FanFiction defines Beta Readers as, “a person who reads a work of fiction with a critical eye, with the aim of improving grammar, spelling, characterization, and general style of a story prior to its release to the general public.”
As a novice to the world of publishing, I was completely naïve about the importance and value of Beta Readers. The internet is full of blogs and book sites rich with information and helpful advice. It was on the website, GoodReads, that I found a community of avid readers willing to assist me in making the changes needed to change a good book into a great novel.
Sending out beta versions of my book was a very frightening risk for me. I was sending out my unpublished book to strangers, placing my trust and faith in people I have never met, to help me polish and shine my novel without any compensation other than appreciation and, perhaps, appropriate credit. I also had to trust that my novel would not end up in the hands of someone whose intentions were less scrupulous. To the best of my knowledge, I have only met and worked with the most sincere and earnest bookies I could have ever wished for.
My first critique came from Marci F on GoodReads who had only four suggestions for change and nothing but kind words for “Running Back to You”. She said, “Omg omg I loved this book,tell me we get to see the future do get married have kids … I love all the characters they mesh well with each other. I seriously could not put this book down. It had everything drama, action, love, romance, [hell] it even gave me goose bumps, butterflies i am so excited for this book.” Of course, I wanted my book to be good and I hoped people would like it, but I didn’t expect to get such a positive response right out of the gates.
My next critique came from Dani B. (also from GoodReads) who said, “First off before I answer your questions I want to say it was an absolute joy to read this book! I couldn’t stop reading it. I hated that it ended.” Wow! More and more Beta Readers were responding with praise and flattery. Lorraine D., Laurie S., Tammy S., Mary M., Beth M., and Maria T. gave me more helpful suggestions.
All in all, I sent my book to over 60 willing recipients. About twenty have responded and nearly thirty have posted their reviews and ratings on GoodReads. As of today, the average rating (on a scale of 1-5) is a whopping 4.83! I would like to offer all the Beta Readers and ARC readers a heart-felt thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my first novel with all of you and for sharing your insights and thoughtful critiques with me.