So you’ve toiled for days, weeks, months, perhaps even years and finally you have a manuscript. Does this mean that you can go ahead and query agents or load it on Amazon to publish? Eh….I mean, you can……but let’s not. First you should get a few more eyes to look at it.
You need Beta readers.
What is a Beta? Look at it this way: you – the author – are the first pair of eyes to look at it (i.e. the Alpha reader) and anyone else who looks at it afterwards is the beta. Simple enough.
But where do you find any?
I’m sure your first thought is to ask friends and family. You are welcome to – however, you should be wary that most of them will only tell you what you want to hear. They mean the best and will probably be telling you the truth about how much they enjoy it. But what you need is feedback that will help you become a better writer.
Despite what Anne Rice says – we need editors no matter how successful (or not) we become.
So if you want to use friends and family – make sure to use the ones who you know will give you advice on improving.
If you don’t want to ask them…
First and foremost – you should find a writing group. You have no idea how helpful being in a group with people you can talk to is. I was part of at least two when I lived in Chicago and I looked forward to every meet. Now that I live in Germany where most people don’t even speak my language nonetheless read and critique – that’s a hard loss on my part.
The best place to go is Meetup.com. That’s where I found my groups and they were wonderful!
But what if you want more Betas or (if you’re like me and not close to a writers group) you need to find Betas at all……the internet is still your friend!
I have found quite a few Betas through Goodreads.com but if you have a manuscript that is over 80k – be prepared to swap. You may have a hard time finding folks wanting to take on a bigger project; however, there are plenty of authors out there who also need Betas so you can both help each other out.
Sorry folks, Abner is not available to beta read at this time…
Every person betas differently. Some may focus on grammar, some with plot, some may point out a few things but may be a good cheerleader. Not all will stroke your ego – but they do mean well and want you to succeed. Honestly, I’m grateful when people take the time to work on my manuscript. They are your audience – they are the best way to gage if your story is working.
I am so grateful for the betas that I have found. Hopefully when I am more established – it will be easier to find more for book 2?
Where do you find betas? How many do you think is a good number?
bis naechste Woche!