Beta Readers Love Me; They Love Me Not: Beta Readers or Therapists? (part 3 of 6)

by Moira Murphy, eMoon Author

So, now you’ve received your feedback from the beta readers. Visualize it. You are sitting in your favorite green reading chair, okay so that might be just me… anyway, you’re sitting in your favorite reading spot. You have compiled all of the comments and critiques into a handy dandy manila folder.

therapy blocks

Take a deep breath.

Hold it in.


Now before you open that folder, I must warn you: you can never be fully prepared for comments on your work. You may think you are, but I promise, you are not. It’s going to hurt, even if the majority of the comments are positive, just one of the negative comments can destroy you. As mentioned in the previous blog; to creative types, our art is our soul. It is at our core, the deepest parts of our psyche, a part of us.  More than that; it IS us. And when someone has the slightest of constructive criticisms, it’s salt in the wound we didn’t know we had.

Okay, open the folder.

In my folder, I received all sorts of feedback; not in depth enough, too knit picky, just not into the genre, loved it, hated it, didn’t even bother to read it at all, etc. I got one of each, and the most helpful beta reader came from the person I was hesitant to ask.

We will call her… Sarah. Sarah is a very nice, very kind, good friend of mine. She loves to read, especially fiction. My one concern with Sarah is that she wouldn’t be able to be mean if necessary. After all, she didn’t have the smallest of mean bones in her body. Surprisingly, Sarah gave me the best feedback out of the group. She stayed away from grammar and punctuation edits, and gave me helpful suggestions, rather than offering unhelpful “this doesn’t work” comments. She went in-depth enough, yet she was kind in her criticisms. She had sticky notes, high lighter and red pen marks; it was ominous… and great!

I think the most helpful part of the whole experience was the physical meeting I had with a few of the beta readers. Being able to have a conversation about the manuscript was productive. Doing so helped to bring questions to ask them to my mind. I was able to examine the queries I had been wondering myself, but was too afraid to confront.

Being that open with someone, in person, about a piece of myself was absolutely terrifying and yet, so liberating and beneficial.

Who needs a therapist when you have beta readers critiquing the physical copy of your life?