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.
- 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.
- 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?