Being criticized hurts. I used to cry about it, but my skin is tougher now. As a writer, being critiqued is a necessity. You get familiar with it, and it doesn’t seem so life shattering anymore. I know the opinions of others make my stories sparkle. That’s why I’m in the market for a handy, dandy beta reader or two or five.
A beta reader is someone who will read a completed manuscript and offer feedback. What type of feedback depends on what the author is looking for. Some authors only want help on the syntax and don’t want the heart of their stories tweaked. Others want something deeper. I’m in that category.
I’m hoping to find at least five beta readers who will review my latest novel, “The Gifted One”, and give me feedback on the characters, plot, pace, and feel of the story. I have a list of items to offer some direction, and I have highlighted some points in the story that I already know need another set of eyes.
I’ve benefited twice before from beta reader insights. It’s a huge help, and it will earn you a free copy of the book when it’s published!
If you’d like to be a beta reader for my latest story, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll send you a beta reader packet (the manuscript, questions, and a general note) October 6, so go ahead and send that email now!
Looking for beta readers got me thinking about how we sometimes critique one another’s lives. We see an action and make a judgment call. I think most of the time people don’t speak up when we see our brother or sister faltering. Most people just shake their heads and file the information away. Maybe that’s fine. It’s better than seeing someone screw up and then talking to everyone else except that person. The best option is to actually go and talk to the person face to face about what you saw. You might find out that you didn’t have all the facts, or you might actually build into your friendship.
I did this once. It was awful. I thought a friend did something wrong, and it was really bothering me, and I thought it was harmful to her too, so I went to her. It was rough, and our friendship was strained for a while, but now it’s great. Trust was built, and trust is priceless.
Whether it’s a beta reader telling me my main character acts like a baby or an acquaintance commenting on my snarky response, I’m trying to cultivate a life that listens and learns. Others don’t decide how my story goes. That’s all on me. And the opinions of others don’t define who I am, but I think it’s wise to listen, learn, and keep moving onward.
May we be the kind of people with confidence enough to listen to someone else’s opinion, with kindness enough to respect it, and with wisdom enough to know what to do with it.