This week, I wanted to talk about perhaps the most important part of working with beta readers- etiquette.
For writers, beta readers are among the first people to read their completed novel. There’s a lot of trust involved, from both parties. And it’s important to keep up an open line of communication from beginning to end.
Here are some quick tips for both writers and beta readers to help make the most out of your beta reader experience.
For the writer
- Do thank your betas’ for their time
- Do ask for clarification on comments if needed
- Do consider every comment/piece of advice carefully.
- Do respect your beta readers opinions
- Don’t get defensive after reading harsh critique
- Don’t insult your beta readers ability
- Don’t ignore your beta readers advice/comments
- Don’t argue if you disagree with any points
For the reader
- Do be honest with your feedback
- Do inform the writer of any delays you might have regarding deadlines
- Do give constructive criticism.. Critique, but include some praise as well
- Do follow the writers guidelines regarding what they’re looking for
- Don’t accept to beta read if you can’t fully commit/ don’t have the time
- Don’t insult the writers ability
- Don’t push your personal opinions/pet peeves regarding genre etc onto the story
- Don’t give feedback without explaining why you liked/didn’t like something
Beta reading is an important, responsible task. It’s a great way to make connections within the writing community and helps both parties improve their writing skills. Especially if it’s done right.
Have any of you ever been a beta reader, or had one read for you? How has that experience helped you with your writing?
You can read the first three parts of Working with beta readers here:
Good thoughts and happy writing!