Thursday, February 6, 2014

Using Family and Friends as Beta Readers

Hello. It's Caitlin.

I’ve heard that you shouldn’t use family and friends as beta readers because they’re just going to tell you what a good writer you are or, if they do criticize you, it will hurt even more. These are valid points, and I would in no way endorse using just friends and family. You need other writers to look at your work with a writer’s eye. And you do need people who don’t know you, or don’t know you well, to judge your work objectively.

That said, I do have some friends and family members who read my work or who I brainstorm with. While it has had its ups and downs (just like everything in the writing process), overall it has been very helpful. And, just like you need writers to look at your work with a writer’s eye, I think it’s invaluable to get feedback from people who are avid readers but don’t know much about writing. After all, most of your audience won’t be writers. They’ll be readers. 

Do you use family and friends as beta readers? Have you found it helpful?

Lisa: I have no family for beta readers, but I do have a friend - my best friend. She is not helpful in the critiquing department. However, we all need encouragement, and her unending supply of compliments amid the huge pile of criticisms is so nice. And I know it's what she truly believes too since she has told me that she didn't like one of my stories before. So, I don't think it's a bad thing to have people close to you act as beta readers, but it's not good to be dependent on those. Always get someone to read your story who has more distance from you, who's not afraid to tell you that your story is bad.

Karlie: Like Lisa, my best friend is usually the first one to read a completed manuscript. She's better at complimenting, but she will tell me what she thinks of the plot and characters - good and bad. And believe it or not, my oldest brother is the best beta reader I've ever had. His suggestions are invaluable. For the most part, though, I prefer people who aren't so close to me to beta my work. They are, without fail, the most honest when it comes to critique. (My brother can be brutal at times; but it's always what I need. :)

Tell us what you think. Family and friends for beta readers...good or bad?

No comments:

Post a Comment