I have several people I ask for beta readings. Mostly I ask for another set of eyes on the manuscript. But for the most part I get beta readers who aren’t writers or editors.
[About Cat Hartliebe] [Writer’s Stuff]
That isn’t a bad thing. I’m asking readers to read and tell me if anything caught them up. Readers are who ends up reading the story. I can pick out more specific crap. My writer beta readers can help with more complex stuff. But I want to have readers reading it.
But they aren’t editors. And they come back with what should I say? I get the I like it. Or I stopped at such and such page. I struggled to finish. It’s a good story, but not my normal genre so it was hard for me to read.
I write for a general person. I am not trying to boost vocabulary. I just want to give a reader a chance to leave the real world for a while. So I don’t need to have English majors reading my stuff.
Still, don’t throw a random reader at a book and expect editor results. So I made a quick questions sheet to guide them on the right path. It’s the basic questions I ask myself when doing a reader level edit.
Questions for non editor beta readers:
1 When you looked at the front cover/picture and/or title and book series did you want to read it? _____________________________________________________________
2 When you looked at the back’s quick summery, did you want to read chapter one? _____________________________________________________________________
3 Was there a forward or prologue? Did this forward/prologue make you want to read further into the story? _____________________________________________________
4 Reading the first page: Did you like the first introduction? Were you drawn away by the introduction? Anything stand out? _________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
5 First chapter: Were you enthralled to continue reading? Did you have to stop or reread an area? Are you confused? ___________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
6 Second Chapter: (and all others) Are you writing these answers between chapters or after reading the whole book? ___________________________________________
7 Were you enthralled to continue reading? Did you have to stop or reread an area? Are you confused? __________________________________________________________
8 Did the book drag on at any point? Where? _______________________________________________________________________________________________________
9 Are there a lot of grammar or spelling mistakes? _______________________________
10 Are there so many “big words” you had a dictionary open while reading? ______________________________________________________________________________
11 Could you put the book down? Rate the ability to stop reading between 1 and 10. Give books or actions done at 1, 10 and your chosen rating. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
12 Did you hear the action? Did you see the love? Were you playing the part of a character (main or side)? Did you not involve yourself at all? _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
13 Please finish reading the entire book: Do you need or want to read it again? Why? _________________________________________________________________________
14 Would you tell someone else about the book? _______________________________
15 Who is your favorite character? __________________________________________
Any other comments, questions, or continuation of answers can be on back of page.
THANKS for reading my unpublished work. I’ll read your tweaks and get you the real copy soon!
Hopefully this helps others as much (or more) than it helped me. It’s only meant as a guide to help non-editors give a level of edit.