Writer’s Craft #114 Getting the most out of a beta read
It can be nerve wracking to get feedback on something you’ve spent weeks, or years, working on, but getting feedback on your writing can be invaluable. Here are some tips to help make the process easier:
1. Pick the right people for the story. Only ask people whose opinions you respect and who read the genre or subject matter that you’ve written about.
2. Have at least one cheerleader. Their job is to point out all the good things about the story. You’ve worked hard, created something new, and it’s good to celebrate that!
3. Set a reasonable timeline for receiving feedback and ask if your readers can commit to the timeline before agreeing to read.
4. If you have a preference for the type of critique, ask for it. Do you want comments on every chapter or a close line by line read? Do you want readers to focus on the overall plot or point out all your grammatical sins? Setting expectations saves time for everyone involved.
5. Remember, any feedback you received is not personal. No story is ever perfect, even if it has gone through multiple rounds of feedback. Your readers are trying to help you make your stories better and graciously donating their time to do so.
A great way to thank your readers is to return the favor. Or better yet, earn good karma by volunteering to read without expecting anything in return. Someday it will come back to you in one way or another.