Working with Beta-Reader Comments

Encouragement Writing


I’ve always enjoyed beta-reading, but this month I got to experience the other side of it–being beta-read! (Er, my book being beta-read, but it’s pretty much the same.) 😉

I had gathered my team and sent out numerous emails to get my metaphorical ducks in a row. Document access? Check. Email detailing what I was looking for? Sent. Short questionnaire for specific feedback? Done.

But I still wasn’t quite ready for the stretching, frightening, and utterly helpful criticism. Everything I learned can be boiled down to two things to keep in mind.

  1. It’s your story. Don’t ever feel guilty about turning down beta-reader suggestions! You wrote this story. The characters, style, plotline, etc. all belong to you. While it is great to hear what other people have to say, never feel forced to do it. Take their comments with a grain of salt and a spoonful of sugar.
  2. It won’t always be your story. Once you hit publish, your book belongs to the imaginations of your readers. If your beta-readers find a glaring plot hole, hate a flat characterization, or don’t understand a scene, you can be certain the two-star-wielding Goodreads grumps will point it out. Listen. Especially if two or more of your team agree, it’s time to take out your x-ray vision, roll up your sleeves, and see if you can improve something.

Those are my thoughts on keeping things in perspective while working with beta-readers! Do you have any tips to share?

3 thoughts on “Working with Beta-Reader Comments

  1. Oh yes… beta readers!!!! Listening is always a HARD thing to do! But I definitely agree about how to consider others’ advice and not necessarily take it all. 🙂 There isn’t really too much to add… except that be patient for your beta-reader list to grow AND then limit it. 😉 You don’t want 30 opinions (trust me… I think I had 15 for Slipper and it was HARD on my brain to go through all of them; not because of their comments, but because it was so many documents). Ah… one thing to add… learn your beta-readers. Having my third novella beta-read, I’m learning which “beta-readers” just say, “Good story, I liked it” (sorry, you’re a reviewer, not a beta-reader) and which give good insight. And this comment feels scatter-brained. 😛 Sorry!!! 😀

    1. Oh, wow those are some good ones! I ended up having five or six beta-readers this time around and it seemed to be the perfect amount for my brain to handle. 😉

      I like what you said about learning who would be a good beta-reader and who would be a good reviewer. I’ll have to keep that in mind for my next book…

      Thanks for sharing! 😀

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