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Beta Reading and Critiquing

Beta reading/critiquing tips and advice. Sample topics: launch of Query/Blurb Exchange Club, finding beta readers, handling feedback, tips for being a better beta reader, benefits of beta reading, etc.

Help! What If I Can’t Find Beta Readers?

Magnifying glass over a blank page with text: Can't Find Beta Readers?

Every writer struggles to get their thoughts on the page and make their ideas make sense to others. The typical advice for how to resolve that issue is to use beta readers, but what if we can’t find beta readers? What can we do?

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January 17, 2017

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Writing Feedback: Reaching Our Potential

Plant seedling in the sand with text: Believing in Our Potential

Whenever we send our work out into the world for feedback, we’re taking a risk. Depending on our levels of self-doubt, the feedback might roll off our back, inspire us to work harder and fix issues, or convince us that we should quit writing. How can we avoid destructive feedback and the temptation to quit?

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May 10, 2016

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Four Tips for Beta Reading Outside Our Genre

Close up of knothole in a fence with text: Beta Reading Outside Your Genre? 4 Tips to Breach the Genre Borders

During our search for beta readers, we might come across other writers willing to exchange–but they write in a different genre. Should we try a critique partnership anyway? Here are 4 tips for beta reading outside our genre.

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March 17, 2016

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How to Make Beta Reading Work for Us

Crumpled ball of paper with text: Working with Beta Readers

Ever struggle to make readers’ interpretations of your writing match your intentions? We probably all have. As writers, we’re so close to our stories it’s impossible for us to know how readers will interpret our words. A good beta reader will give feedback about what we can’t see. And that’s just one reason why we all need beta readers.

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February 9, 2016

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Writing Diversity: How Can We Avoid Issues?

Purple eye and green hair with text: Avoiding Mistakes with Diversity

The real world is filled with diversity, and our stories should be the same way. There’s no “one right way” to portray diverse characters, but there are wrong ways to portray diversity. However, there are steps we can take to minimize—as much as possible—the potential of “getting it wrong.”

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October 22, 2015

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Feedback: Finding Problems vs. Fixing Problems

Framed paper scrap with text: Tell YOUR Story

If we’ve ever let beta readers or critique groups give feedback on our stories, we’ve probably run into the issue of receiving conflicting advice. In fact, if we’ve ever let more than one person read our work, we’ve probably received conflicting advice. *smile* One reader may love a character someone else hates. […]

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September 11, 2014

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How to Make Sure Readers Don’t Close the Book

Woman reading a book with text: Keep the Readers Reading

Many articles and infographics have tried to answer the question of what makes readers stop reading. They usually include a list of offenses like typos, too boring, confusing, etc. And those are all true. But a recent post took a more analytical approach to measuring problem areas. Jefferson Smith started […]

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September 4, 2014

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Introducing the Beta Reading Worksheet!

Question mark surrounded by text: The Beta Reading Worksheet -- What to Ask & What to Answer

Many of us find beta readers by offering to exchange our work with other writers in a “I’ll give you feedback if you give me feedback” arrangement. That structure means we have to do a good job with our feedback if we want to continue the beta buddy exchange program.

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August 12, 2014

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Ask Jami: Where to Find Beta Readers

Globe on black background with text: Where to Find Beta Readers

Almost two years ago, I posted advice for how to find beta readers. In the time since then, many people have asked me where they can find beta readers. I’d love to be able to offer a mega-list of resources for finding beta readers, and maybe this post can be the […]

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January 16, 2014

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