique group? Friends? Family? I feel like I should be giving something in return which I suppose is reading the beta reader’s work? I’m at that point now in my WIP. I plan to hire a developmental editor but I’d still like to find a willing beta reader.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think one of the keys is to realize that it’s not a competition. Everyone in a group can bring something to the table. When others offer their opinions, we must not take their ideas as criticism. I get invested in my partners’ writing projects too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Anyone can read and give feedback. Does the novel keep your interest? Do you like the characters? Are there any slow parts? That’s the main purpose of a beta reader.

      Catching typos and missing words comes with practice, but technically that’s the editor’s job rather than the beta reader’s. I always note them because I’ve edited professionally and spot them easily. Every little thing helps the author improve the work.

      Beta reader is just trial reader, before the reviewers get their hands on it. If you’re a reader, you’re qualified. Just don’t hold back if something isn’t working. Writers get enough of “everything is awesome!” from friends and family. The beta reader is there to point out when it’s not.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. It guess it depends what the writer is after. Your beta reader may not have any more reading/writing experience than yourself, and different readers will give different feedback. The key is if you trust them to be honest with their feedback.

      Like

  4. Just finished beta reading the first part of a novel for a writer I’ve worked with in a couple of anthologies. It’s going to be awesome! Can’t wait for the next part to come under my critical eye.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh nice, Iโ€™ve never heard of beta readers before nor knew what they were, so this was a pretty educational post for me as well.
    Would love to try it out if I get the chance, it sounds really fun and helpful for both parties

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great article! I’ve been very privileged to be a beta reader for a number of authors and I’ve really enjoyed the experience. It is wonderful when someone trusts you with their book baby. It’s great build that trust and creating a community of writers/readers who support each other

    Liked by 1 person

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