Monday Musings: Do You Want A Beta Reader or An Ass Kisser?

brown_noser

And I ask this question sincerely because I take this responsibility very seriously. Unlike some readers/bloggers/fans, I don’t volunteer or agree to beta read for the free book. I do it because not only am I genuinely curious to see what new fantasy the author has conjured up, but for me personally, it gives me the opportunity to hone in on my editing skills. I am currently enrolled in editing courses, and I am more than proficient in the areas of language (English), spelling, and grammar even though that may be hard to believe if you go back and read some of my posts lol. Trust me, I am. If I spoke “proper” English on this blog all the time, this blog would be boring as hell. I would be bored as hell…

I have been beta reading seriously for about about two years now, and truthfully, it’s been touch and go. Now let’s not get beta reading confused with reading an ARC (advanced read copy) in exchange for an honest review. That book (the ARC) is completed and ready to publish for the most part. When I first started out, I got the two hella confused. I think when I read my first ever ARC, I had some issues with content and grammar and when I contacted the author, she told me Oh, umm, okay, but this book is is about to go to “press”. I wanted to tell her well stop the presses! But then I was like oh shit, she in trouble…

Some authors I’ve beta read for have been very open and receptive to my feedback while others have chosen to ignore it-which is fine. It is your book after all… I even had one author tell me that she felt I was trying to change her vision by all the suggestions I made. I couldn’t decide if I should’ve been offended or amused because she just wasn’t having it. I’m not saying I’m a pro, but some of the same suggestions I made to her were the same ones other readers pointed out in their reviews. I think she ended up pulling that book…

So I conclude with this: Having a professional editor is wonderful if you can afford one, but truthfully, aren’t they mostly checking for mechanics-unless they also happen to be a passionate romance reader as well? Get yourself two or three quality romance novel enthusiasts who’ve read a shitload of books and have reviewed them.  Get some readers who like to talk about how a book makes them feel in addition to the whether they think the characters have chemistry or not, the plot flows, blah, blah, blah… Those are the readers you want on your team because they won’t sugarcoat jack. Don’t just pick all the chicks on your street team or your fangirls who will co-sign any and everything you write regardless. They are not helping you! Would you rather have your team give you constructive criticism before you publish or would you rather get the witch hunt after you publish and everyone trashes your blood, sweat, and tears? I’m just sayin…

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5 thoughts on “Monday Musings: Do You Want A Beta Reader or An Ass Kisser?

  1. Which is exactly why I used you as one of my betas! Why I appreciate our friendship, LOL I knew you would hand my ass to me before my editor did. You and Tamara absolutely came through and were very honest and thoughtful with your critique. I believe I incorporated both your comments into the final version of my story.

    An author has a vision in mind however, the role of a beta is to read the story critically and objectively. Some authors are okay with constructive criticism (I’m one of them) while others, don’t like their work to be nitpicked. I think it’s in an authors best interest to look for a few things in beta readers:

    1. People you trust. Do not ask people you have no rapport with to beta read for you. Sorry to say this… piracy is rampant.

    2. People who will be brutally honest.

    3. People who have a diverse reading pallets. If you stick with the same genres all the time, the reader is not bringing a fresh perspective. Check out what people read on Goodreads.

    4. People who will challenge you but not obscure your vision.

    My .02

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