AW Amazon Affiliate Store

confused by self-publishing? Find your way to self-publishing success in just 5 easy steps with this free how-to guide!

Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

If this site is helpful to you,
Please consider a voluntary subscription to defray ongoing expenses.


Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Page 5 of 5 FirstFirst 12345
Results 101 to 124 of 124

Thread: Betas and Authors: Share Your Good Experiences

  1. #101
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    I got very lucky and had two wonderful betas from AW. I did not have any experience with this before, but the amount of time they put in was amazing. I also beta'd one of their novels, and as someone said earlier, it's nice to read a good book for free and help someone out at the same time

  2. #102
    practical experience, FTW IsabelEmilyD's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    San Diego, CA
    I just had a good experience with my first ever beta reader who is not my mom (lol). We swapped the first few chapters and we were able to pinpoint each other's flaws.

    As it turns out, I was doing stupid crap with commas i.e. I consistently kept omitting the comma after the introductory element in a sentence. Heh. My beta reader picked it up. And I also sounded a bit too formal in my dialogue at times (which makes sense given my profession--we attorneys don't talk like people sometimes lol) so I softened that up and fined tuned it more to each character.

    I doubt my mom or best friend would have picked up these things. I believe fellow writers who have a love, passion, and talent for writing make the best betas.
    Last edited by IsabelEmilyD; 06-06-2014 at 08:08 PM.

  3. #103
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin JubbyO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013

    For my YA book

    The best beta readers I ever had were people under the age of 20 for my young adult book.

    A 15 year old British girl (I'm a 25 year old American) did a line by line edit of the first chapter of my YA novel. She absolutely enjoyed the work, and not only that, she was a grammar nazi. Sadly, I was not as enthusiastic about her work (we swapped) and I think it hurt her feelings when I gave my honest feedback. I know I shouldn't but I wished I would've said something more encouraging and made sure she had done my entire book. It's very sobering to have a 15 year old point out grammar to you but also be very encouraging. She thought I captured the audience really well.

    The other time I had beta readers were 18 and 19 year olds who read the first 30 pages of my VERY ROUGH manuscript. This is because I sketched the book out when I was also 19 years old, so in my creative writing class, I showed it to my classmates. They also really loved/liked it and asked questions about it and gave me the ideas to get the ball rolling. I thought they would hate it but nope... even the boys liked it.

    My family and friends are never interested enough to beta read for me so I always use complete strangers.
    Last edited by JubbyO; 10-13-2014 at 01:11 AM.

  4. #104
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Alexandria, VA
    I had a great beta experience with an individual I happened upon here on AW. I had previously experienced only mediocre beta readers.

    My current beta reader takes her time and really digs into the material. She helped me to really bring out my voice in the story.

  5. #105
    Worshiper of the Krispy Kreme beccajw2's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Overall, I've had really good experiences on both sides of the beta world- I never knew I would like beta reading so much! I'm trying to get more experience under my belt there, and I'm curious- when giving general notes, is there a format that givers or receivers find extra helpful? Or does it vary based off the reader and off what the writer wants? I find myself worrying about it every time I structure my notes.

  6. #106
    practical experience, FTW Leema's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Adelaide, South Australia
    Some of my favourite novels of the last 12 months I have experienced thanks to beta-reading!

    I had several beta readers of my first novel, all provided valuable constructive and complimentary feedback.

  7. #107
    figuring it all out JasonS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    True Believer!

    Just a story of why I get and give beta.

    After my first book had been looked at by my in-person writing group, read by a few friends, and edited by two editors, I thought it was done. Then (drum roll please - the sound of fingers on the desk) a pretty good beta reader saved my butt. He pointed out, in a most kind manner, that the book generally sucked because of newbie mistakes. The biggest problem - and one he did on his first book - was the reader wasn't told about the inciting incident until almost half way through the book. Many other problems such as POV confusion in the same scene and on and on.

    After I reworked, and recast the whole thing, a third and finally qualified editor found a couple hundred mistakes. As she said, none of them were significant, but together they made a horrible reading experience. Without the beta, I would have published what might have been a top 10% worst book ever.

  8. #108
    If you don't try, you can't fail AnneGlynn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Mostly in my head
    I've just enjoyed a lovely experience with an AW writer, who was willing to beta my words even though she isn't a romance reader. She was encouraging but honest, and that combination is a joy. Thanks...oh, I'd better not say her name. But, T., you know who you are!

    * * * *
    My website?

    Most weeks, I write about writing and romance, and writing romances. Most weeks. You have been warned.

  9. #109
    Author of FORTNEY ROAD Jeff C. Stevenson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    New York City
    I've had three outstanding beta readers and am certain they are the reason I was published.

    My early version of the book was linear, telling the story from the 1930s to present day. But one beta reader said, "No! You need to start with the violent event at the cult (the abuse of a young girl) and then back into the story so the reader wonders how this girl got there."

    And he was right...and I rewrote the entire book.

    Then the second beta suggested I had way too much of the rock and roll story and needed to cut back and focus on the people in the story, which I did. (Painfully, since I love 60s and 70s rock music and had some great interviews!)

    Finally, my 3rd beta reader knocked it out of the park by saying, "You need to insert YOU into the book, how did you feel when you interviewed these people, discovered what was going on, etc."

    So I did and the book all at once--after seven years of research and writing!--came to LIFE in ways I never thought possible.

    And it never would have happened if I didn't have those three beta readers. They are gold/golden and I am forever grateful.
    Last edited by Jeff C. Stevenson; 09-02-2015 at 01:31 AM.
    The True Story of Life, Death, and Deception
    in a Christian Cult

    “A unique and compelling true story. —Dean Koontz
    “Fascinating and disturbing” —Jonathan Kellerman
    “Strongly recommended. Exceptionally well written.
    —Midwest Book Review

    What really happened at Fortney Road?

    Member Horror Writers Association

  10. #110
    "The Moving Finger writes..." M.S. Wiggins's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Charleston, SC
    What conversations with my long-time, tried-and-true beta reader are like.

    She’s my go-to first for that opinion (you know the kind I’m talking about): the one that will give you gut-wrenching insight into everything that everyone will potentially, but probably, hate about it. The space where the pendulum swings into all-that’s-wrong-with-your-nausiating-narrative/dialogue. I wouldn’t trade her for a million dollars. (←That’s a lie. I would totally trade her for a million dollars!) Truthfully, I’m glad to have her.
    "...and, having writ; Moves on..."

    Even if it's shit.
    Shit on a page is organic.
    A blank page is

    Some things should remain a mystery. They make life interesting and worth living. It’s the pursuit of knowledge that keeps us all going, not the answers. ~Wiggins
    Twit Me

  11. #111
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    May 2015
    I've had some great success with Beta Readers. Those that don't shy away from providing brutally honest feedback have been the most valuable. One or two have provided only very minimal feedback and I've had 1 that went completely AWOL. I'm just in the process of engaging more beta readers for another round of fresh eyes. More than anything else, it has been the beta readers that have really contributed most significantly towards my making improvements in my manuscripts.

  12. #112
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Far up North
    The first person in the world to read my entire MS came from the AW-community, and her comments have been very helpful. Another AW-er is reading and betaing my work at the moment, and her first general comments, as well as lbl-editing of the first chapters, were absolute fantastic. Today I sent my MS to a third AW-er who kindly said yes to take it on, even though it isn't her preferred genre, I had a AW-er pass after reading the first pages, but he took the time to explain why when I asked. All in all I'm pleased to the core with my beta experiences.
    Common sense, so rare, it's kind of like a superpower

  13. #113
    I come in peace Earthling's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    I have a question but didn't want to start a new thread, so I hope it's okay to ask here. How long would you allow for a fellow AW-er to give you feedback on a standard length novel (80k-ish)?

    I was very lucky to get several fantastic beta readers for my first novel. The non-writer readers finished in anywhere from 12 hours to 7 days and gave me brief but very useful feedback. All the writer readers - from a different writing forum, not AW - give me much more in depth feedback but the quickest was five months, and the other three are less than halfway through after the same length of time. Their feedback on the whole is very positive, so it's not like they're having to slog through and forcing themselves to read - it's just that real life gets in the way, and I guess they see it more as "work" whereas a non-writer is pretty chuffed to be able to read a book before it's even published.

    With my second novel (currently at 58k words) I'd like it to be polished and our for query by May, assuming I haven't got an agent from #1 by then. I don't know if it's unrealistic to expect writer betas to be getting back to me in a 1-3 month period, which would work with my editing programme?

  14. #114
    practical experience, FTW akaria's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Brooklyn represent!
    Five months! Wow. I'm a slow beta, but not that slow. I'm 3/4 through a ~70k novel and it's been about six weeks. 1-3 months is perfectly realistic.
    Pre-Order Other Worlds, a Sci-Fi Romance & Paranormal Romance Box Set

    I tweet!

    Goodreads Amazon Kobo
    Nook Apple Google Play

  15. #115
    I wish I was as cool as this cat. Kay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Personally, I don't take on a novel to beta if I can't have it read and commented on in a week's time. If I go too slow, I'll forget plot lines, character names, etc. I beta read like I read an already published novel.

  16. #116
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin madjack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    I'm with Kay above, I usually like to critique and turn it around within a couple of weeks. Last week I did one in 2 days and got it back to my CP. I'll forget what's going on if I don't focus on it, plus I feel like I can't totally focus on my own stuff until I finish the critique.

  17. #117
    I come in peace Earthling's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Seems I just got unlucky then! I'll look here on AW for writer-readers for my current novel

  18. #118
    Frozen Multnomah Falls Chase's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Albany, Oregon, USA
    I've not had a good beta experience. After acknowledging the receipt of the entire novel, I never heard from the first one ever again. One quit about halfway through, pleading too much romance in a mystery, but I also suspected the gun culture in my book wasn't an interest. I begged off from continuing with the third strike-out after a couple of chapters when it became apparent from comments that she wasn't reading carefully enough for me to take suggestions seriously.

    On the other hand, I had three wonderful critique partners. We traded comments and suggestions through my novel and two short stories. I critiqued one long, long novel for one and two novels apiece for the others. Hers were a psychological thriller and a YA ghost yarn. His were western novels. All four of their books had strong elements of mystery, so we did well for each other.

    Now that I'm working on a sequel, I'd sure like another exchange partner or two.

  19. #119
    practical experience, FTW rohstod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Had a wonderful experience with Earthling as a beta reader. She's still answering my questions (even though she already gave me a ton of helpful feedback). I don't know if she typically engages in problem solving with others, but her willingness to do so with me has made a huge difference. Very specific feedback, very thoughtful reader.

    Not sure if it's okay to name people, but figured it would be fine since it's all good.

    Thank you, Earthling!

  20. #120
    practical experience, FTW SciSarahTops's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Reading about writing... less of the actual writing
    Hi, I've not read all of this thread but I intend to. I just had a full (reciprocal) beta read from a fellow AW member who I've not met. Weirdly, we live pretty close by. It was a very positive experience, both encouraging, and also reiterating the weakest parts of the plot. I'm working through many of the suggestions now. I enjoyed reading his book and making suggestions I felt could strengthen it. We both gave very detailed feedback. I'm clinging to the positives a bit because I do need that in my life.

    My same book has also been beta'd in full by two other authors from authonomy. Both positive experiences with many good suggestions. I also had an aunt read it, the only family member who ploughed through. She writes for fun too and also gave good comments.

    I really like a reciprocal swap situation, I feel it builds a nice relationship. I just read the sticky up here and it put the fear into me. I can't believe people steal other's work. Disgusting and it had not even occurred to me. I guess because I started by critiquing journey at critters which sets out very strict guidelines and reassurances about sending your precious work out.
    Good Morning
    Don't wait on anyone to make your favorite thing
    Make your own favorite thing
    - Lin-Manuel Miranda

  21. #121
    practical experience, FTW CJSimone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    I can definitely add my experiences with beta reads from AW here to this thread. My experiences were actually beyond good.

    I've just had extremely positive beta experiences with all 7 of my beta readers from AW, and want to express my appreciation to them (won't name you in case you don't want to be named) and to encourage other AW members that there are lots of good experiences to be had with beta readers here.

    I had the first 20,000 words of my WIP beta read to see if I was heading in the right direction with my revisions. All my beta readers were so nice, some were amazingly fast, all gave super thoughtful and meaningful suggestions, were all encouraging and included lots of positive comments, and almost all offered to beta the full when I'm ready. You all are awesome!!!

    The AW members I've beta read for have also been so appreciative and so nice as well, even offering to beta my WIP when I'm done. So great experiences all around.

    ETA: And thank you, Sage, for putting together the beta project, which got me a lot of my beta readers, and for the suggestion to add that I was seeking betas to my signature, which resulted in additional offers. I really appreciate all you do!
    Last edited by CJSimone; 06-23-2017 at 09:07 PM.

  22. #122
    Sailing in a sea of mushroom... Nerdilydone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Quote Originally Posted by JubbyO View Post
    My family and friends are never interested enough to beta read for me so I always use complete strangers.
    I know that feel. Only one person in my family is even vaguely interested in sci-fi and fantasy, which is primarily what I write. Granted, my dad is enthusiastic about my work, but that's only because I'm his kid. His idea of a good story is anything with romance, a pretty brunette, and horses. Whenever I talk to Dad about my work, he always says something like, "Did he fall in love at the end?"

    AW has some of the best beta-ers and beta-ees (beta-bees? Buzzz....). I beta for a girl who has wonderful ideas, and is very open toward criticism without letting it destroy what she intends for her story. It's so encouraging to see someone who takes her writing as seriously as she does, because irl most people around me see writing as just some half-hearted hobby.

  23. #123
    Old Party Girls are more fun! sobellejanet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Down the rabbit hole
    My primary beta reader has been my husband. He has a great personality and is extremely well read. He reads everything from Lee Child and Michael Connolly to David McCullough and Will Durant, plus sales books, books on religion, golf, and on and on. He's usually reading about 4 books at a time!!!

    For my book, he has read each chapter as I have written it and critiqued the good and the not so good. I have found his editing to be quite excellent. The only unfortunate thing my story is derived from our experience where we live now so, naturally, he doesn't have complete objectivity. Therefore, I have passed the ms out to about 15 family and friends. Not all have checked back in but of those who have most really loved it (so they say) and a few say they can't wait for the next book in the series.

    Be that as it may, I would love to have the good readers at AW have a shot whenever I qualify for this service. And I am quite happy to read in return, although some of these genres I know nothing about and have little affinity for. But I will take it seriously as I know, from my husband's contribution, what it takes to be an effective reader.
    You are today where your thoughts have brought you, you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  24. #124
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    I'm new to the forum and looking to establish myself a bit, and thought I might add one of my own experiences here. I've been working on my current project for about 4 years now, and earlier this year sent out what I imagined could be the definitive draft (it's seen some serious edits since, but no full rewrites). I had a fair few beta readers, utter strangers all of them, which was simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying. I was and am still hoping to pursue writing as a semi-career, and I'd spent so long on Equo that I really couldn't say anymore if it was any good. Couldn't see the forest for the trees and all that.

    Then a beta reader got back to me after three days (one day per year I'd spent writing it) and told me he loved it, that he couldn't wait for the sequel (hah!) and that he hadn't been able to put it down. I don't know if I can remember ever being so happy. I still think back on that now, when I face rejection. I've had more helpful critiques that allowed me to improve the novel, but none have made me feel like that.

Page 5 of 5 FirstFirst 12345



Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Custom Search