Beta Reader Group discussion

How many betas do you use?

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message 1: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Sewell (nic0lesewell) | 27 comments I have a fantastic CP and two friends who live out of state that have been reading my WIP for me, but I'm wondering if that's enough. My CP provides really helpful feedback and suggestions when something is iffy and honestly, my story wouldn't be half of what it is without her help. However, my friends always come back with the same positive comments and don't really offer much criticism so I'm not sure they even count as beta readers.
How many beta readers do you use? I don't want to have an army of people beta reading for me because makes me nervous.

message 2: by K.P. (last edited Jul 27, 2014 10:40AM) (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 129 comments I'm lucky if i get one or two. Most people couldn't be bothered and I usually get *zero*. I can't find any betas here since I don't write straight genre fiction and a few who pick up are always DNF, so usually I post my drafts on booksie, read other people's works and hope they read and rate mine in return. it's a looong process... and usually I get maybe one or two. never a lot like others on here. >_>

message 3: by Bobbi (new)

Bobbi Schemerhorn (bobbi_schemerhorn) | 7 comments I like to have three betas but like you Nicole I get a lot of positive feed back. (not that's a bad thing) but I know there have to be a few places to work on.

I have done beta reading for a few people and they all said they enjoyed my feedback. I am very and I mean very critical with my feedback.

I am more than happy to beta for you, but it needs to be a completed MS. I don't edit, and because I have my own writing to do, I can't do a week turn around. Meaning I would need at least two weeks.

message 4: by Allison (new)

Allison Newchurch (allisonnewchurch) | 18 comments I'd like a couple more. Had one who gave me great feedback, but it would be nice to get another take on it.

I've not given my novel to friends. I don't think there's any point, they won't say what they truly feel for fear of hurting your feelings/friendship.

Bobbi, if you're after something, I've got a novel "womens fiction" if you are interested. Give me a yell if you are. I don't need feedback till late September.

message 5: by Kelsey (last edited Jul 28, 2014 07:27AM) (new)

Kelsey (kelsey_simon) | 103 comments I'd say defiantly more than three or four. I probably had six for my first round of beta's. Then after those changes, went on to a writing group (of completely different people) that is five people strong. The problem is, everyone is going to give you different feedback on different things. Usually you need more than one or two or even three because you need a way to go, did everyone think this about this scene, and then to go through and see. Generally if a couple people say change it, you gotta change it. If only one person says change it, then you might not need to.

Also, and I'm sorry if I upset someone by saying this, that is not my intention, but other writers tend to make the best beta readers, at least in my opinion. Not that there aren't amazing exceptions to that rule, but usually, if a beta has tried to write something themselves they understand a little bit more of the technical stuff, and will have stronger input to give you. And for similar reasons, doing beta swaps with another author can be extremely profitable for decent feedback. If you are giving feedback on something they wrote, they tend to look at your work with a more critical eye. This writing group I've gotten into is probably the best thing ever, because everyone there is a writer and we all read and comment on 40 page chunks of each others work at a time, meeting to discuss things we didn't or did like.

I also agree with Ladybee. Friends aren't the best. They have personal connections to us, so won't be honest in fear of upsetting you. And beware the friend who goes oh ya I'll totally read it, you send it to them, and all they say was it was good. They might not even have read it, but felt obligated to pretend they did. I can think of at least three or four friends of mine who had me send it to them, knowing full well they weren't going to touch with a ten foot stick.

-- added later-
I also just wanted to say, at the time of my first round of beta-ers, my MS was not a first draft. I don't think you'll get the feedback you need or want unless the MS has at least seen one person (like a great CP, which I had) who will help work through it with you, and that you've at least taken the time to go through it yourself (thoroughly). I feel like often (I've done this!!!) newer writers go looking for beta-er's before their book is really ready for it. And then you either get DNF's, really negative feedback, or you can't even get people interested in reading it.

sorry for the long post :(

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