When I wrote my first book I didn’t know about beta readers…yes, I was young and stupid. Now, the idea of not having someone read my work before I present it to the world seems as ridiculous as buying a dress without first trying it on. Authors need beta readers to ensure they don’t arrive at the party in a dress that’s two sizes too small. Betas keep it real.
If you’re already using betas, do you simply send out your draft and wait for comments or do you provide questions that will help your betas help you?Here are some questions you can ask your beta readers that will not only get them thinking about your writing in detail, it will also help determine if any editing and rewriting would be beneficial.
* Did the story pull you in from the beginning?
* Did the story hold your interest until the end?
* At any point did you lose interest or stop caring?
Was the main character relatable?
* Were the supporting characters interesting and did they add to the story?
* Did any characters seem unnecessary?
* Was the setting as interesting as the characters? Were the descriptions realistic and detailed?
What part was your favorite?
Was this a book that would keep you up at night reading?
Were there any parts that seemed like they dragged on?
Were there any aspects that seemed repetitive?
Were there any parts that didn’t provide enough detail?
Were there any inconsistencies either in the story’s timeline or in the actions of the characters that didn’t match the story plot?
Were there too many characters to keep track of or were some too similar to each other?
Was the dialogue interesting and natural?
Was the ending satisfying?
* And of course, was the book grammatically sound?
Asking your betas to weigh in with such detailed questions is no doubt opening a can of worms. Chances are, they will find some areas to criticize. But isn’t that the point of having your work read pre-publication? To present your best writing to your readers, take the time to work with your betas. Your ultimate reader will thank you for it.