Do you need a beta-reader?

Is it any good? Get feedback on your work

Is it any good? Get feedback on your work

Every day I see writer’s asking for beta-readers. Finding someone to read your work-in-progress, or what you hope is your finished manuscript is a bit of a feat. You’ve spent so long cloistered away putting the words down on paper – it’s not surprising that when you need someone to read the work you’re rather lost.

It takes time to make contacts – many writers lack access to physical groups and finding them online can take a while. But it’s by no means impossible.

Absolute Write

AW is a great site for writers. The forums offer the opportunity to share your work and get feedback. Usually this offer is only open to those who have posted 50 times but if you’re not a prolific social media user this can be problematic. However, for the nominal fee of US$20 you can become a Benefactor Member and begin asking for feedback on your work straight away. Of course, I recommend you continue to give feedback on others’ work – just because you’re in cyberspace doesn’t mean you can’t use your good manners.

You can also look in the SYW forums for work you like and suggest a swap. This was how I found my first beta-read – an excellent YA work that was a pleasure to read. In return the author read my YA fiction and offered encouragement and some valuable insights about what was lacking and areas that were confusing. Just what we all need!

Authonomy

Authonomy allows you to upload your writing project – if you have 10,000 words you can make your project public and other Authonomites will read and comment on your work. This is a valuable platform but it has a drawback – albeit a shiny one. The driving force for some is to reach the enormously coveted position of #1 – and therefore the desk of Harper Collins’ editors. Reaching the desk guarantees a written report from Harper Collins and the possibility of being recommended for publication. The problem with this can be that people only generally read a couple of chapters your work – often with the hope of getting a read (and star rating) in return.

This gives you a good feeling for what people think of your writing but doesn’t get you feedback on your overall plot structure, story arc and character development, to name a few. However, snuggled at the back of Authonomy, after the bookshelves and the rankings lay the forums; here you can find crit groups to suit your genre, or start your own. There are a huge number of really talented writers there who will help you polish your book.

Goodreads

As you can see, there are places to get your work read after all! Goodreads is another site that’s easy to use but it helps to know what you’re looking for otherwise it can seem like all you’re there to do is collate an electronic bookshelf of titles you’ve already read.

There’s much more to Goodreads than that though. If you have a published book that’s not getting much attention you can advertise it on the Author Program page. But if you’re not self-published yet go to www.goodreads.com/story/new to upload your writing or work-in-progress. Don’t forget to explore what else is posted and leave feedback on other work.

Wattpad

There’s heaps happening on Wattpad – maybe a bit too much. It’s very popular with young writers so if that applies to you then it’s definitely worth exploring. But for those with finished works, or a large work, it might not be the best place. Let me know if you’ve had a good experience on Wattpad.

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