A couple weeks ago, we had a blog that discussed how to get beta readers for your book. Hopefully, you will take that advice and get some readers for your novel. Now, it’s time to learn how to be a great beta reader for other authors.
- Be honest: You will be wasting your time, as well as the author’s time, if you are not completely honest when providing your opinion. Your honest advice will lead to a better story, which is the purpose of beta readers.
- Critique the writing, not the author: As a beta reader, you should focus on what to improve in the writing without criticizing the author. As an author, it is hard enough to hear negative comments about something you worked hard on, so don’t make it worse by attacking the author.
- Provide specific advice: The writer needs to know the specifics in order to be able to make the appropriate changes. Don’t just say that a section needs to be improved, say how it could be improved. General comments such as, “This part doesn’t work” will not help. Instead include a more specific comment explaining why that section doesn’t fit in with the overall story.
- Give praise: Being a beta reader means pointing out the good and the bad. If there are particularly strong parts in the book, make that known to the author. That will help the author focus on what is working, which can be used to improve the whole book.
- Know the target audience: You may not be the intended reader for a particular book, so keep that in mind when reading and offering suggestions. Put yourself in the shoes of the target reader for the book in order to give useful advice.
With these tips, you are on your way to becoming the best beta reader a writer could ask for.