*Quick Announcement* - I am on a mission trip until Saturday and will not answer comments until then.
Beta reading is awesome, guys. I love being able to read someone's book before it is even finished and tell them how much I like it. However, in order to be an awesome beta reader, you must do more than that.
1. BE HONEST.
This is the #1 thing. The writer you are beta-ing for wants feedback to help better their book. Sparing them criticism is a beta reading no-no!
2. Look for things the writer specifically asks you to.
Sometimes, writers use beta readers to see how they did with a specific thing such as pacing, plot, and/or characters. Other times, a writer might ask you to look at the writing style. If the writer asks you do look for something, do it.
3. BE LOVING.
Another huge one. The 1 Corinthians 16:14 says, "Let all you do be done in love." This includes beta reading even if you really don't like the book. You are critiquing something a writer has spent a lot of time on.
4. Point out positive things.
This assures the writer that he/she did some things right. (We writers are often plagued with self-doubt...especially when we shove it in someone's face to read. Utterly terrifying.)
5. Make sure the writer knows what confused you.
Whenever I beta read someone's book, I always point out stuff that confused me. In books, clarity is oh so important.
6. Point out things that need work.
Maybe provide some suggestions as well.
7. Never sound like you are attacking the writer.
Again, be loving.
8. Don't hold comments/suggestions back because you think they might be a little too harsh.
As long as you tell it in a loving way, you should tell the writer.
Bonus Tip for the Writer
- Welcome feedback.
Make sure you are ready to change your story. If you plan on publishing your book, you created it for the purpose of people reading it. If people think certain part need work or are confusing, you should listen to them. There are things you overlooked because you know this story better than anyone else in the world.