Tuesday, 11 February 2014

The Pros & Cons of aquiring a Beta Reader. Part one.

I know, I know. What possible con could there be of a beta reader? These people volunteer their time and opinions to help improve one's work. I completely agree. Every writer is indebt to the people that offer their time this way! There is everything positive about Beta Readers. All PRO!

I have been avidly hunting down Beta Readers for over a month. I hadn't really contacted any friends or family... I don't know why specifically. Something in me wants my work to be PERFECT before letting them at my work ;) Not that I don't value their opinion just the same. It's that I have some nagging nerves with regards to sharing this big part of me with them. We all have our ticks. This seems to be one of mine.

So, when a colleague whom I really get along with at work expressed such great interest and support when she learned I was an aspiring author, I figured may she'd be the one. And it seemed as though I found my first Beta Reader! She was super excited and interested in the task so I forwarded my first 3 chapters.

Let me clarify first, that my chapters are not 25 pages deep. They are on average 10 pages each.

As weeks tick by without any response or comments of any kind, worry starts to grow. Has my first chapter bored her to tears and she can't bare to tell me? Do her eyes glaze over whenever she starts to read on? Why hasn't she responded? Even an email touching base to see how things were going, telling her she can let me know either way, even if she changed her mind, has still gone unanswered. To the negative thinker in me, it tells me she doesn't want to hurt my feelings so isn't saying anything at all. Isn't that what we learned from Thumper?

Instead of drowning myself in pessimism, I started to shop for more beta readers. Can't have all my eggs in one basket or so they say. I have managed to find a couple other people who have now expressed interest and a willingness to help. In total, I have sent the start of my book to four people and now, it's waiting that's excruciating! I know that these beautiful volunteers are reading my project around obligations of their own. Understandably and acceptably so. Doesn't make the waiting any easier.

What I also am starting to realize is that with each Beta reader I send to, since I read my chapters over before sending, I am starting to fine tune and improve (hopefully) some of the paragraphs and dialogue. Knowing someone else's eyes will run over these sentences, I want them to be good as possible. So, even if my worst fear is answered by lack of response which can sometimes be interpreted for the WORST possible outcome - a dud. At least it is already improving with each nervous click of 'Send.'

So, thank you Beta Readers for all your help! :)

(Part Two will be written after I <hopefully> receive some feedback and critiques on my work).

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