One of my goals this year was to have three rounds of beta readers for my novel The Death Club. Right now I’m on the second round and honestly, it’s not going well. Out of my current group, only one person has provided me with any feedback (thank you Deb for your insightful and constructive feedback). Two have apologized and said they haven’t been able to get to it because of work, life, etc. And the rest haven’t bothered to reply back to me at all.
I always try to be understanding that work, school, family, and other aspects of life of come first. But I also believe when you say you’re going to do something for someone, you find some way to do it for them. I’ve beta read for two people while I was getting my MFA, working on my own novel, working, and doing so many other things at the time… yet I told those people I would beta read for them and provide them with constructive feedback and I did because I fully believe in helping a writer achieve their creative vision. As a writer, I fully believe in helping and supporting other writers in anyway I can.
But not everyone is a writer. Not everyone understand the importance of providing feedback for someone’s creative vision so they can work on it. I don’t want to be selfish. I always try my hardest to avoid being selfish, and I don’t want to be selfish with this even though it’s important to me.
So with all that being said, I’ve made the decision that I will not be doing a third round of beta readers for my novel. I have found it to be a mostly unhelpful and frustrating situation and I don’t want to carry negative energy into my novel. So I will take what feedback I have received from the two rounds I’ve done, some notes I’ve made while I waited for my feedback, and start editing from there. I actually had a huge breakthrough on my character Balor while talking about my novel with my friend’s mom and it was the best feeling ever. I feel like through that conversation, I’ve finally got him figured out and can finally show him as I know him to be.
So the plan is to spend the rest of the year working on the novel without any additional feedback. I am going to start with the edits I know I want to make, then take the novel apart chapter-by-chapter. I feel if I look at it on a chapter-by-chapter basis, I’ll be able to flesh out the entire story better and make it flow better. This will also give me time to put some money together so when I do another round of beta readers in 2022, I can look for paid beta readers who have good ratings and do this professionally. As of right now, I feel that is my best option. On Twitter I told someone I don’t believe in paying for beta readers because reading is something we do for the joy and benefit of it and I stand by that in all regards. I also mentioned how I did beta reading for free purely because I enjoy reading and helping other writers. Though I still stand by all those statements, I do have to retract the part about not believe in paying for beta readers. I’ve now realized that everyone has different motivations for why they do things and though they might still be pure, there needs to be more to it for them… but I will say more about that in an upcoming blog posts on the pros & cons of unpaid and paid beta readers.
So that’s where I’m at right now on my novel editing journey. How is your novel writing/editing going? What are your thoughts on unpaid versus paid beta readers? I would love to know! I hope everyone has a safe and relaxing weekend!