It all started here, as I was rambling about how it feels when changes I suggest make it into a manuscript.
Then I thought about the importance of beta readers and blogged about it in my last post: what beta readers have done for me, how their feedback improved my writing. I also asked the question: Why would someone want to spend at minimum four hours to beta read?
Today I decided to blog about what I do as a beta. All betas have different strengths and different pet peeves, and I think it's important to have varied opinions for a manuscript. My strengths can be found in plot and vocabulary usage.
There are so many times I read a book and am dissatisfied with the way the plot unfolds. A lot of those times, I rework the plot in my mind or extend some scenes. My mind isn't exactly wired in what would be considered normal and I think that helps me to catch small things in a book. For example, in the first chapter that floor was hardwood and now at the end it's carpet. That is so simple, could easily be missed, and overall is so unimportant to a book, but that is the kind of thing that sticks out to me.
There are several things I ask for up front, before I beta. What is expected of me is at the top of the list. I let the person know that I do not line crit, may or may not catch grammar and I'm a very positive beta. My notes that come back will probably be rambling as my mind works through what it wants to say. I don't mind, and in fact prefer first round, I'll even take it rough because I'm best at plot. Sometimes I read through something two or three times. I know my limits and don't ever want to sell something I don't have.
That is what I believe the key to successful betaing is: knowing up front what is expected and what the beta can do. Also, what will be reciprocated, since most betas will reciprocate. I have a list of people I've beta read for that have offered to do the same for me, one day I will probably ask that of them.
So why do I beta read? Is it to have someone read my stuff? Yes and no. I beta read because I love to read and feel I have something to offer. Having a reader available for me is just a major perk. So, what kind of beta are you?