I’m beginning to ask friends to be beta readers instead of hiring an expensive developmental editor. And the feedback they give is invaluable.
Several years ago, a new phrase crept into my vocabulary. I wasn’t sure where I first heard it, but it was repeated regularly among writing circles in online conversations such as, “Three of my Beta Readers agreed on it, so I revised it.” Beta Readers sounded like something I could use, so I set out to discover them, wherever they were hiding.
I had an editor, and a proofreader. Or two or three… but my pockets were already running pretty thin, so I was concerned about what an additional pair of eyes would cost me. After conversing with a few authors of Honest-to-God Stature, I realized that instead of an additional staff item, Beta Readers were actually a rare species that writers needed to treasure and conserve once found.
There was a time when their species was restricted to the narrow spaces in publishing office cubicles between desks of editors…
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