Recently I sent out my third Manuscript to my beta readers. I wanted to them to have some idea of what kind of feedback I would be looking for so I drafted some guidelines for them and sent them along with the manuscript. I never thought that this might be useful to more than my chosen victims. In the interest of thoroughness I also sent a copy to my editor, Wendy Reis. That lovely lady made some minor alterations and suggested others might benefit from my list. So, here they are. Thank you Wendy for nudging me on this. I hope my writer friends find it useful.
GUIDELINES FOR BETA READERS:
If you find yourself unable to complete this in the time I need you can let me know. I will understand, so don’t be concerned if you have to turn me down. I am sending this ahead of time so that if you cannot do this I will know and can approach other readers instead. In the meantime, thank you so much for offering to do this. You will never know how valuable this is to me.
When you come across something in the manuscript that needs to be looked at please take down the page number, and paragraph so I can find the spot.
Please keep track of everything in a word doc (preferred) or email format so you can send it to me via email as an attachment. (Or in the body if no Word doc.)
WHAT I AM LOOKING FOR:
1: Awkward sentences – anything you feel the need to read twice, or just doesn’t read smoothly.
2: Places where the pace is off or bogging down – where it gets slow and boring.
3: Grammar, spelling and punctuation errors.
4: Where would you like to see more description.
5: Where would you like to see more dialogue or tension.
6: Anything that just doesn’t work for you.
Please be as specific as you can, especially as to location of the problem. I want honest feedback. I promise I will not be offended. If something bothers you it is likely to bother other readers as well. I will not promise to use all your suggestions but I will take them seriously. This part of the process is very important. Your honest input will make this a better book.
Thank you all again.