The term “Beta Readers” is a daunting phrase for fledgling authors. It means you trust your book to people who don’t know you and won’t be so prone to sugar-coating their review of your work.
My first reader, admittedly, was my nephew. While he is still a teenager, he is a voracious reader so I knew his opinion of the story would be valuable. Since I gave him the book in the middle of the summer, his reading was not as fast as his usual pace but he loved the story and he liked the twist at the end.
My second reader was a friend, but a friend who I knew I could count on to be brutally honest about her take on the story, the writing and the characters. When she handed the pages back to me, they were filled with sticky notes that I was initially afraid to read. When I finally got the courage to open the pages, her sticky notes were filled with encouraging messages and notes about her excitement to keep reading to see where the story went. She didn’t want to put the book down. Her last message had me in tears when she said she was at a loss for what to read next because she enjoyed the book so much.
My third reader is a friend of my second reader. I have never met her so her opinion was, by far, the most anticipated because she had nothing to gain, or to lose, by telling me her honest opinion of my book. She enjoyed the intrigue and said my book had all the elements of a good suspense/thriller and she is looking forward to my next book. For a writer, it doesn’t get much better than that!
After those encouraging words, I followed my pattern from last year and have scheduled the suspension of my satellite service for a six-month period starting a few days after the Superbowl. Without the mindless distraction of random television shows, I hope to repeat my success from last year and finish book number two while still pounding the internet pavement to see if I can find an interested agent or publisher for book number one.
If ever I needed patience, now is the time. I will still be looking for a few more Beta Readers in the interim but my confidence in handing over my pages is certainly much higher that it was before. Most of the fear is gone and has been replaced by hope. A few positive words can go a long way and I plan on holding those words very close to my heart.