Beta Readers: Pros & Cons (Part I-CONS)

As great, and as much as I sing the praises of Beta Readers, they do have a downside.

Beta Readers are the best weapon you can have for a new work especially when they read and get back to you. Beta Readers are the best when they read your work and get back to you. The crucial thing to remember is that communication is essential to any draft or revision.

If you give your baby that your carried for almost a year, and turn them over to someone your trust, only to have them tell you they have nothing else to tell you? Even after they have been with your child all day? You would be a little suspicious and a lot aggravated. You would think the horrible and the impossible all at once! The main thing you may think is:

“Did they even pay attention?”

The same with Beta Readers. The best Beta Readers are engaged, they are excited to read your work, give feedback and even criticism! As the writer, as the creator of any work, your primary job is to protect your work. Your job is to revise and finish your own work.

Think of a WIP (Work In Progress) as baking a cake. All the ingredients go into the batter:  milk, sugar, butter and flour. There are elemental things that go into it which are not to be disputed. A WIP requires imagination, time, a draft and a reader. These things are immutable.

One of the best metaphors I heard in regards to having an editor or another reader was:  “Would you do you own eye surgery?”

If you’re a rational, wise person, you wouldn’t. This means that you can’t always see what is the best thing to do! But this element of the draft process can only work if the readers do their jobs!

Beta Readers have to be engaged. They have to value your time, your intention and you work. If they cannot do that, if they will not do that, don’t trust them with your work.

You wouldn’t trust your baby with just anyone. A WIP is the same way! Don’t trust your baby to someone that can’t won’t talk to you. Those are the ones whom are most likely to take your work. Be ware. You’ve been warned.

Protecting The Work: Integrity In Chosing Beta Readers

The most important thing for Beta Readers is not the reading.

No, it’s not a joke.

Yes, I’m serious.

The most important thing for a Beta Reader is not to steal your work. Even if it’s a rough draft.

In choosing your Beta Readers, the best advice is to keep your number small and composed of people you trust. It also doesn’t hurt to have your Beta Readers sign a contract that dictates not to share/plagiarize the work you show them.

Intellectual property is still property! It needs to be protected to the fullest extent of the law.

Take pride in your work! Protect it.

There is nothing worse than having your work stolen by the very people you believed you would trust with it.

[image from ad-Martin.com]

The Ears And Eyes: Why You Should Consider A Beta Reader

I love to call beta readers personal superheroes.

Beta readers are the those special group of people whom are anxious to read your work, with no other motivation than to read. It is glorious!

As a writer, beta readers can become your allies and secret weapons! Don’t discount them! They can be the difference between a wonderful revision or a barely tolerable rough draft.

As a writer,  it is easy to think (and believe) that the only person whom needs to read your work is you. It is easy to think that drafts, freewrites only need to be seen by your eyes.

This is a two-edged sword.

On one hand:  there are certain projects you may not want to be seen or read yet. They may not be ready, complete or even read over (Every writer is guilty of drafts that we forget are there!).

What Is A Beta Reader?

According to Wikipedia:

A beta reader is usually an unpaid test reader of an unreleased work of literature or other writing, who gives feedback from the point of view of an average reader to the author.

Note: A beta reader is not a professional and can therefore provide advice and comments in the opinions of an average reader.

Let me make this clear, to publish or become published, you don’t need to have a beta reader.

Let me also make this clear: beta readers are a tool and Shekinah Glory Writing Services is a fan of beta readers!

Beta readers are a great, living addition to your writing tool kit. They can give honest opinions and observations about what you’ve written. They can be just as passionate about your characters as you are. They can ask questions of you to pull out more story–sometimes parts you didn’t think about!

Beta readers are the unsung heroes of revising and drafting! Don’t believe me? Ask Stephen King. It was his wife, Tabitha, that rescued a novel from the trash because she liked what she read! That novel was Carrie.

Keep writing dear ones!