First appointment of a series of three to know everything about beta-reading. Sharing experience of the author Yannick Fradin who, if he denies being a specialist of the issue, has still read more than fifty books since the beginning of the year. Today: beta reading, to better understand what it is and how it works. The next article will focus on the beta reader and the last will focus on the beta-read author.
Beta reading is the reading of a text by someone who is not the author, in order to help the latter to improve it.
It does not matter whether the text is short (short, short story, etc.) or long (novel, essay, etc.), be it a thriller, a fantastic, historical, erotic writing, poetry, a comic book or a play.
All text always has elements that can be improved and modified.
Beta-reading is a reading that will offer some ideas for an author to help him in his rewriting work.
One can also beta-read pitchs (reader or editor), synopsis (work or submission), extracts taken out of context, etc.
A reading that offers some ideas for an author to help him in his rewriting work
This can be a valuable tool for the aspiring author as well as for the experienced writer, since the writer (or the writer) is inevitably immersed in his / her text, which often makes the proofreading work particularly delicate and tedious.
I think that many of you will agree that it is particularly difficult to step back from one’s own writings and that an outside critical look is welcome, so as not to to say indispensable.
Moreover, if you have filed a text (extract or integer) on myBestSeller, is that somewhere, you look for an outside look and at least a notice, is not it?
Beta reading goes beyond a simple opinion, which brings me to the second part.
Reading a text is very interesting. Criticism is also interesting but noticeably different and potentially more demanding.
There are different types of services that relieve the authors of the tedious task of proofreading and correction. These services are either paid (we find all kinds on the internet and many freelancers or employees of companies or associations provide them for remuneration), or included in a contract that links you for example to a editor, who is responsible for making the text presentable, publishable and involves his network and contacts.
Beta reading in the sense that I hear it is not a proofreading or correction service. It is by definition gratuitous and graceful, since it is based on mutual willingness and acceptance. If there is a commitment, it is moral.
Link an author with one or more readers …
So, what’s the point, a beta-reading? Well, this serves to connect an author with one or more readers, who undertake to point out anything that might help the author to improve his text or to become aware of his strengths as well as his weaknesses.
It is to give an opinion and a feeling, but without putting oneself in the place of the author, one remains on the point of view of the reader. This opinion, or these opinions crossed will be the material from which the author will be able to lead a reflection (this is where it becomes really interesting for the author, because if a notice is welcome and inevitably useful, cross several makes it possible to highlight points in a much clearer way, especially when one finds the same remarks in people who do not know each other or frequent each other).
This is not a correction, but rather a return giving a feeling and tracks.
Beta reading could be seen as a preliminary step to proofreading and correcting. That’s exactly what it’s all about.
Beta-reading is an intermediate reading between a first roll (or jets reworked x times but not yet subject to a final reading) and a final version. Only the author can boast of saying, “That’s it, I want my final version. I do not touch anything anymore and I go to the fire! “.
Whether to self-publish or go through the traditional edition (publisher account! Avoid the author account like the plague!), Beta-reading is a step that can only do good to your text, as well as the following ones, because it is a rewarding step in all points of view.
This is even more true, in my opinion, for self-publication because unless you have solid contacts ready to support you, or to pay for the work of proofreading, correction, typography, etc. . is done by real professionals, you will not have behind you all the arsenal that a publisher has at its disposal.
Personally, I am convinced that beta reading is an adventure to live and to feed. It benefits all and can only give a very appreciable added value, if only in terms of reasoning and reflection, because even if you decide to ignore any of the remarks brought to your attention, these The last ones will still make their way and may come out in a written future.
Well, it’s fine to talk about beta reading, but how does it work? That’s true. How can one beta-read or be beta-read?
If you are a reader and you are looking for authors to beta-read, you will be spoiled for choice, as long as you find how to contact the authors in question.
If you are an author looking for beta readers, you certainly already have some under your arm. Even your spouse, your children maybe, your parents or some of your relatives. They are all beta readers, but with a “default” not insignificant: they know you and may give a feeling not necessarily quite honest or sincere, often without doing it on purpose or even consciously.
Readers who do not know you but are interested in your work …
To do effective beta reading, it is better to address strangers, but strangers who are interested in your work. If you are writing erotic romance but are asking a fan of crime fiction and horror allergies to romance you beta-read, you are likely to get many negative feedback and lose the drive en route.
One way or the other, you have to want to read and communicate.
A reader will read and possibly beta-read texts that interest him. You, yourself, comment on the texts that you like, that you read and you go your way when a book does not make you want. An author who wishes to be beta-read will address people who have the habit and taste of the genre he is addressing.
For this, we are fortunate to live in the digital age where one can find quite easily reader dens willing to devour all forms of writing (yes yes, prepare your paper armor and sharpen your pen!), as well as places of meetings and digital exchanges which allow precisely the beta-reading to take place in optimal conditions.
I’ll suggest some of them in the next article on the beta reader, whether you write / read white literature or not. The best is to do your research yourself and dig when you find something that interests you and speaks to you. Everyone has his sensitivity and must find the tool that suits him, feel good in the environment where he evolves. If you go backwards and do not like the atmosphere or the people present, then you will not get any good and you will not have much good to offer either.
Why not start with the keyword “beta-reading”? See you in two weeks to see what you have found and compare with the links I will put
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