Tuesday, April 2, 2013

B -- Beta Readers

I've been asked a few times what the difference is between a Beta Reader and a Critique Partner.  I am not sure of the "official" difference, just my own personal classification.  For me, it's not a complicated distinction, rather a way I classify my readers.

My Beta Readers are usually not authors; they are readers, primarily in my target market, who I ask to review my completed/ edited/ revised manuscript.  I'm solely looking for their opinion on big picture things like characters, believably, did they even like it? I don't beta-read for them and I'm not expecting them to give me a detailed analysis of my manuscript back.  At most, I am looking for a "would have stopped reading at this point" response from them.

My Critique Partners are writers like myself.  Some read chapter by chapter as I write, some read the completed manuscripts. They work/read with me through several revisions and help my plot out the scene that I just can't get to read right.   From them, I am looking for structural points as well as over-all feedback.  Things like plot holes, tensing issues, character inconsistencies, pacing, all the things that make up the bones of my story.

So although both my Beta Readers and Critique Partners serve different purposes in my writing, they are equally valuable.  For those of you looking to connect with fellow writers/ CP's, I have put a few links below to groups I have used.  If you can't find a fit, drop me a line; I am a huge believer in giving back to the writing community and will gladly read for my fellow authors as my time permits :)


YA Stands Beta Community 

Absolute Write Beta Readers and Mentor Forum

Ladies Who Critique


10 comments:

  1. Trisha, I appreciate you defining the differences between beta reader and critique partner. It is a little confusing (I thought it was just me). I have had one beta reader read my book and she had general comments. From my critique partners, though, I want more! I'll be back to read more of your posts!
    http://www.thewritesoil.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks, Dawn. Mind you these are just my personal classifications, not official ones.

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  2. I think I prefer CPs over betas only because I want that in depth crit of my work and I'm happy to return the favor. However, I can see how once you're getting ready to query a beta reader (or five!) could be very helpful.

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    1. Exactly, Marcy. Each has their own individual purpose and I would hazard a guess that the purpose varies by author/ book.

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  3. I distinguish between the two like that as well. Except that Betas in my book can be writers too, as long as they get to read the book in its entirety.

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  4. you nailed it! both are wonderful, necessary ingredients of writing. must click with cp, but also good to get a new view.

    great to meet you!

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    1. Wonderful, invaluable, worth their weight in gold. I would not be half the writer I am today without either of them.

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  5. That's pretty much how I distinguish beta readers from critique partners as well.

    Looking forward to tomorrow's post!

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    1. Glad to see I am not the only one with that classification, Lara.

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