Updated: Feb 20
Let's jump right into part 3 of this process! I'll be discussing the questionnaire that I send my beta readers for when they've finished the novel. This is the form going over all of their thoughts and feelings post-reading. At the end of this post, I also talk a bit about what to do with that feedback, as well as mentioning a few fun giveaway things to check out!
I get the preliminary questions out of the way first. Name and email are both covered there.
For the feedback questions, I ask these questions:
What's RIGHT? (Particular scenes you enjoyed; things you liked about the book, theme, or writing style; characters you enjoyed; etc.)
This causes them to go over what they liked in detail. The things they like the most, they’ll mention it first here. It gives me a bigger idea of what stood out, what was written the best—if there’s something that I want to be here but isn’t, it’s a good idea of what I need to revisit.
What's WRONG? (Plot inconsistencies; grammar or formatting errors; other stuff that bugs you that doesn't fit into the CONFUSING or MISSING categories)
It’s good and easier for me to have everything they don’t like in one place. This is going to be the broader things that stood out to them, or the things that they believed was so wrong that they’re including it here. They may have mentioned it in the chapter feedback, but if they still remember what it was to include it in the final form, I know it’s something I need to go back and take another look at.
What's CONFUSING? (Plot holes; characters you can't keep track of; elements that don't make sense; etc.)
This helps me to know what didn't come across the way that I wanted to!
What's MISSING? (Anything you think will improve the book if it's added)
This is a great question, because it really can give me an idea of what could be added! Something new, something fun, and something I’d never thought of. I love this question because it makes me go back and think of new ways to write scenes.
Did you feel like any character should have more/less to their story?
This is a great question to make sure each character was represented correctly, at least like how I want them to be represented!
Were there any names of people/places that didn't work for you? This one is honestly a question I could cut—but it’s also a good idea to make sure there are no names that are “too out there” to some readers.
On a scale of 1-10, how much did you enjoy reading the book? Easy enough!
What's your opinion on the book's length?
This is one that I do with multiple questions: too long, just right, or too short.
What were your final thoughts on the main character?
For my genre, I want my main character to be likable and relatable. By the end, I want to make sure I’ve covered these two bases!
Were you ever emotionally affected by the plot and/or characters.
I always want readers to feel affected by the plot in at least one way—plots and characters that affect readers make for a memorable read, and a memorable read is a good thing!
How did you feel at the end of the book? Satisfied? Unsettled? Disappointed? For my genre, YA Romance, I want readers to leave happy. Not unsatisfied, not weighed down. So this is definitely a question I love including!
Were there parts of the book that were slower than they should have, or where you lost interest? This doesn’t always mean I have to go back and speed things up, not necessarily. But it is a good idea to keep an eye out for multiple people mentioning the same scene. (I’ll go into this more below!)
The CATCH-ALL: This field is for any feedback that didn't quite fit somewhere else, or general comments
Any last questions or comments they may have for me!
And then I ask two questions about them.
Would you like to be listed in the acknowledgments of this story? If so, how would you like to be referred as? :)
Would you like to be on the list for future beta reads? (You're under no obligation to anything in the future--I'll just shoot you an email when the time comes to see if you'd be interested!)
So when it comes to these beta reading questions, you may be thinking “That’s a lot of feedback…am I supposed to incorporate all of it?!”
Short answer: no.
Long answer: no, you don’t have to incorporate all of it. Let me tell you why.
When it comes to beta reading feedback ,you may have heard about the rule of three. If you see a particular concern come up three times, then you know “hey, this may need changing.” If three or more people are concerned about the same particular thing, that means it stood out—stood out enough to pull them from the story, which is a major concern. You want them to love your book.
Sure people are going to have a few things they may not approve of—and they may also give a valid argument! It’s not to say that only when three people agree on one thing make the fix. If one person says something you’re like “ooh, I see what they mean”, it’s totally up to you if you want to change it. In fact, everything is up to you if you want to change it!
But just remember, the beta reading process is to make you manuscript BETTER. It can be hard to take the constructive criticism, but you asked them for their input, so try to see each point through their eyes!
I mentioned above that I have two fun promotions for you to check out, so here they are! If you're a fan of YA Romance, this month I'm joining over 100 authors to share our stories!
First, on BookSweeps, there's a giveaway! If you haven’t read WHAT ARE FRIENDS FOR?, you can enter to win it on BookSweeps today—plus 80 Contemporary Romances from a great collection of authors AND a brand new eReader!
Here’s the link to BookSweeps’ Valentine’s Day Extravaganza bit.ly/VDayRomance-Feb2020
I'm also joining some fellow YA Romance authors on BookFunnel to showcase are swoon-worthy reads just in time for Valentine's Day! Check out the link with all of our books and stories here: https://books.bookfunnel.com/youngloveintheair/i5bv9xlxmg
When you’re done, comment to let me know you’ve checked out each promotion! Good luck!