• When Do You Beta?

    I turned in the third shadow reader novel yesterday. Hurray! The book still needs a lot of work, especially the last six chapters which didn’t exactly turn out the way I envisioned them, but the first full draft is finished. *collapses*

    I’m already thinking about the revisions which will need to be done. I’m not sure when I’ll start on them. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to write and revise a book. If I start working on revisions now, I might be undoing something my editor likes, or overdoing something she liked before, if that makes sense. But then, it would be nice to get a jump on revisions so I’m not cramming as much when I get her notes in.

    Also, at some point, I’m going to want beta readers to read the book. The big question is when do I want beta readers to read?

    I really want/need feedback on this story. It needs to rock, and I’m too close to the story to make it awesome completely on my own. My husband has read the book and left me notes that I need to address and/or clarify (very helpful notes, btw!), but I’d also like fans of the genre to read it. The problem is, I don’t want readers to read a crappy book, so do I take the time to revise now and have them read later? Or do I let them read now, and revise later with their comments and my editor’s comments? Should I have two sets of beta readers? Some who read the first draft crappy version, and some who read the final-ish draft pretty version?

    I’d love to hear what you guys think! If you’re a writer, when do you have betas read your work?

    If you are a reader, when do you prefer to beta read an author’s work?

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5 Comments to "When Do You Beta?"

  • Tina Moss says:

    January 14, 2013 at 2:03 pm -

    Great question. I usually let my beta readers in on the second or third draft. First draft is for me to spew all over. Second draft is where I feel it’s getting better, but may need input. Third draft is if I needed to work on it more, but didn’t need input yet and now I do. So, in truth, it depends on where you are in the revision process. I don’t like anyone to read my first draft, but second and third drafts are up for grabs.

    In my last work, I had readers on the second draft, and different ones on the fourth draft. Then, I took all their feedback and sent it to my agent afterward. So, agent read fifth draft, then more revisions. It’s definitely a process.


  • Jen says:

    January 14, 2013 at 2:06 pm -

    One of the things I read a few months ago recommended at least two drafts, possibly three before beta readers. His logic was that most beta readers only have one or two good reads in them so you don’t want to lose them with work you already know needs to be done. So I would say if there are parts you KNOW need to be revised and you already know what to do, go ahead and do them and then let the readers at it. Unless I’m one of the Beta readers … then give it to me now! 😉


  • Sandy
    Sandy says:

    January 14, 2013 at 2:08 pm -

    @Tina Moss: That sounds like a GREAT process. My only problem is time. It took me six months to write this first draft – and that’s quick for me! If I wait until a 2nd or 3rd draft, I worry that I won’t have time to find readers and to implement changes based on their feedback.

    With book three, I might just revise the last ten chapters of the book. Those definitely need work before anyone sees them. As for the rest of it, I’m pretty comfortable with the story/writing.


  • Sandy
    Sandy says:

    January 14, 2013 at 2:10 pm -

    @Jen: heh

    Yeah. I don’t want to ask betas to read it more than twice. I should probably just start revising it now, except I think I need a little distance from it for at least a week or two.


  • Christyna_bm says:

    January 14, 2013 at 3:17 pm -

    I’ll be more than happy to be your beta reader!


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