Beta’s and Arc’s
A Note to my Beta Readers and ARC Readers
and those who may wish to be one.
You, my Beta’s and Arc’s, are some of the most amazing people in my life and I haven’t even met most of you. You share your most valuable resource with me. . . time. You do your best to help me become a better writer. You help me hone my craft. And you do it all, for nothing much more than a very heartfelt “Thank You” and a free copy of my work. Do you have any idea how humbling that is? You aren’t just people, friends, or avid readers. You are my dear Beta’s and ARC’s are my SUPERHEROES!
You read my mindless dribble when it is often at a stage that it should be hidden away from public sight. You muddle through my writing when there are missing words that cause your eyes to stumble when reading, plot holes so big that they swallow woolly mammoths, and ideas so incoherent that you scratch your head raw. You help me take what amounts to a pile of poop, and turn it into something that just maybe, others will want to read.
I absolutely can not thank you enough.
If you are new to this, or you think you may want to be a Beta or ARC reader, here is a description of the roles of each.
Beta’s: You are the Marines. You are the first to hit the beach under heavy enemy fire. You take the hard shots and potentially sacrifice your very sanity by reading through my words at their very roughest stage. You are reading my drafts before any editing, any polishing, any proofing.
No, you are not editors, polishers, or proofers. You are discriminating readers who critically examine my storylines, my plots, and my subplots. You let me know if I have foreshadowed something too much, or not enough. You let me know if my characters are weak and under-developed, or if they grabbed you and you could feel their pain and joy. You ask me tough questions like “Why didn’t you. . . ” or “Why did this character do (or didn’t do). . .”
You help me find my story flaws, my inconsistencies, and my weak points. You help shape the direction of the stories, help me course correct, and often provide me insightful ideas into what I think I wrote versus what I actually wrote. You are brutally honest to the point of causing me physical pain. Yet, the more pain you cause me. . . the more I love you. For it is that pain of hearing each and every weak spot in my story that allows me to improve my work as well as my skills as a writer.
You absolutely rock!
ARC’s: ARC basically stands for Advanced Reader Copy. You are reading the final product. This is the edited, polished, and proofed final manuscript. You are reading for the simple joy of reading a story.
Your role overall is to help me launch my book into the world. All online booksellers choose which books to show a buyer based on their search and then modified by closest match and then book rating (aka reviews). So if you search for a medieval fantasy involving pink fuzzy dragons and Amazon finds twenty-five to show you, the one at the top will be the highest rated.
Book reviews are one of the greatest equalizers between big publishing houses and indie writers like myself. If an indie writer can come out of the gate with ten great reviews when they launch thier book, Amazon takes notice and starts showing that book to a lot more people. Even if other similar books have more reviews, Amazon may bump the newcomer up the ladder since they are, at that moment, a rising star.
So, your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to read the novel and then leave a review on Amazon. When I hit ten reviews with an average rating above 4 stars, then not only does search placement improve, but new advertising opportunities become available. That allows me to create more momentum and increase the sales of my books.
Your review should ideally be 200 words or greater to carry the most weight on Amazon and other sites. The star rating is extremely important, but the review itself is equally important. The sites will dissect your review and keep track of how many people say similar things. “What a great ending” “The emotion I felt reading was overwhelming.” “Loved the hero” “Great read” “Fast read” “Couldn’t put it down” etc… are all examples of words Amazon would likely focus on.
So, in a nutshell, you are my advertising team or what some authors call their “street team” that helps them launch a book quickly and efficiently.
Your reviews are crucial to the success of my books. I depend on you greatly and so appreciate the valuable time you are sharing with me.
Please note: It is not your job to look for typos or errors. You are trying to read the book as close to a regular reader would as possible. However, if some blatant error pops out at you, please share it with me so I can make the correction. As Stephen King has said, no book has ever been published without a typo. I doubt I will be the first, but I hope to be as close as possible.
Not a Beta or ARC yet? But wanna be?
If you aren’t already a Beta or ARC reader and would like to be, just drop me a note through the contact form. I will get you on the list as soon as a spot opens up.
Can you be a Beta and an Arc? Of course, many are. You end up reading the same story twice, but you get to see firsthand the difference between the draft and the final version. You may even get to see where your input changed the course of the story or fixed a flaw that could have ruined the final product.