critique

Beta Readers Love Me; They Love Me Not: Round Two! (Part 5 of 6)

By Moira Murphy, Emoon Author


After you have decided on what to keep and what to ignore from your beta readers, the next step presents itself.

Do you use a second round of beta readers?

Well, I suppose that would depend upon how much changed from the first draft to the second draft. For example, if the corrections you made were minuscule, then I’d suggest that your editor could probably finish off the last few steps. However, if the changes from the first to the second draft were a bit more drastic, you may want to consider finding a second round of beta readers. As for myself, the changes from my original manuscript to my second was beyond drastic, therefore I required a round two.  I changed the characters, part of the plot, and even the storyline.

So, if you find yourself in my position of needing a second go around with the beta readers, the question becomes; do you use the same group or find ‘fresh meat’? I feel like you can find out quite a bit about the beta readers editing style from the first round. Using that information will help determine whether a change is required. I kept two of the original beta readers, because of their beneficial comments the first round, but I also hired a few new ones. It really is up to you to determine who offered up valuable feedback, and sadly who did not.  And again, I must repeat the importance of finding the right type of person to read your manuscript: fan of your genre, ability to be firm and kind, willing to be bribed. The right beta reader can be the one thing to perfect your novel.

I’ve just received the final comments from my round two, and while the critiques were much scarcer than the first novel, I am struggling to finish!

After working over a year and a half on this dang book, the last few weeks have been the most difficult to push through. But, now that I have a book launch date (*cough* May 6th *cough*), I kind of have to forge ahead.

So persist, I must. And you must, too.

Beta Readers Love Me; They Love Me Not: Bribing...Err...Finding Beta Readers (part 2 of 6)

By Moira Murphy, emoon author

Now that I’ve discussed the advantages of beta readers, and how great it is for writers, let’s discuss how to find beta readers. I was not going to simply stumble upon the perfect group of beta readers. Of course, it couldn’t be that simple. First, I had to create an internal checklist of qualities I’d appreciate in readers.

  1.  They must have a love of reading, and a love of the author’s specific genre. (I learned this along the way, as I mistakenly chose a beta reader who was not a fan of fictional works. He made me cry.)
  2. They must understand that, while I don’t want them to be completely aggressive, I do actually need criticism. I need to know what didn’t connect in the story and what characters didn’t seem authentic.
  3. But, they also don’t need to crush my soul. I need constructive criticism, not to be beaten to the ground with every comma I forgot. We call it a ‘content edit’ in the publishing world. I want an edit that is not about grammar and punctuation, but about plot, characters, and flow.  And as the author, you need to make that fact known to the beta readers.
  4. Lastly, they had to work for cheap, close to free. Which sounds greedy and mean, but I haven’t become a world-wide success, yet. I need to publish first. (It’s a joke. I’m not a narcissist. Calm down.)

So, I began my quest for proper beta readers.

I found a few beta readers from work and family friends, and I also asked two previous teachers I’d had. I expected an excited ‘yes!’ from everyone I asked. However, I did not receive these. Truth be told, I was asking a good chunk of time out of their lives to read and critique my manuscript. Hence, the bribery. I used Starbucks gift cards for a few of them, promises of signed copies of the final product for others, but for the most part those I asked were kind enough to offer their services as an effort to benefit the world of arts. They knew I was a poor starving artist, with nothing more than hope in my wallet and a pencil in hand, as most people who pursue their artistic dreams are. 

While I was disappointed that I didn’t hear an adamant “of course I will take time out of my busy life to help you perfect your craft” from everyone, those that did answer were very helpful. I talked about how great beta readers were in the part one of this blog, so I won’t go into it again. However, I do want to reiterate how important this experience is for those looking to publish. 

I can’t say give enough positive feedback on the benefits of beta readers… Do it. Do it. Seriously, do it. Do it. 

Continue to follow Moira Murphy through eMoon in her series "Beta Readers Love Me; They Love Me Not" on 1/13/2017: What Do You Do with Beta Reader Feedback?