Tips for Beta Readers and Authors
For the Author:
- Send your beta the best possible version of your manuscript. Make sure it’s been spell and grammar checked to the best of your ability. Many writers find it useful to read their chapter out loud; you’ll catch a lot of mistakes that way.
- Be very clear about your expectations with your beta. Be reasonable, but clear. If you’d really like to publish by the weekend, say so.
- Always acknowledge your beta when you publish. Always. They’ve spent time and effort reviewing your story and the least you can do is to publically thank them. This is most commonly done at the beginning of chapters, although some authors credit betas in their story summaries.
For the Beta
- You’re the first one to see the author’s ‘baby’ and that can be a big responsibility. Be honest and fair. And in the midst of your corrections, please point out things that the writer is doing right! When an author receives a chapter with only criticism and corrections, it can be a little disheartening.
- Hold to your agreement with turn-around time. If you’ve said you’ll have it back to them in 3 days, stick to that (or let them know if something came up). Chances are your author is sitting on pins and needles waiting to hear back from you.
- Remember that though you’re helping the author, they’re under no obligation to accept your every suggestion. Some things, like grammar issues, aren’t really up for debate, but other issues, like character choices, are. It’s important to remember that the author, not the beta, gets final say. It’s their story, after all.