Beta Reading

Several weeks ago, before the world turned topsy turvy, I offered up my services as a beta reader to several authors. My timing could not have been worse! I did some research, put together some feedback worksheets and put myself out there for clients. Then, the world changed. My world was not spared this change, and I have found myself reading more about what is happening in the great wide “out there” and focusing less on these amazing manuscripts I have been given.

After a few scary weeks, filled with the unknown and people (family) around all the time, my new normal has begun. I am satisfied with my altered life and am excited about getting back to my beta reading; both finishing up my previously accepted manuscripts and taking on a few more.

What is beta reading? one may ask. In the simplest form, it is reading a manuscript before it is sent to agents or publishers (or self-published) to look for plot holes, character issues, glaring grammatical errors and the likes. The hope is to further polish a novel before it gets into the hands of readers and reviewers who will either love it or hate it.

I had a spate of poorly edited advanced reader copies at the end of last year into the beginning of this year, and thought that perhaps if there were a few more people offering beta reading services (for free or a nominal fee), then maybe more new authors would use them. So far, I have not been disappointed. I have gotten a number of requests and the several manuscripts I have read have been more polished than some of the published works I have encountered.

So, while I may not have picked the best time to start a new endeavor, the idea of starting something new when life has taken on a new normal is exciting. And now that my life for the foreseeable future is somewhat more predictable, I am thrilled to be embarking on this experience.

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