There’s No “Beta” Way To Read

Between my social anxiety disorder and my need to be in control of my own work, beta reading was something I was hesitant to have to deal with on my publishing journey. The logical portion of my brain knows that it is extremely helpful to get the feedback of others, especially when I am so buried in my own work that I am more likely to miss things that my brain has glossed over or filled in automatically. But the act of reaching out to people, and putting my raw, unpolished work in the hands of others… That’s more terrifying to me than some of the things I’ve written.

As it is with tackling all big, scary things, starting off small helps. Yes, I have my husband at my disposal any time I need help with any aspect of my publishing career, but he scares much easier than I do and I won’t always be able to get him to read my work. I had to start by asking *gulp* a friend. In a way, that’s much more anxiety inducing than reaching out to a stranger on the internet. This isn’t someone I can simply cut off contact with if things get sour. This is someone who knows me, and who I will continue to interact with on a personal level after they read my work. I felt nauseous the first time I sent a short story to my friend and fellow creator Trevor.

But look! I’m still alive, and that story is going to be a part of Re-Awakening and Other Disturbing Stories. Plus, Trevor’s feedback was so useful that I had him beta read for me again, and again. Most importantly, starting off small by asking a friend for help worked! At this very moment, Re-Awakening is in the hands of a mix of friends and strangers, casual readers and professionals. I’ve even received early feedback from one of my readers that is incredibly helpful and eye-opening.

So what’s the verdict? After all that fear and anxiety, am I finally pro beta reader?

You bet! I’ve even started doing some beta reading myself and really enjoyed it. The experience gave me the opportunity to look at the craft of writing from a whole new perspective. Not only was I challenged to think critically about the work I was reading for my friend Trevor, but it encouraged me to think about my own writing in different ways. Now, I can’t recommend beta reading enough!

If you ever want to beta read for me, sign up for my newsletter so we can keep in touch. It won’t be too much longer until I’ll need readers for my upcoming novella Farm to Table. Or perhaps you’d like me to beta read for you instead. Feel free to contact me through my website. I’d love to help out fellow authors and read new stories. I can’t guarantee my anxiety will never get in the way when it comes to chatting with readers/writers, but I promise I will always show support for the beta readers who help make good stories great.

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