Dear Beta Readers,
I want to say a huge “Thank you!!”
You perform such a valuable, helpful, enlightening service to writers. You read books that are still in the rough. You open your heart to the story, fall in love—or hate—heroes and heroines with their flaws, and offer advice. You discover errors both writers and editors have overlooked. You point out strengths and weaknesses. And some—thank you so much—offer praise to encourage the writer.
What would I do without you?
I know some authors do not use beta readers. The manuscript goes to the editor, and that’s it. I’ve asked a couple of writers why they don’t use beta readers, and they told me they didn’t want their voice changed. Maybe it’s because I’m a newer writer, but I value the beta reader’s part in my storytelling a lot. I need early feedback telling me the story works. That it makes sense. And if it doesn't, I want to hear suggestions on how to make it ring true. I’ve used beta readers for all three of my books, and I truly appreciate their time and commitment to the heart of my stories.
Beta readers make books better! You are an integral part of my writer's journey. Yes, my voice might get changed a little. As it does with the editor’s chopping block. But each suggestion, whether I use the alteration in its fullness or not, gets considered and makes me think differently about the section as I go through it with my own magnifying glass.
An author’s sweat and tears and heart are poured into her story. It’s hard to take harsh criticism. But it’s so much better to get it from early readers and an editor than later with the public eye and tough reviews.
Thank you, beta readers, for telling authors the truth. For being brave enough to share the good and the bad about our stories, and helping our work become so much better.
You are the stars in a book’s success.