Beta readers are the ‘product testers’ or ‘quality control’ of the literary world. They read your unreleased work and offer feedback from a readers point of view on things such as continuity, plot holes, or even hard to pronounce character and place names.
So, what to do with all the feedback?
Getting feedback can be daunting, especially if you have a particularly conscientious beta reader who makes notes on every tiny detail they think should be changed. But that is just it, not every tiny detail should be changed.
Here’s my list of rules I follow when implementing beta feedback:
- Wait to receive all feedback before considering changes.
- Group common feedback points. If more than one beta reader comes back with similar feedback or suggestions, then there is a definite need to revise.
- Separate other feedback into three groups: Implement, Discard, and Contemplate. Do this by asking yourself what feedback is important or a good idea, what is not a necessity or doesn’t aid your narrative, and then anything you want to think on.
- For the points you want to contemplate, ask your other beta readers for their opinion. Did they notice it? Would the reading experience be better if you implement it?
The important thing to remember is that beta feedback is advice. It is up to you, as the author, whether to act on that advice. If a beta reader doesn’t like a time jump, but you feel it is important to the narrative, then leave it in.
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Content belongs to K.J Chapman
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