Thursday, June 9, 2011

CM Smith & Beta readers

CM Smith asked how do you know if the Beta reader is any good. (It's pretty bad when Blogger won't allow me to post a comment to my own blog, but yes, it has happened, so I'll answer it as a post.)

That's a good question, one I never thought about. I guess I assumed the person would be good. But you know what assume means. My quick answer is that the intermediary would know good people to ask to read your work. But, I suppose that's no guarantee the Beta reader would be good.

A further elucidation of a Beta reader is that the best Beta readers are not writers. They are just people who love to read books. They are not critiquing your work. They're just answering the question as to whether they liked your book and what they liked about it, or vice versa. In other words, they are representative of the general reading public that does not write books. It's certainly not science. It's subjective feedback that attempts to be objective.


Deb Shucka said...

I also think the less connected a Beta reader is to the writer, the better their feedback.

Tanya Reimer said...

Good point, there is a difference between a beta reader and a crit partner.

Ann Best said...

That total objectivity is crucial.

I'm sending you an email. I finally wrote a review of your stories. I'm so proud of myself.

Yes, Blogger. I've almost got my WordPress set up to start posting there and getting those who want to keep following me to come over. I need to write a couple of good articles. I hope I can do that this weekend.

I've printed out the interview you had on May 18th with Tanya. I've become aware, as you say in the interview, that yes, most writers' blogs are about writing. I've been hearing about writing since I was a kid. I want to branch out.

I would like to post my review of your stories, if that's okay, and then put in a link to this interview. So, I'm now heading to my mailbox.

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

I never thought about the distinction between a beta reader and a critique partner. I think it's necessary to have good writers read your work, because not only can they tell if it's a good read, but they can suggest ways to make it better. But then, yes, after thinking about it, it probably is good to get someone to read it simply as a reader. I do have a couple of those, thankfully. And event though they are friends, they know to be ruthless while reading my WIP and mark anything that bumps them. And they DO! :-) I don't know how you would find a beta reader that doesn't know you well, unless you hire someone to edit your work. (I've done that too, and that's been helpful.)