Beta readers are an invaluable resource, especially for all of us indie writers. I have come across some comments from my fellow writers who have had some really terrible experiences with beta readers. I feel bad because over all, my experiences have been positive and I’ve gotten really good at not taking things too personally. I try to remember that in the end, it’s my vision of what my story is about that counts.
That being said, how do you handle a beta reader who thinks you have brought them aboard to be the end all, be all authority on your novel? How do you handle comments like “This book was terrible!” or “Your plot sucks!” (I have not seen this but I know at least three indie authors whose betas used these exact phrases.)
I dove into the internet and came up with this article which lays out a specific code of etiquette for beta readers. I think it’s extremely helpful. It also has guidelines for how you, the author, can respond to your beta readers in a way that promotes clarity and creativity.
The main thing I took away from this is that you have to be clear about what you expect from your beta readers. Understand that they are doing you a huge service by reading your book cover to cover. Show gratitude, but be prepared to grow a thick skin and roll with the punches.
I am currently building a small group of beta readers, preferably 5-10 individuals who love YA fiction and who would like to look over my next novel which I expect will be ready by the end of the year possibly a little later, January 2016. If you are interested, I’d love to chat with you! Head over to my website lala.bayron.wix.com/kalynnbayron and shoot me an email or sign up for my newsletter which goes out once a month and will have more info on beta readers as the time draws a little closer.