Once you get into writing novels, the term ‘Beta Readers’ is often bandied about. Touted as a magical way to improve your writing – a beta reader fairy will read your unpublished manuscript and tell you exactly what is stopping it becoming a best seller. Holy hand grenades Batman, I had better get me one of those bad boys. And so, leaving aside my private ponderings on if there are alpha, gamma, delta and epsilon readers, I bravely set about summoning the beta reading fairies.
I belong to a local writers group, where we actually see each other each month (face to face people, eek! Settle down introvert brain) and I started there. We spend time reading out short stories to each other, and this is a really good way to hear your story, argue about imaginary characters and generally get out of the house. Two beta readers down.
Since being published with Soul Mate, I have found a great band of fellow writers, all keen to help each other promote and share info. So we now have a Facebook group for Beta Readers, open to any SMP author. Please PM me on Facebook if you are interested in joining. The response was fantastic- SMP authors leapt out of the woodwork, and soon my newest book baby was being eagerly read by strange eyes.
The results? Fabulous. I had people reading it from all over the planet, and not just saying “oh yeah, that’s good” but helpful things like “look here, on page 334 – every single sentence starts with She.” Comments on the hero, the heroine, scenes, motivations – the works. And praise in equal measure. Awww, kittens.
I also beta read a book, and it is a real privilege to be able to suggest ideas in the world of someone else’s imagination. Brain storming plot points is a delight peculiar to authors!
So even if you are shy/think your editor will get all the errors/become homicidal with rage at criticism – get some Beta readers. I have no doubt my book will be better, and certainly easier on my long suffering editor. But best of all, your readers will also be thinking – I loved this book, I wish she would write faster!
Cindy Tomamichel is a first time SMP author, with her novel Druid’s Portal the first in a series of time travel romance set in Roman Britain. Druid’s Portal: The Second Journey will be out in 2019!!!
Short stories of fantasy, scifi and romance can be found on her website, where she blogs on aspects of world building. Her Instagram account is devoted to tranquil scenes of nature and flowers, and experimenting with graphics.
Contact Cindy on