Beta readers are are non-professionals who read and provide feedback to authors. Beta readers can provide feedback on any number of things such as grammatical errors, discontinuity, plot holes, issues with characters, etc.
Here is an article about what makes a good beta reader.
What is beta reading like?
I recently had my first beta reading experience. I had read an indie author's first book and gave it an honest rating and an honest review. The author contacted me about one of the gripes I mentioned in my review, simply asking me to expand on it, which of course I did. About a month later the author contacted me about beta reading book two in the series. I figured, why not?
|I'm a teacher of course a red pen |
symbolizes feedback to me
The author sent me a word doc so that I could mark it up while I read. I used "comments" and "highlighting" to do this.
Generally speaking as a reader, grammatical errors and typos don't really bother me, sometimes I spot them and sometimes I don't. All in all, I'd say a caught a handful of mistakes - the type where you know what the author meant to say but the wrong word was there and spellcheck didn't catch it because it was spelled correctly. You know, something like "out" instead of "our".
Mostly, my feedback involved my thoughts as a reader. I included questions about things that were not clear and reactions to a few scenes. I maybe identified three things that seemed a little off in terms of consistency.
The author also provided a few questions which I found really helpful and of course I made a point of answering them.
I don't feel like I provided a ton of feedback, but I hope what I did provide was helpful. I enjoyed the experience and found it to be pretty fun. I like that someone got to read my thoughts and that I didn't have to sensor them to avoid spoilers like I do with my reviews. I also enjoyed recording my thoughts while I read and think I might start doing that for all books that I plan to review. I also love connecting with authors and found this new way of connecting to be fun. The one downfall is that I might not get to read the finalized, published version - I mean I guess I could but I doubt I will find the time to re-read something when there is so much on my TBR list.
Would I beta read again? It depends... for an author that I already have a relationship with definitely, other than that I guess it would depend on the book description and what i have going on at the time.
Have you ever served as a beta reader? What was your experience like?
Do you want to be beta reader?