Who are Beta Readers?
At some point in the development of your novel in progress you will benefit from the observations and opinions of writers like you who are willing to read with a critical eye. They are called Beta readers. Perhaps they form a group that is interested in the craft of writing in general, and in the writing efforts of the members of the group in particular. Maybe there is no formal group, and the critical comments are given without any knowledge of what is being said by others. The idea is to provide informed commentary that a writer friend can use or not use at their discretion. In any case, Beta readers are a sounding board. They inform the author as to what is working and what is not working in a novel in progress. They are indispensable.
Difference Between Reviewers and Beta Readers
Do reviewers perform the same function? Maybe not exactly. Reviewers are careful not to reveal too much about the novel, for instance. They often keep themselves above the fray, so to speak, and discuss the work in very general terms. But not always. Lots of reviews that appear in Amazon, Goodreads, and on blogs reflect in a very pointed way why a character doesn’t work for them, where in the book they lost interest, or implausible plot developments, for instance. After a lot of reviews are generated, the author may have some very valuable feedback to think about.
Revisions of Published Work
The comments of Beta Readers may come in time for the author to address problem areas well before the novel is even sent off to an editor. Reviews however appear after publication. In today’s publishing world, especially eBook publishing, and particularly among self published authors, revisions (even major ones) are not out of the question. Traditional publishers would probably not allow a reprint of a hard copy book, or even an eBook. It would be expensive, and it might reflect poorly on the editor. So we’re talking here mainly about self published books, books that have average sales (like, 100 books) but which have been reviewed twenty or thirty times. Why not perform some surgery on it, and put out a better version that just might catch fire?
What are your thoughts on revision?
Thanks for stopping by. I’d love to hear any comment you may have. You can share a comment below or post this entry on your favorite social media website.
Sign-up via the email or RSS option in the sidebar to receive MaineLarryCrane’s latest posts. You can also follow MaineLarryCrane via the various social media platforms listed on this website.