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.

Why Does Feedback Hurt So Much?

Bloody hand holding large knife

Several people I know are going through revisions right now based on feedback they received from beta readers, agents, or editors.  Every one of them is dealing with the “I suck” issue along with that. Yes, sometimes feedback can be a bit too mean or blunt, but that’s not the […]

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April 24, 2012

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What Does “Writing Is Subjective” Mean?

Male model with "bedroom" eyes

If you’ve sent out queries, you’ve probably received rejections.  They usually say things along the line of: “This is just my opinion and others may feel differently.” “Just because I wasn’t drawn in doesn’t mean others won’t love it.” “Publishing is a subjective business and another agent would be better suited to your work.” […]

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April 19, 2012

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Ask Jami: How Do We Find Beta Readers?

Woman reading in a park on a sunny day

My post about combining comments from multiple beta readers in MS Word brought up a great question.  How do we get beta readers? In the comments, Amanda Byrne asked, “[A]ny hints on how you can scare up more beta readers? … [O]nly one of them gets back to me in […]

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April 5, 2012

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Are You Teachable?

Boy learning to ride a tricycle

Over the past six months, I’ve received feedback on my work from many sources—contest judges to beta readers.  A lot of them told me things I didn’t want to hear. It would have been very easy to get defensive and react along the lines of:  Didn’t they read it?  It’s […]

March 22, 2011

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Should Beta Readers Match Your Market?

Square peg in a round hole

Several months ago, I ran a post about what to look for in a critique partner.  One of the points I’d made was to evaluate whether a potential critique partner was familiar with our genre.  Only someone knowledgeable about our genre would know the expectations for pacing, character development, etc. […]

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March 10, 2011

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The Truth about Writing Contests

Chess Faceoff

Opinionated statement alert: Every writer should volunteer to judge a writing contest.   And not simply for altruistic reasons.  No, we should do it because we can learn from reading others’ work, as it’s much easier to see mistakes in prose other than our own. My friend Anassa Rhenisch had […]

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February 17, 2011

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What Do Readers Expect?

Sad girl

We’ve all been disappointed at some point during our lives.  As a child, I once discovered my Christmas presents early, hidden in my parents’ closet (it was by accident, I swear!).  My fingers ached to play with all those toys and I couldn’t wait for the big day. But when […]

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December 23, 2010

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Critique Week: Building a Relationship

Steel Truss Bridge

During this two-week long Critique Week extravaganza we’ve looked at how criticism can help us improve, we’ve learned what a successful critique partnership looks like, and we’ve identified our strengths and weaknesses so we’ll recognize our perfect critique partner.  Now let’s put that all together and talk about how to […]

September 22, 2010

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Critique Week: Finding the Perfect Critique Partner

Step Pyramid

It’s probably a given that all good writers want to get even better.  Last week, I talked about how we can use criticism to improve our work, and I gave a peek inside a successful critique partnership. My critique partner and I work very well together, and we certainly lucked […]

September 20, 2010

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What to Look for in a Writing Contest

Blue Ribbon

This past weekend was “contest entering” weekend for me—and I’m not nervous at all. (It’s okay, you don’t have to believe me.) But after several years of writing, this decision to enter a contest was a new one for me. Which of course begs the question, why did I finally […]

August 30, 2010

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