Editorial Work



the concept of beta readers has been a staple in the fanfic world since as long as I’ve been there, though no doubt before as well. But more and more I’m hearing about authors using them, (or at the very least indie authors) and I’m starting to wonder is this the new thing?

Going through a professional publishing house, an author’s book goes through lots of professional editors, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it going through beta readers of maybe friends and the like, people who’s opinion you trust. In a way it makes perfect sense, because who better to tell you what’s missing from a story than actual readers, but conversely it also seems a little… strange. Maybe is the word I’m looking for. Writing has always seemed like such a private venture that the idea of making it into this giant group collaboration seems more foreign than perhaps it really is. And maybe it’s something I should consider with book 3. After I’ve done at least one round of edits on my own, maybe I’ll have someone I trust read it.

The big question is… should beta readers see it, before or after your editor?

Decisions. Decisions.

10 thoughts on “Editorial Work

  1. Beta readers are incredibly important, I think. My theory is that you send the book to your editor once it’s as perfect as you can possibly get it. Not only does it make the editor’s life easier, it also allows them to focus in on the little problems, rather than having to go back to you and say, “Well … your book kinda needs work. You should probably rewrite it”. Beta readers, bless their hearts, are basically free editors. They have great advice (usually), and offer different perspectives (always) — and the more people you can get giving you advice, the better!!!

  2. I used some beta readers for my first novel, and got some valuable advice from some of them at least. Going to do same with novel revising at moment BUT also sending it to a professional editor. Having both sets of comments will help me decide how much gets hacked or honed. Read too much self-published stuff that feels as if the writer never got any help.

  3. I think the best advice is whatever works for you! What do you want from your beta readers – a line by line critique or just a gut reaction ‘yes’ or ‘no’?
    I feed bits of my novels to readers as it’s going along but the trouble with that is they only get to read in dribs and drabs so there’s not a lot of ‘flow’ to the story. And then when you give them the whole book it’s not so effective as they already know the high and low points!

  4. First of all, I can’t believe you aren’t familiar with beta readers. Gasp! Anyway, you should send your work to beta readers before it goes to the editor. They’ll catch plot wholes and inconsistencies you might miss. And they can offer insight about the general flow from a reader’s standpoint. Invaluable in my opinion. You don’t want to leave that sort of stuff to your editor.

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