View Full Version : Need experience to be a beta?

06-04-2011, 07:11 AM
I'm a newbie in every possible way, and I was wondering if this means I shouldn't volunteer to be a beta. Are there certain expectations of the resumes/experience level of betas?

Anna L.
06-04-2011, 08:11 AM
Do you read books? Do you have opinions about the books you read?

If yes, then grats, you have the experience to be a beta! The art of beta-ing is the art of figuring out how to explain what you like and don't like about a story and, if possible, explaining how the author could fix the problems you see. (Sometimes the author or other betas don't agree, but that's why we say the business is subjective...) If you have an eye for typos and such, that's even better, but not required.

If you feel honest enough and patient enough to beta, then go ahead and offer. Even if you mention you're not used to it, there will be people hoping to get your opinion on their stories.

Anna L.
06-04-2011, 08:17 AM
Here's a thread you can read to have a better idea what people might expect from you as a beta: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=117095

06-04-2011, 04:32 PM
Becoming a beta reader also helps you to improve your own writing skills - you start to easily pick out plot holes, etc in other works and this makes you more aware of your own. It's really a win win situation for both you and the person you're beta reading for. You can point out what really stands out and how you feel about it as a reader.

If you start going line by line and pointing out stuff like spelling, grammar, plot holes, sentence structure, tense, character building, etc - you are then venturing into critting and this is far more time consuming with much more work involved. But very worthy when you have your group of crit writing partners and are all there to encourage and support each other in your writing / creative skills while being brutally honest to each other.

But you gotta start somewhere and beta reading is the way to go. Best of luck.

06-04-2011, 06:44 PM
One way to get your feet wet, so to speak, is to go onto the SYW threads and post comments on people's work. Read the other comments and see if you agree or disagree. It shouldn't take long before you get the hang of it. Just make sure your comments are based on your own feelings and attitudes towards the work, not others. That's what beta seekers are looking for.

Gina Blechman
06-15-2011, 01:10 AM
I had three beta readers for my last novel. Of my two favorites, one of them had never been a beta reader before. When it comes to beta reading, it's honesty and insight that matters. If you like to read and know good writing when you see it, you should be a beta reader. If you like to help people and show them how they can improve their writing, you should be a beta reader. And if you want to learn more about yourself and your own writing style, you should be a beta reader. Hope that clears it up for ya.

<3 Gina Blechman