Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Critique Partners and Beta Readers - check!

When I first started writing my novels, I never thought about what I needed when I was done. I knew I'd write a first draft, let it percolate, go back and read/edit and repeat. I've never been part of a writing group so the idea of critique partners was foreign to me.

I soon realized, after reading other blogs and chatting with other writers, that I was going to need both of these. The problem was, I had no idea how to go about finding them.

I knew I could use family and close friends for beta readers but I was worried about getting honest reviews from them.

Then I read Rachel Harrie's blog seeking to help writers link up with each other. I was fortunate to connect with two great critique partners and I feel a lot better about future edits on my books. I also have found a couple of folks willing to be beta readers, folks who aren't afraid to "tell me like it is". My husband is always my alpha reader and initial proof editor. He does a great job and I appreciate the time he takes for this.

How did you meet your alpha/beta readers and critique partners? If you are self-publishing, how are you dealing with all the details/duties an agent and editor would slog through? All thoughts, ideas and suggestions are appreciated!


  1. When I was working in Ireland, I met an Author/Editor there, he was a friend of a co-worker. He had published some work, but spent the last years as an editor. He wanted to look at my work, and even though he butchered some of it, he said I had potential. So now, we're more friends than anything else, but he still edits my work, and gives me honest feedback on content. I am, however, looking for a new editor as he's decided to write a sequel, and he's the kind of guy that does one thing at a time!

    I learned so much from having an editor, and just as much by having beta-readers. It's all too easy to get stuck in my own world, and see not only the world, but also everything else I've got stored in my head. So an honest, and blank, view of content is always valuable.

  2. I met my primary critique person, Marie, through a personals ad in the news paper. Yeah, I know: a cheesy way to meet people, but... well that's another story.

    We share a lot of values, and we get along well. And Marie is not afraid to tell me "this stinks" when it stinks. And when I'm through sulking, she'll tell me why and suggest ways to make it better. She's usually right, too, so I've learned to spend less time sulking.

    Marie was such a jem I hated to lose her, but I was unsure of my future and where life would take me. So I married her. That has worked out so well that we will be celebrating out 170th anniversary in a couple of weeks.

  3. My alpha reader is the OH, but only because he'd be hurt if he wasn't. He's useless as a critic - "It's very good, dear" is what he always says. My beta reader is my daughter, who is still kind but good to discuss plot etc with. So perhaps I need a gamma reader?

  4. I posted on Facebook that I was looking for beta readers and critique partners, and several people volunteered. Ironically, my blood relatives were the only ones who totally lamed out (as in, they didn't even read it). I still ended up with four beta readers/critique partners who did a great job of pointing out where the story needed work and where it resonated with them.

    I was fortunate enough to have one MFA in the group, and she gave me the most help regarding craft advice. The others came at it more from a reader's perspective, but their questions and comments were excellent. I write fantasy, and only one of the readers normally read fantasy, but in the end, it didn't seem to matter very much. A good story is a good story...or it's not!

  5. Great post. My daughter is my beta reader, but I'm checking into some critique partners.

  6. Interesting to see how others found their CP & beta readers. Thanks for reading and commenting!


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