Building A Beta/Writer Relationship

I can’t speak for all betas but I like to get to know my writers. Not only does it become a very close and amazing relationship but it also makes it easier during the beta reading process.

These are some important things to consider when fostering this relationship. I wrote about it a little bit in

Submissions, Feedback and Beta Reading Etiquette

 

Gratitude

 

Sometimes when people critique our work we get defensive. I’ve been known to do it myself. But as someone who critiques all the time as a lifestyle… I can tell you… It’s hard to critique.

As a writer, it’s important for me to remember how hard it can be to share my work. And scary. And uncomfortable. As a beta, I have to remember that it took that same courage for someone to share theirs with me.

The simple act of showing gratitude no matter what side you fall on is very important. It’s amazing how far the simple practice of saying “thank you” can go.

 

Courtesy

 

When I send off a manuscript or piece of one to a reader, I’m anxiously waiting for a response. Sometimes a response never comes.

If you want to build a good relationship meeting deadlines and telling the other party what you are looking for (in terms of time commitment) is very helpful. It’s hard when no one knows what’s going on.

 

Honor

 

A lot of writers worry about plagiarism or people sharing their work with a bunch of people. This should go without saying but don’t do it.

 

Trust

 

When you develop a long term relationship with a writer you’re helping them with their craft. There is a certain level of trust that goes along with it. That is a great responsibility. What are some great practices to ensure you are a writer’s friend?

  • Even if you like the writer, if something isn’t working in their story tell them.
  • If you didn’t feel something or the pacing is off, tell them
  • You don’t have to tear someone down to give them criticism. I like to ask questions or maybe give a few different examples when I give advice on what I’ve read.
  • They aren’t there because they need you to stroke their egos (unless they deserve it). They are working with you to make the best book possible. Don’t forget it!

 

Communication

 

As I’ve stated previously and in many different ways, communication is absolutely the most important thing. If something about the relationship is bothering you, straighten it out — it can effect your critique. If something with the work is bothering you voice it, that’s why you’re there.

 

Manuscript Exchange

 

Sometimes offering to read for your beta readers, if they are writers, is good form. If someone does you a favor, offering one in return is polite. If they turn it down, it’s okay. They’ll remember you cared enough to ask to begin with.

Everything else develops organically. And I’m sure this short list doesn’t cover every possible bit of advice I could impart but I have a whole blog for that 🙂

I have plenty of posts about the Beta/Writer relationship in my archives. If you can’t find an answer to your problem there… feel free to ask me about it. I’m sure you aren’t the only one experiencing it and I never reveal my sources (unless you want me to!)

 

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