Nov. 11, 2017

Benefits of Beta Readers for Authors

The Benefits of Beta Readers for Authors

 A Beta Reader is a person who reads and critiques a book or part of a book before finalizing for editing. They are not people who are expected to tell you how wonderful a writer you are.

 Nine beta readers critiqued my next book written as Chris Clarke, ‘Blood-Axe, the saga of a 21st Century Viking’, prior to sending it to Bob Brashers for editing. It was a tremendously helpful process.

 Selecting Beta readers is an important process. Careful choices give better results.

 The criteria should include:

- All should have well developed critical facilities, be literate and no tendency to give false praise.

-Those with specialist or technical knowledge of important areas in your book.

- A spectrum of the types in your target audience.

- Persons with interesting and informed perspectives on books. Book club members are useful.

 The benefits include:

1. identification of areas that need:

  - clarification or further explanation

  - elimination of unnecessary repetition and unnecessary text

  - improvement of technical issues, e. g police and legal procedures, description and                             suitability of weapons, geographic descriptions or political and business processes.

2. Improvement opportunities for:

   - Characters

   - Dialogue

   - Writing style

 There is much more. In the case of Blood-Axe, I changed the plot in several ways; eliminated an unnecessary character; added to descriptions of characters and their feelings; changed the description of a maximum-security prison based on a newspaper article sent by a reader; altered a piece set in an electronics factory clean room, based on someone who worked in one and much else.

 Others might benefit from Beta readers to improve their work. The process is not for those who are defensive; are convinced of their unerring genius or are insecure and want only praise. You can ignore some advice. What is on the page remains yours.