Today I’m answering questions that I get a lot. I get asked a lot about beta reading so I thought I would explain it and how I work.
What is a beta reader?
A beta reader is someone that reads the book and gives feedback to the author so they can adjust things, fix details, remove or add details. Usually, it’s an unedited version of the book and it’s getting ready to go to the editor.
What a beta reader does
Beta readers are not like regular reviewers. Authors want honest feedback on the books. Sometimes on specific things and they want details on the feedback. Depending on what the author wants will change a bit of what we look for and how we look at it. We don’t read it for enjoyment as much as we would normally. We have to look at it from what most readers like along with what we like.
For example I recently beta read for two authors. One wanted to make sure the flow was good and that the language was fitting for the time. Plus my overall thoughts on the story and if I figured out something in it. The other asked for fresh eyes on a specific character to make sure they were likable. Then she came back with specific questions about certain things that she didn’t want to give away beforehand so I wouldn’t be looking for it.
Sometimes a beta reader will beta read the same book multiple times as changes are made. But there comes a time when they’ve read the book too many times. Just like the authors, we lose the fresh eyes to the book and might not be able to beta it as well.
What’s the difference from an ARC review
ARCs tend to be unedited or proofed like beta reads, but they are very different.
Reviews – You see on my reviews that I tend to be vague on details that aren’t in the blurb. I say my overall thoughts, what I like about the hero and heroine, and favorite scenes without giving away anything. Even with books I didn’t enjoy I try to stay vague so I don’t ruin it while saying what I didn’t like.
Examples: I loved what happened to her father. I didn’t like the heroine because of the way she acted during most of the book. See I don’t like to include details that could give away a plot point.
Beta Reads – Unlike reviews in beta reads there are details, corrections about things, feedback on the way they talk and everything else. We look for plot holes and things that aren’t needed. No sugar coating or overlooking details that might go unnoticed in a review.
Examples: This character doesn’t add to the plot in any way and I don’t feel it’s needed. This name is wrong and such and such part isn’t completed in the end. I love how different this character does this. I don’t find this character to harsh and love it.
How do they beta read?
Most beta readers have a list of things they look for if the author hasn’t given specifics or they use that in addition to the author’s specifics. Beta reading can take longer than a review because we might go back to check something while doing our notes. We also have to stop and write notes at times or highlight an area of the book is using a program to mark certain spots.
What about reviewing the book later?
Now each beta reader is different in how they handle this. Some review based on the beta read and some buy the book later on to review. I personally don’t like the idea of reviewing based on the beta read because there could be changes in the final book. What I do is if it’s a book I would like to review then I buy the book when it comes out and read it again. That way I can read from just a readers point of view and enjoy it. I’m not looking for details and taking notes.
I hope this helps you understand beta reading/