When to find Beta readers

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  • #123520
    Katherine Baker
    @kb-writer

    Hello!

    It’s been a long time since I posted here, hope you all don’t mind.

    I am almost finished with a rough (and I mean rough) draft of a new fantasy story I’m writing. I’ve really loved it and I’m hoping to polish it up and maybe get it published if its as good as I think it is now.

    Which leads me to my question: should I get some beta readers to read this first draft, or wait until I do some edits and fix the obvious flaws?

    On the one hand, I don’t want to put hours of work into this if it actually isn’t very good (two of my friends say it’s publishing material, but considering they’re close friends, I don’t know how much that means).

    On the other hand, I don’t want to waste my beta readers time with an unpolished piece, or run out of beta readers for something polished later on.

    This is the first time I’ve seriously considered publishing (I’ve been a hobby writer for years, but never gone very far with it). I just want to know what you more experienced writers find most helpful.

    Thank you all in advance!

    Always remember you're unique...
    ...Just like everyone else

    #123528
    Chelsea R.H.
    @seekjustice

    @kb-writer

    Personally, what has always worked for me is writing the first draft, and maybe allowing a few people to read it (so far I’ve only done this for sequels and only for a handful of people who beta read the first novel) but more for encouragement than critique purposes. Then I write a second draft, fixing everything that I can see myself and then I open it up to about ten beta readers to give me their thoughts on it.

    However, I do think that you’re thinking about this the wrong way.

    On the one hand, I don’t want to put hours of work into this if it actually isn’t very good

    It’s your first draft, it’s probably not going to be the best thing in the entire world right now, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the potential to be. I also don’t think that there’s such thing as wasted time when it comes to writing and particularly editing. It may never get published but every time you complete a draft of it, you’ve improved your writing and editing skills which is going to make your next book better anyway. It’s also not wasted time for beta readers, since it allows them to get better at their own craft, and get better at learning how to critique other people. Does that make sense?

    What I would do in this situation (and what I’m currently doing with a novel I’ve just finished) is to read over your draft, rewrite it, fix the major plot problems and then get a few betas (not too many) to look it over for you. That’s what has always worked for me in the past, but it may or may not work for you. Its up to you to figure that out 😀

    Mahalo keia huiʻana

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