Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Do you use beta readers?

I'm finishing up the final minor revisions on my book The Rules of You and Me, which will be released on June 24. With this book I have been very thankful for the feedback of my beta readers. Do you use beta readers in your writing?

Beta readers can be extremely helpful in pointing out things that don't make sense in your story. As the authors, we have intimate knowledge of the characters and the history that don't always make it into the story. And while certain things may make sense to us, we may not have included enough information or motivation into the story for it to make sense to other people. Beta readers can help us figure out where we need more information. They can also help you determine whether characters are developed enough or whether your story line makes sense.

How do you find beta readers? All of mine are people I know online, though I had the chance to meet one in person at a conference a few years ago. Three of them I found when I formed an online critique group and put out an open call on an email group I'm part of. The other one I met through the Sims 2 online community because we're both addicted to the game. We ended up becoming friends through our shared interest and discovered that we're both writers. All of my beta readers are writers and I think this helps because they understand the development of plot and characters and foreshadowing. But your beta readers don't have to be writers! If you have a friend or family member who is a great reader and who can provide you with an honest opinion, they can make a great beta reader.

So what about you? Do you have a beta reader you can trust to help you out with your works in progress? If not, have you considered ever using one?

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