You Betta Get Beta Readers
by Brother Dash
You wrote your novel. Your children’s book. Your non-fiction exposé on shadow governments or your heart wrenching and heart warming memoir of the pain and redemption that is you. Wonderful. Cue the applause. You’re done now right? Not so fast young grasshopper. It must now be read. And not for the umpteenth time by you. We need real people. People who don’t talk, sound or think like you. We need readers. But not the readers that you will eventually launch your book to. You want the “pre” readers. You want beta readers. Those intrepid first adopter types that love to know things before everyone else does. Why? I don’t know. Maybe they enjoy saying “Na, Na, Na, I got the ice cream and you no have none.” Whatever their personal motivations you need beta readers who will take your future bestseller and then smell, taste, chew, digest and…(no not throw up) provide you with critical feedback on the literary meal they just ingested. So yes you need some food critics for your word veggies, paragraph carbs and chapter entree’s. Can you tell I was hungry when I wrote this?
One of the best decisions I made when I wrote my novel The Donor: When Conception Meets Deception was to identify and recruit beta readers. When you are writing your book you are literally “in your head.” For months on end you only hear what YOU think. You came up with the premise. You did the research. You created and developed the characters. You wrote their back stories. You wrote the narrative and you wrote the dialogue. And at the risk of sounding like a guy from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn…That’s a whole lot of “you’s”. And that’s a problem.
The problem is the reader doesn’t know what you’re thinking or where you are going. And because as authors WE know what we are trying to say we can, and do, miss a lot of mistakes in writing. As an example when I shared the first chapter of my novel The Donor: When Conception Meets Deception with my beta readers the feedback I received was that it took a little too long to get to the action. My words were “beautiful” and I “painted pictures with language” and it was “poetic” but a bit too poetic and dense. But when the beta readers got to the dialogue they said “You had me on the edge of my seat,” “I couldn’t put it down,” “I wanted to know why he (the protagonist) was doing what he was doing.” I let go of my ego (you MUST do that as a writer). I trimmed the fat. I shared the revised version and my beta readers loved it. Remember as an author don’t fall into the trap of loving the sound of your own voice. Beta readers save you from publishing a book that only one reader would understand and enjoy…YOU! And we already went over the “you’s”. So you betta’ go get you some betas.
Brother Dash is the author of The Donor: When Conception Meets Deception whose tagline reads: “In order to keep a secret past from destroying his perfect lie the man who “has it all” will be blackmailed into repaying a debt…with his body.” Get freebies on the Brother Dash email list www.brotherdash.com