I often encourage the writers I work with, especially those who are publishing independently, to get a beta reader or two to read their text before they get it edited, so they have a reader’s point of view and can make the necessary changes before going through the first or maybe a subsequent stage of editing. You can read my article about beta readers here. But what is is like to be a beta reader?
I came across this article by Ed Price through the writer Steve Chilton mentioning it in a reading runners’ group I’m in. I don’t often share articles on here but this one explains exactly what it’s like to be someone’s beta reader and is hugely valuable for that. Here’s just the start of it all – Ed goes into lots of fascinating detail which will be useful for any writer or person who has asked to be their beta reader, I’m sure …
Steve asked me to be his ‘critical friend’ after he had finished the first draft of the manuscript. While I have a good deal of experience putting coursebooks together, I’d never before been involved in the editing process of a biography. So what could I bring to the role of critical friend?
Speaking to Steve, it was clear that he wanted a sounding board: someone to read the manuscript and see what worked; what might need more clarification, and whether there were any areas that could be tidied up or even cut. Having spent months buried in research and drafts and edits, it made sense that a ‘friendly’ pair of eyes with a certain degree of critical acumen could be beneficial to him. The longer you spend in researching and writing, the harder it can become to see the wood for the trees; to read a text the way a paying customer would.
Read the whole article here (shared with Ed’s permission).
Other useful articles on this blog
The different kinds of editing and proofreading