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How to create your Author “Pit Crew” Part 1: Beta Readers– #Author #TipsandTricks

by on July 27, 2016

Most people think of authors as solitary creatures who hide out in a dimly lit office pecking away at their keyboard and tearing their hair out in fat chunks while they slave over their newest book.

Okay, so that’s a fairly accurate description, but in my world, the office is replaced by my living room, and instead of pulling out my hair—I chew my fingernails. However, I don’t do it alone.

No, I have a whole TEAM of people who help me get my books released. For the next couple of weeks I’m going to break down what to look for in your “Pit Crew” and how to find them.

 

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These are avid romance readers who have volunteered their free time to read partially written manuscripts for me so that I keep the book on track and avoid major plot holes. I have a team of them: Chris, Nancy, Jamie, Jessicca, Trish, Lisa, and Denise.

 

They get every story as I’m writing, and they have free reign to tear it to pieces in an effort to help me rebuild it into the best book possible. Why would they volunteer for this? Because they get first access to my stories, and they get minimal input in the plot lines. I think most of them enjoy being part of the process.

 

Avoid these types of Beta Reader:

The Butt Kisser – This is the person who gushes about everything you write as if it were the new version of the Bible. They never seem to find a single thing wrong with the story. I’ve had this before. Even when I purposely wrote in a HUGE plot hole, this Beta Reader didn’t mention it because she was too busy telling me what a Goddess I was. While I like being called Goddess as much as the next girl, that doesn’t help me put out the best book.

 

The Jealous Judy – Sadly, many people who aspire to write, volunteer to be Beta Readers or Proof Readers for authors. Once they’re given the access, they suddenly have NOTHING positive to say about the stories they’re given. They act offended if their suggestions aren’t taken, and throw sly digs in order to make the author doubt themselves. This has nothing to do with the author. It has to do with jealousy, and as much as I wish it weren’t – it’s part of life.  

 

Mama-bear – This is the Beta Reader who becomes like an octopus stuck to the authors face. They’re trying to be supportive, but they’ve instead become clingy and a nuisance. They forget that the author is the one who writes the book, and in some cases become extremely protective of “their” author. I’ve heard tell of authors whose Beta Readers have actually stood over them at conferences and tried to sell the books to readers for the author. That never works.

 

There are more good Beta Readers than bad out there, and none will be perfect. (except my girls of course!)

If you’re looking for a beta reader, I would suggest you start out by researching Non-Disclosure Agreements, because each person who has access to your unreleased writing needs to sign one for your legal protection.

Then reach out to your most loyal readers or friends. Anyone who reads the book before release for the purpose of honest feedback is a Beta Reader. In many Facebook groups dedicated to authors there is a Beta Reader sign up, where readers can volunteer their services, and authors can find a list of people to test their relationship with.

 

Good luck, and watch for Part II – Editors

 

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2 Comments
  1. This was a great analysis. I’m in the process of looking for a few beta readers now.
    Best,
    Una Tiers

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