Tuesday, April 2, 2013

B is for Beta Readers

by Kim Van Sickler

They look over your manuscript, hopefully because they care about you and want you to succeed. The best ones manage to encourage and critically evaluate at the same time. Does the story flow naturally? Is the main character likeable or at least someone you want to read about? Is the dialogue realistic? What ideas jump out at them to improve what you've already slaved over?

When you find a beta reader who appreciates what you have to say, and takes the time to offer insightful comments that make your story better, grab hold of them with both hands and don't let go. Make sure you return the favor and read through their stories as carefully as they did for you. Or, if they are not writers themselves, pay them in another way: bake cookies, send a gift card, design and mail a heartfelt thank-you.

Whatever you do, don't let them get away. A good beta reader is worth her weight in words.



  1. Yes, beta readers are so essential as part of your revision process. Great choice for B.

  2. Hi there! I agree, Beta Readers are a great help, especially when you consider the time they've dedicated to your work.
    I've bookmarked your blog to follow you on the AtoZ Challenge!

  3. Very true. Stopping by from A-Z.

  4. Amen Sister and I try to be a good one too

  5. We get so close to our own work that we need that extra set of eyes & new perspective from a Beta reader. Nice post, Kim.

  6. I'm still trying to find beta readers, after some disappointing, short-lived experiences with would-be betas. For whatever reason, it's really hard to find other historical writers in the writing blogosphere. I feel that if I wrote, say, fantasy, paranormal, or contemporary, I'd quickly get a lot of beta offers.