Should you use beta readers? Reassessing beta readers

As mentioned in my previous post, I was pretty high on beta readers. I had a great experience right out of the great, so, of course, I just assumed it would always be great. To steal from Stephen Colbert: At night it’s dark outside, so, of course, it’s always going to be dark outside. Much like a Colbert night, my beta reader experience wasn’t always great.

Overall, it was a positive experience, and I’d say it was worth it, but I’m still deliberating if your interests as a writer wouldn’t be better served going with an experienced editor. The feedback from my betas was a mixed bag – everything from a reader who was a pro editor to one who might have been on a personal mission to crush my writer’s spirit.

So I’m not sure I’d recommend beta readers. After using them, I have a bit of a new perspective on them. If you’re just looking for readers, that’s fine. But unless the beta reader is a professional editor, don’t let their feedback sway you too much. Take the beta readers’ assessments as a whole – if many of them have the same type of feedback, you probably have to correct that issue. Don’t be overly influenced by the opinion of one reader.

For me, I’m done with beta readers for this work. I’ll update my story and have an editor read it over, someone who’s been doing this professionally and has edited other books.

I’m not set against beta readers. I might use them, again, in the future. They’re just another way of getting feedback on your work. I think it was a good place to start, a good first step before sending a work off to an editor.

Use beta readers with a touch of salt: they might give you good feedback, they might give you bad feedback, and you’re likely to get everything in between. If you’re looking for opinions about something you’ve written, beta readers are a great place to start. Just keep in mind, they’re opinions.

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