Mondays are the only day that I have available in my life to look at authors work. And today was my first day of beta work.
I lined up three authors. Asked them to send me one to three chapters, depending on my interest level and patiently waited to get some of their manuscripts in the mail.
One book was futuristic YA fantasy. One about a couple that go through a nightmare situation. And the other one is also YA but I’m still awaiting the chapter until later today.
I tend to be an avid sci-fi/fantasy reader. With a soft spot for young adult. So I tailored my services to genres that run in the same vein of what I enjoy reading in my regular life. This enables me to judge it better because I’m familiar with the elements of those genres more so than say… romance or something.
I read the chapters a few times.
The first time as a casual reader.
The second time, I looked at the characters and how I felt about them. Looked at technology or magic, how were the descriptions. Did they make me see it? The atmosphere. Was the world believable?
The third read was usually for dialogue and the flow of things. If I didn’t put my finger on that line I had to reread. Or if a sentence made me stumble. Impressions that I got and anything it reminded me of in popular culture. I made sure to convey what I was seeing or not seeing and how it felt.
These things may not be huge to a casual reader in a conscious way but they are huge to a writer. Making sure that the story is coming across the way they want. That my imagination is somewhat on the page they’re on (bad pun).
Understanding why you feel the way you do, about what you’ve read is a great gift of beta reading. It made me think differently because I didn’t have the answers. It made me ask questions that maybe the author wants me to ask. It made me really think about how and what I read. It was super fun.
When I talk to the author, I make sure to include things that I absolutely loved. That made an impression. As well as including things that I didn’t care about enough. Or scenes that feel disjointed somehow. Questions when it comes to criticism are your friend. Sometimes just asking “Did you mean to do this?” Is a lot better than telling an author what you think they did wrong. It might not be wrong. It might be exactly what they meant to do.
Anyway, that’s all I have to share today. I plan on updating this on Mondays. If anyone reading this has any questions or topics they are curious about: Here I am!
PS: If any of the authors that I’m reading for want me to post any marketing for their books. Blurbs, cover art, etc. I would love to add that into my blog!