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Beta Reading Process Part 2

Last week I talked a bit about my beta reading process. Or, at least, the first part of it. It’s such a broad topic for me that I’ll be able to make three posts out of it. Which is fun, fun, fun! If you want to read part 1, you can find that HERE, but otherwise, let’s get on into part 2!

Today I’ll be going over how I do my chapter feedback. I mentioned before that I have three questionnaires that I look at when taking in beta reading feedback. I also talked about how I separate my chapters into 5 chapters/beta reading session. Let’s dive in a little bit into those questions and why I used them.

I first ask for their name. Gotta know who I’m talking to, right?

Then I ask for their email, so I can do a quick reply when their form comes straight to my inbox.

I ask them what segment of chapters are they giving feedback on. It really helps to keep everything organized without trying to figure out which they were talking about on my end.

From those preliminary questions, we move onto the Feedback Questions, which are more centered on the book and its contents.

I ask them what their initial thoughts on this collection of chapters was. After all was said and done, what were their most basic thoughts on these chapters? How did they feel about them? It kind of prepares me for what their feedback might look like—toughens my skin if they’re about to deal out some much-desired but very-scary constructive criticism.

What was your favorite scene and why is my next question. What did they love the most and why?

To oppose that, I ask what was their least favorite scene and why. Gives me a clear idea on what I need to fix in the future, rework, refocus on.

I ask them what were their thoughts on the main character in these chapters. Was she frustrating? Relatable? Funny? Sometimes what I want the character to come across as doesn’t always translate onto the page, and this question really helps.

On a scale of 1-10, how much did you enjoy this collection of chapters comes next. I’m not looking for a 10/10 every time, but my goal is anything above a 6, I think. I also add a little subtitle under that question “be honest!” Because some people may not feel comfortable being truthful, but that’s what I want. That’s what they’re here for.

To follow that up, I ask why. Gives me a clear idea on what works and what doesn’t!

From the feedback questions, I go onto the section for Other Questions.

I begin by asking them if the amount of reading is too much. The last thing I want to do is overwhelm them!

Then I ask if there are any characters that feel flat or unreal. Unless that’s what I’ve been planning to do, I don’t want anyone to feel flat or unreal.

The next question on my form is Is there any part of the storyline that has felt unrealistic to you. What’s the dullest part of the story?

Is there anything else they’d like to tell me about these collection of chapters. Anything that didn’t fall under the other categories, anything else on their brain. A catch-all.

And then, finally, I ask Was there anything that didn't sit well with you? More often than not, they reiterate what they’ve said in the “least favorite” scene section, but sometimes people include other tidbits of things that didn’t quite sit well, so this is a good question to have. The different wording really helps jog any last thing before they press submit.

I send that Chapter Feedback form every single time I send out new chapters. My beta readers have to send me the form back, filled out, before they receive the next set of five chapters. Like I mentioned before, this is a great way to weed out the people who are just in it for the free reading. I can see what their detailed level of feedback might look like, how they could help me in the future.

It totals up to 14 questions, which I think is the perfect amount for every 5 chapters. Some people do every chapter, and even though that detailed of information may prove invaluable, I think for my stories and for the sake of my betas, doing segments of 5 really fits well. Especially when planning out a timeline! Planning out the schedule of beta reading is so fun, because it makes me super excited for what's to come!

Part 3 will be coming next week, so keep an eye out for that post!

My YA Romance, WHAT ARE FRIENDS FOR?, is out NOW! It's available on both ebook and paperback.



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