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Chromosome Warrior (Chromosome series #3)
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Archived Author Help > Beta Readers?

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message 1: by Nathan (new) - added it

Nathan Gregory | 2 comments While writing the previous book in my 'Chromosome Quest' series, I enlisted a team of "beta readers" from among my friends on FB and elsewhere. It worked well enough, but I sometimes sensed that there might be reluctance at times to tell me when I've made a silly blunder. Not that I'm looking to be beat up for every misplaced comma, but still....

So here's the question. Who makes the best beta readers? Strangers or friends?

The third book in the saga is currently under construction, the 'preview' on my page has the currently finished pieces. It is a little bit early yet to get too involved with 'beta readers' but I do want to explore the best way to go about it and begin the process of recruiting. I am not so much looking for simple proof-reading (those annoying misplaced commas, I mean, although those need to be caught too) but a more in-depth sort of thing, plot holes, inconsistencies, improbabilities, shallow characters, jargon and colloquialisms and so on.

If anyone wishes to read the preview, offer commentary on the selection and use of beta readers or volunteer to be a beta reader, please do.


message 2: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Hi Nathan,
To answer your first question, it would seem that strangers might have an easier time ripping your book apart, but a good friend who is not timid and has your best interest at heart is probably going to do a more thorough job.

As for your request, we have a workshop folder where you can ask for beta readers, critiques, etc, but know that we offer beta reading as a service to those who subscribe to the website www.supportindieauthors.com


message 3: by Nathan (last edited Nov 22, 2015 06:36PM) (new) - added it

Nathan Gregory | 2 comments Thank you, I was not aware of the workshop. I will look into it. As I said, it is still very early in the process, very little is written yet, about three chapters I think, and even those are a bit rough and subject to change.

My intent is to place updates on the page from time to time and invite Goodreads members to read it. Not as formal beta readers, but merely as interested Science Fiction fans. Perhaps someone who is casually skimming it will raise questions that everyone else overlooks.

Thanks for the response.

Nathan


message 4: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Nathan wrote: "So here's the question. Who makes the best beta readers? Strangers or friends?"

In my experience, it's not a question of whether it's strangers or friends. When we employ beta readers, we are managing a team, just like any other team. We, as authors, set the goals, objectives and expectations for that team. We need to communicate those to the team and we need to evaluate their responses in view of the "larger picture" -- which we (the authors) pretty much have sole possession and ownership of.

So I think the question is: who do you want on your team?


message 5: by Frederick (new)

Frederick Finch | 99 comments From my humble experience, strangers make better beta readers, with exception of my dear friends Andrei and "Grandmama", who didn't spare words. Thanks to all!


message 6: by Frederick (new)

Frederick Finch | 99 comments Also, from beta reader I expect only honest opinion of the plot, characterization, description, style, general experience...
For everything else there is editor.


message 7: by Charles (new)

Charles | 148 comments Owen wrote: "Nathan wrote: "So here's the question. Who makes the best beta readers? Strangers or friends?"

In my experience, it's not a question of whether it's strangers or friends. When we employ beta reade..."


IMO, Owen nailed it. As the author, you have the responsibility to set clear parameters regarding expectations from your beta readers--what specific things are you particularly interesting in hearing from them, while making it clear that any and all comments they have will be appreciated and that you want honesty above all else. It's that "I'm not sure this worked," or "It seems to me that. . ." comment that might just give you the clue you need to rewrite a section of the work and turn it from also-ran into sterling.


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