A Blog of Writing Tips, Interviews, Thoughts on the Writing Process, Book Reviews, Blog Hops, and Things NESCBWI Conference Related.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Why a Trusted Beta Reader is a Valuable Addition to Your Toolbox!

You’ve completed your manuscript, edited and revised, read it aloud, and now you want to have a trusted reader complete a beta read.

As a writer, I crave feedback from my peers. I want honesty. I want to know what works and what doesn’t. Which all boils down to having another writer to be my beta reader.

Most writers understands that criticism isn’t about the person, but the manuscript. But, sometimes getting criticism is painful (I remember one very specific occasion where I cried) and can be very difficult to hear. Even for a seasoned, well-critiqued writer.

I want honest and well thought out feedback from someone who recognizes structure, story arc, dialogue, developing characters, plot, and who the intended audience is. Their constructive criticism will empower my creativity and bring with it a desire to continue revising until I get it right.

There are numerous ways to find a trusted reader. Recently, I found a writer who does all of this for me. We’ve swapped manuscripts a few times now. I have learned so much about my writing by reading and offering feedback to her about her work.

I have known her for several years and we first met as members of a critique group. I contacted a critique group that was listed on the NESCBWI.com critique group page. They were looking to grow the group but after a short time the group disbanded. To this day, she and I laugh about it. What I ended up with was a wonderful beta reader and a super writer friend. A girl can get lucky!

You might already be a member of a writer's group. But a fresh reader, someone who hasn't heard all about your struggles with the story is essential when you are preparing for a final round of revision before sending your manuscript to agents or editors.

Do you have a beta reader? if so, how did you find them? I'd love to hear you suggestions and tips.


  1. Beta readers are invaluable. They can pick out the flaws in my work and steer my rewrites in a different direction. They are a must! I've found mine through cultivating friendships. Either face to face or through blogging and eventually one of just asks. :)

  2. Thank you for this post. I've been wanting to know more about beta readers.

    The Write Soil