beta
Not this kind of beta.

So, you want to be a beta reader?

Or maybe you have no idea idea what a beta reader is. Maybe you’ve been hearing this term, and you’re like, “What does this mean?! How can a reader be a letter of the Greek alphabet?!”

Have no worries. This page will answer all your beta-related questions.

What is a beta reader?

In the context of literature, a beta reader is a someone who reads an early manuscript in order to give the writer suggestions on how to improve characters, plot, pacing, and/or technical elements like grammar and word choice.

Let me stress this point:

It’s an early manuscript. It’s unfinished. You are NOT reading the final version that will go to print. Rather, you have the privilege of influencing the version that will go to print.

Should I be a beta reader?

If you’re interested in joining the special beta reading club, but you’re not sure if you’d be a good fit or not, here are a couple questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do you complain a lot about books/movies? In other words, after you finish a book or movie, do you whine about what would make it better? Do you get frustrated when writers make major mistakes in plot/continuity, or when characters do things that make no sense, or when an ending disappoints you?
  2. Do you revel in the idea of TELLING an author your complaints? Okay, you may be a nice person and you don’t want to mean or anything, but imagine this: The book you just read frustrated you. BUT, you get to tell the author what frustrated you. And the author will listen. The author will probably change the book according to your feedback. Imagine the power in your hands!! Does this power appeal to you?

If you answered YES to both of these questions, then you would make a perfect beta reader.

But, if you answered NO – if you tend to be a casual reader with no strong opinions about what you read – then beta reading probably isn’t a good fit for you.

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How can I become a beta reader?

Well, I am so glad you asked. 🙂

Very soon, I will need beta readers for my YA fantasy novel, City of Reckoning, and my prequel novella, The Rebel of Mosoria. I plan on conducting several rounds of beta reading in 2016 and 2017. For each of these rounds, however, I will need different kinds of beta readers. So, take a look at the schedule below and see which of these would be the best fit for you:

1. First Round for City of Reckoning (Completed)

Dates: February – March 2016

Purpose: Critiquing story and emotions. Or, more specifically: Characters, pacing, plot believability, and consistency.

Types of readers wanted: Readers who are sensitive to story, characters, plot, etc., and are not overly focused on sentence structure and grammar. This draft will not be completely polished in terms of word choice, so I really need people who care more about the story anyway. 🙂 Also, more priority will be given to readers in my target audience (teens and early adults, guys and gals).

2. Second Round for City of Reckoning (FULL)

Dates: January 2017 – March 2017 (estimate)

Purpose: This will be much like the first round, with a focus on story and emotions.

Types of readers wanted: Once again, very similar to the first round. I’m looking for people who are story-focused, and not grammar/word-choice-focused. However, the main difference is that I will open this up to a slightly wider audience. In other words, you don’t need to be in your teens or twenties for this round.

3. Third Round for City of Reckoning (FULL)

Dates: May – July 2017 (estimate)

Purpose: Critiquing word choice. This round will have almost nothing to do with story; although I will still be open to hearing feedback in that area, I will be primarily looking for feedback on the structure of my writing itself.

Types of readers wanted: Nitpicky grammar nazis, editors, fellow writers, and just anyone in general who has a keen eye for faulty sentence structure, incorrect grammar, and imperfect word choice. Also, no age limitations or requirements for this round.

4. First Round for The Rebel of Mosoria (FULL)

Dates: November 2016 (estimate)

Purpose: Critiquing story and emotions. Or, more specifically: Characters, pacing, plot believability, and consistency.

Types of readers wanted: Readers who are sensitive to story, characters, plot, etc., are possibly (but not exclusively) in my teen/young-adult target audience, and who have a strong stomach because – unfortunately – this little novella is mighty violent.

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Okay, I’m in! Now what??

If you want to join the beta reading club, email me at beta[at]briannadasilva.com and tell me which round you’d like to join! 🙂 Or, use the contact form below.

Last question… is this going to be hard?

Maybe the idea of giving detailed critiques intimidates you, a little.

Have no fear!

Beta reading will be super easy. Particularly for the first two rounds, I will give you a worksheet with questions to answer. You won’t even have to think too hard. Just read the book, and fill out the worksheet. 🙂 For the third round, I may ask for a bit more detailed feedback, but still: No, this will not be hard.

Finally…

Here’s a contact form if you want to become a beta reader for City of Reckoning or The Rebel of Mosoria!

By the way… thank you!!

**Update: Please note that all rounds are closed to further applicants. If you are still interested in becoming a beta reader, indicate that you would like to join the waiting list, and I’ll let you know when a new round opens up. 🙂**