The Great Beta Read

I’ve been MIA trying to finish another round of edits and it was well worth it, as my MS is finally in the hands of my teen betas. I picked three teens that I’m not super close to, hoping they’d feel more comfortable looking at my work with a critical eye.

My first reader is 15, reads widely in the YA genre and is an aspiring author herself. My second reader is 17, enjoys the YA genre, but of late has mostly read non-fiction. My third reader is 15, another avid reader who’s favorite HS class is Lit.

As for prep and delivery, I formatted the novel in MS format, then went to Kinkos to get the copies printed on three-hole punched paper. My favorite part? Shopping for the perfect binder, which doubles as a gift for my readers. I picked out a different one for each reader; and not just an average $2 binder. They received fancy ones I hope they’ll use for something else after they return the pages to me. Inside the binder, I included a couple colored pens, post-it notes and the following list of what I needed them to do for me:

  • I am looking for honest feedback. You won’t hurt my feelings if you hate parts or if you hate the entire story.
  • If you’re reading and find yourself skimming or getting bored – please mark it for me. Maybe with a big fat “BORING.”
  • If something confuses you – please let me know.
  • If the teenagers do something that a ‘typical’ teen would NEVER do, please let me know. Let me know if you think what I have is authentic.
  • Does the alternating point-of-view between Kyra and Aidan work? Do they sound like different narrators when you read their chapters?
  • Did you feel like something was missing? That I didn’t answer all the story questions or that the plot didn’t make sense?
  • If there’s something you really like, you can tell me too. After you finish – I’d love to hear your favorite parts. Things that no matter what- I can’t change or you’d throw a large book at me.
  • My main focus is making sure the story keeps moving (pacing is good) and that it will hold the reader’s (your) interest through to the end.

I’m anxiously awaiting the feedback from my target demographic. But in the meantime, here is what I found in my email Saturday evening that made me smile:

“I just finished the book! I love it soo much! I’m going to reread it to answer what you wanted and such. 🙂 Just wanted to let you know how much I loved it.” ~M.C. Beta Reader Extraordinaire

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