Finding a Beta Reader
Stepping into the fire
Questions to ask a Beta Reader
- What did you like or not like about Boris?
- Could you hear, see, smell and picture the place and people in the story?
- What was the funniest part of the story?
- What was the most boring part of the story?
- Was there anything you wish Boris had done or not done?
- Was there something that was not in the story you wish had been there?
- What do you think could happen to Boris next?
- What else can you tell me about what you thought when you read The Boris Boris's Boris?
The truth will out
5 reasons why Beta Readers are better readers
- They don't muck around - I was soon sent photos of my readers engrossed in the story whilst driving in the car or curled up on the sofa. Within a matter of days I was receiving the returned feedback in the post. If you want something done, just ask a 10 year old.
- They know what they like - Children in the junior fiction and middle grade fiction age range read a lot. A lot. They know what they like and what they don't like. They aren't afraid to tell you and if your story is missing something at any point, they'll be likely to pick it like a dirty nose. I had one of the best pieces of advice from a 9 year old. Everyone else had missed it but he's hit the nail on the head.
- They make up their own rules - I suggested green and red pencil to identify their thoughts as they read through the story. One reader expanded the colour coding to include orange, for hard words, and brown, for suggested edits. A couple of readers picked up typos that now on seeing them, stick out like dog's b- well, you know.
- They give you more than you have asked for - Whether they had intended to or not, the readers gave me so much more in their responses than I ever expected of them. Whether it was a little bit of point 3 above, or the way they attacked the colouring-in process. Sometimes the colouring would vary in ferocity caught up in fits of enthusiasm. I felt really close to their reading experience.
- They are just generally awesome human beings - Today I got my work back complete with a drawing of my reader's interpretation of a Boris. It was awesome. I also received the following response to a question:
Q. What was the most boring part of the story?
A. The end. The words 'the end,' not the last page. I didn't want it to end.