The more people who provide feedback on our books the better. Of course, to be of benefit, this needs to happen before publication, when there is time to make changes. Although review by various types of editors (each pass focusing on different elements) is essential, basic feedback is first needed to work out the kinks, spot embarrassing errors, and correct deficiencies before handing it over to professionals. The more work we do before editors do theirs, the more they can do to improve it.
Once we do all we can ourselves, beta readers can give us critical feedback to make our book better before we move to the next step.
Beta readers can catch:
- Typos: We all make them, but we don’t always catch them.
- Spelling errors: Of course we always spell check our work; however, what about when we use the wrong word but spell it correctly?
- Repetition: We write over time and can easily repeat an idea. When we move sections around, sometimes they end up in the book twice.
- Logic blunders: Another set of eyes can take a fresh look at our logic.
- Continuity oversights: To make sense, things need to occur in a certain sequence; sometimes we’re too close to notice when our words are out of order.
- Bad writing habits: Every writer has a least one bad habit or less-than-ideal tendency, but it usually takes someone else to point them out.
While one beta reader won’t spot all these items, they will help us hone our work. Then we can tap a second person for another pass.
Beta readers help us become better writers and produce better work.
Next week: What to look for in a beta reader.