But that doesn’t mean it will shine tomorrow on Amazon’s bestseller list. 🙂
There’s a long road still ahead.
At this stage my book is written and self-edited, but what I now need is a second pair of eyes (or several of them). So before I give the book to an editor, I need to get input from beta-readers.
Who are beta-readers?
They are the first readers to read the book after an alpha-reader (which in this case is me, the author). Beta-readers give you the first feedback from a reader’s point of view: someone who doesn’t know all the little twists I’ve placed in my plot, someone who still needs to meet and get to love my characters and someone who doesn’t know the ending.
Ideally, these should not be friends or family, but because this is my first book, they’ll need to be.
The problem here is that a beta-reader needs to tell me the unfiltered truth, even if it means a lot of changes and a lot of new writing for me, it should still not prevent them giving me such feedback. Friends and family most likely won’t tell me the whole truth, because they just don’t want to hurt me. Or, they think it’s simply just great that I wrote a book at all, and that anything I write will pass.
Nevertheless, I think even biased beta-readers will still give me good pointers if there’s more writing I need to do or if there are some major changes I need to introduce, particularly if most of them come up with the same comments.
Getting the feedback “It’s great!” is as useful as getting the feedback “It sucks…”, so here are the things I am interested to find out from my beta-readers:
- General rating (1-10)
- Suitability of the title and subtitles
- Good parts (chapters/ sections) and why?
- Bad parts (chapters/ sections) and why?
- Do dialogs flow well? If not, what is missing?
- What are the questions that come up? Are they answered later on?
- Is there something they don’t understand (place, person, technology used etc)?
- Logic mistakes (green eyes in chapter 1 and blue eyes in chapter 9)
- Are they happy with physical description of people? Do they “see” them?
- Do they “see” the place and the world I have described? What else would they like to know about this world?
- Do they think some things are rushed or they’d like to know more about what is happening between “events” 2 and 3?
- Are some parts too long and boring? Which ones?
- Can they relate to the main characters?
- Do they understand the plot questions? Are they interested in their revelation? Are the answers revealed at a right time? Do they understand them?
- Do they want to know what happens next?
- What do they think of the ending?
Not all of the points will/should/can be covered by each beta-reader, but based on these guidelines, they can choose themselves which things they feel most strongly about and what they think should be commented on.
So, my beta-readers will have some work to do and I’ll have them read this post before they agree to be a beta-reader for me! ;-p
Anyone else out there interested to see the raw manuscript?