1. A J Phillips

    A J Phillips Active Member

    Jun 24, 2015
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    Seeking Beta Reader

    Discussion in 'Collaboration' started by A J Phillips, May 9, 2019.

    Through the process of trying to navigate the maze of brainstorming to publication, I've heard the term beta-reader quite often. If there is truly a such thing, I would appreciate any insight as to acquiring one (free, if possible). My piece stands at around 15k words, and I really want that knight in literary armor to tell me all my work is meaningful and has potential to be published. Its the largest chronological section of my novel I have. If anyone here would be interested in a long critique (the story is decent, promise) please reach out! But in the meantime, any advice as to finding a beta reader?
  2. Partridge

    Partridge Active Member

    May 30, 2017
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    Cambridgeshire, UK
    Just ask people! Put a shout out on social media, see if anyone here wants to read it. I don't think there's a "set" way of getting betas.
    But make sure they have some modicum of knowledge about books and publishing, or are at least an avid reader. I didn't pay anyone a penny to read my work. Why should I? At the end of day I'm giving them a free book!

    However - what you don't want is somebody who will just tell you that it's amazing. Knights in shining armor are not your friends at this stage. Anyone can do that, you'd don't any special knowledge, or need to apply any real effort to say "I REALLY LIKED IT LOL AMAZING". That isn't useful either. The purpose of a beta reader is to tell you how it can be improved - because it's better that beta readers pick your work apart to tell you what's bollocks about it, what doesn't make sense and where they got bored than for an agent to pick it apart and make the same findings.
    If you are self publishing certainly make sure you get as many honest opinions as possible, because there's no gate keeper to tell you that you need to put more work in.

    I'm sure your book is great - you've come a long way just by finishing something - but nobody ever gets anything right first time.

    Sorry if I'm sounding breath takingly arrogant here, I'm just trying to help you.

    By the way: what is your genre?
  3. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Contributor

    Sep 17, 2017
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  4. Hammer

    Hammer Senior Member

    Oct 28, 2018
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    I think Beta readers generally look at whole works rather than sections, and it isn't really their role to tell you whether your work is meaningful and has potential to be published; their role is to look at the work and tell you which bits they found confusing, which characters fell flat or were over-played, whether they were left scratching the bean at any gaping plotholes that you may have overlooked etc. and to do that they only really need to be readers, nothing specialised. Is it fit for purpose? Is it a good read?

    One of the best results I have had with betas - and certainly something I will revisit - was giving a completed work to a friend's book-club; one of these groups that choose a "book of the month", go away and read it, then come back and discuss it over a glass of wine. Terrifying but invaluable.

    If you are concerned about smaller chunks and the actual voice/characterisationn/skill of execution, you can put sections up for critique in the workshop.
    Thundair and Partridge like this.
  5. EFMingo

    EFMingo Active Member

    Nov 10, 2014
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    San Diego, California
    I can help as a beta reader. I take a while, since I'm quite busy at work and school right now, but I do perform the read and try to give a solid review. Just let me know what you're looking for and I'll help out.

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