A reader’s perspective on the beta.
Some people garden. Some people play cards. Some people may even go fishing. Finding a way to relax and enjoy the moment, the surroundings, the love of the activity itself and all that it can bring to one’s life is the main purpose of a hobby. What is your favorite activity? Just reading that, I am thinking this sounds like a personal’s ad! Does anyone remember reading those back in the 80’s?! But I digress, like usual, so back to leisure activities. Finding an activity can be fun and exciting, and I am already looking forward to retirement and being as busy as Danielle Zion (check out her awesome travel here)! I mean my dream day would be to sit by the pool and read all day long. Or lounge on my couch and read all day long. Or basically get into any comfortable position and read. All. Day. Long. It is my most favorite leisure activity and has been for a while. Finding a new book, a new author, a new take on a story…all if it. My favorite. And if one enjoys reading, is there a way to contribute back similar to competing in a baking contest, a golf tournament, an art show? How about beta reading?
It’s already established that I love to read, but I mean I read everything in the book. I read the dedication and acknowledgements, the “About the Author,” even who the editor and when the book was published. If you are like me, then you may have read where an author acknowledges one or more Beta Readers. What are these beta readers? Well, they are unpaid (except maybe a complimentary copy of the story) individuals who read through a work-in-progress and provide feedback to the author regarding the plot, character development, information that is missing or doesn’t match between two sections of the story, and/or other bits and pieces to provide the author with an idea of what reader’s will get out of this particular story. You know, maybe catch a few missing pieces before the author sends the work off to a publisher or pays an editor. This would be like a dream come true hobby for a book lover!
So how does one become a beta reader? I was sparked by this idea when I read Harper Bliss’ email blast. She states the following:
Looking for very clever beta-readers!
I haven’t made it easy on my non-academic self by choosing to write about a professor and a Phd student in my next book (the one set in the Cotswolds). To increase my accuracy of university life, I’m looking for very specific beta-readers.
If you went to Oxford University and would like to help me out by beta-reading my book, I would very much appreciate that! If you happened to have done a Phd (DPhil) at Oxford, that would be even more amazing. Please reply to this email if you’re interested. Thank you!
That is pretty specific and I, unfortunately, don’t come even close to qualifying as I’ve never even been to the UK! But if you have the above qualifications this could be a ticket in. But signing up for a favorite authors list-serve might give you a head’s up if they are looking for general beta readers or a specific one and since it is already a favorite author you know you will probably enjoy the work.
How else? Well if you join the Golden Crown Literary Society (check it out here) you can sign up/register to be a beta reader and/or content expert such as the one that Harper Bliss is looking for above. So, if you have some super cool talent: military experience, Park Ranger, personal trainer, or whatever you consider to be your skills, you may be able to help an author bring more authenticity to their work. How cool would that be?!
Another way might be to join some discussion groups. I’ve seen authors post on yahoo groups such as the VirtualLivingRoom asking if anyone was interested in beta reading. Finding groups that post interesting-to-you topics might be a great way to discover an up and coming author needing a beta reader to help them through their first to-be-published story.
As a LesFic reader have you ever noted who some of the beta readers are when you read through the acknowledgments? What do all you amazing reader’s out there think? Would it be fun to be a beta reader? Have you beta read for an author? How was the experience and would you recommend it for book hobbyists? Do you have any secrets or suggestions for becoming a beta reader?
All you LesFic authors out there, do you have certain ways of recruiting beta readers? Do you want certain feedback from your reader’s? What suggestions might you offer to someone to make them a better beta reader for you?
Ahhhh books! They are just so much fun and offer so many possibilities for enjoyment!
CHALLENGE! Can anyone name the title and author of the book that is next to me?