Saturday, March 5, 2011

Beta Time!

After hundreds of hours of writing and editing, my story has finally reached that time: beta reader time. Prolem is, I don't know much about beta readers. I know what they are. What they do. A few sites on where I can start looking for them. But that's really about it.

I plan to finish my last pre-beta round of editing tonight or tomorrow, and I would like to try to find a few beta readers by next friday. (I leave to go to London for spring break on saturday. Woot woot! Hence the deadline...)

What I would like to know is what is your experience with beta readers? Have you used beta readers? Would you like to? Where did you find them? Your shared experience is greatly appreciated.

<3 Gina Blechman.

P.S. If you want to know more about my story and are interested or know someone who would be interested in being a beta reader for me, feel free to check out my "back cover story"


  1. Beta readers are *incredibly* helpful. Without mine, getting to the point where my manuscript was polished and ready would have been impossible. Good luck finding a few! I recommend having 3 -- that way you get a diverse set of opinions without it being too contradictory or overwhelming.

  2. Congrats on reaching that point!! I wish I was there myself, SO badly. :P

  3. Beta readers - like critique partners - are essential (IMO). You're starting in exactly the right spot - asking your followers. Specifically, asking those who have expressed an interest in your novel excerpts and the overall story.

    I've had a few beta's - not all at the same time - and I can say it is not an easy or instant process. You have to have patience with the reader; and also be open to whatever feedback you get. Doesn't mean you have to agree or make those changes; it just means you have to be gracious in accepting the opinions. Depending on the reader style, some do a quick read and tell you if they liked it overall, and others (like myself) give an indept critique. You have to know - and tell the reader - what level of feedback you are willing to accept.

    I haven't frequented your blog enough to get a sense of your story. I'm not a YA reader, usually, so I may not be the best reader for you. Check out my blog and read several back posts before making a decision; but if you want you can e-mail me the premise of your story (what you hope to accomplish or the query - minus specific agent/bio info) and a brief synopsis. My e-mail is donnahole at gmail dot com.

    I'd also suggest stopping by The Public Query Slushpile:
    This is a popular query site, but you are also allowed to post your first chapter if you prefer and ask for critiques. I was a frequent critiquer at the site for a while, but have fallen off in the last few months due to a busy schedule.

    There are a lot of excellent authors there. It is hoped that if you post something for critique, you will also give back to the community by reading and critting other submissions. You should label your excerpt as a first chapter, or even submit the query and ask for interested beta's.

    There are many authors at the site looking for beta's also, and perhaps a few partnerships could be formed.

    In my sidbar on my blog is a section titled writing and critiquing resources. Three sites I'd recommend are Nathan Bransford's forums, Agent Query forums, and critxchange.

    Good luck with the Beta hunt . .


  4. Beta readers are crucial and very beneficial to helping me in the process of my writing. I have had several and the feedback has been phenomenal. I have also used Beta Reader Central forum at Writer's Digest to work with some betas. It is a wonderful environment where they welcome you in with open arms and you can post the type of novel you wrote and those who are interested will respond. Hope this helps.

  5. I thought my mss was complete and submitted and received an R as fast. Sending the same mss to a beta reader taught me. Hey L'Aussie in our crusader group started a critique network.

  6. I know about as much as you do about beta readers, probably less! I'm interested in your work but don't usually read dystopian so not sure if I'd be useful as a beta reader? I am keen to read your novel though so have a think about it! :-)

  7. Hi there. Congrats on getting to this point and thanks Nas for the shout out. Critiquing is so important. I haven't got any further than checking out beta reader sites. Donna has such good advice, trust her.

    I'm getting around to all my crusader group this week.


  8. Good betas--people willing to support your writing AND tell you what needs work--are hard to find, but once you do, they're worth their weight in gold. Literally!

  9. I don't know much about betas, I just assume they're much like critique partners, but they usually aren't so much into the big picture of your writing, just the current book you asked them to read. They'll read it, give you feedback, and whatnot. That's just my guess. And I'd be more than happy to be a beta. :D

  10. Morning,

    I have read a couple of early works of a few of my friends. I would really suggest that BEFORE they offer and you get all excited that you make sure they will "like" or at least understand your book. It often read in the same genre. I did a fantasy book for a friend which was great and i 'got' it and could help. I did a 'vampire one' for another (before twilight and it was harder but still ok.) then i did a romance, phew.. that was very hard for me to get through.
    I then read a kids early reader and that was fine as well.

    Do people let the prospective Beta's read the first chapter?? to see if they will work well together?

    I do read dystopian Gina, let me know if you think i can help. I am only a beginner though, but that might not be such as bad thing as your readers probably will be too. - Anyway let me know

  11. I have a critique partner. We exchange our work every day. Critique it. Change it. Exchange it again. That's the process until the book is finished.

    Then we exchange the entire book. Critique it. Change it. Revise. And then set it aside for one week.

    Re-read it. Make necessary changes.


    I've never had a beta reader. The one time I tried a beta reader, she didn't get back to me until my book had already be accepted by my editor.

    So I suspect it depends on how much time you have...

  12. I love my betas and critters - they are the only thing keeping me sane as I try to edit my novel and get it ready to query. They almost never agree on anything, but at least it gives me a few views on what to fix and how to fix it. My betas I've known forever, but my critters I found through NaNoWriMo and the Fiction Groupie Blog.