SUGGESTIONS FOR BARDS USING THE BETA READERS DIRECTORY
By Lunacy - firstname.lastname@example.org
Last modified: November 03 2012 12:33:13
Readers listed in the BETA READERS DIRECTORY have expressed an interest in beta reading Xena and/or Star Trek fan fiction and providing prompt feedback. In selecting a beta reader from this directory please keep in mind the following:
1. These individuals have NOT gone through any sort of selection process. The references listed are those the volunteers themselves provided. The only requirement for being listed in the directory is a willingness to beta read and provide prompt feedback.
2. Please contact beta readers DIRECTLY if you are interested in working with them. E-mail addresses are provided for all readers listed.
3. The listing includes readers with all sorts of different backgrounds and different levels of experience in writing, editing, etc. Please keep in mind that enthusiasm and an avid appetite for reading can sometimes be just as helpful as an in-depth knowledge of grammar and critical analysis. It generally is a good idea for bards to use more than one beta reader - between two and four lets say, and to try to pick people with different strengths. Naturally someone who does have a good command of the language is a must, but a beta reader who perhaps isn't that great with grammar but has a good sense of how dialogue flows, or perhaps is good at noticing inconsistencies in the plot or identifying things which are inaccurate based on the TV series, can be just as beneficial to a writer.
4. Please pay close attention to the REQUIREMENTS/PREFERENCES listed for each beta reader and make sure the fan fiction you are writing or planning on writing matches the interests of the beta reader you intend to contact. Some readers in this directory will only beta read Xena fanfic, some are interested in beta reading Star Trek Voyager, some will read either. DO NOT send a beta reader fiction they have specifically indicated they are not interested in. Note that "prose" refers to the regular type of writing found in commercial novels or short stories.
5. When contacting a potential beta reader it is a good idea to type in the subject header of your message the term (BETA READING) or something to that effect in order to make sure the person sees it. Keep in mind that people sometimes belong to mailing lists and get hundreds of messages a day. Your e-mail can end up being accidentally deleted unless you make sure it stands out as a private e-mail. Consider also typing the term within parentheses and in capitalized letters.
6. BEFORE sending your fan fiction to any of the beta readers in the directory please contact the individual(s) FIRST to verify that they do in fact currently have the time to beta read and are willing to work with you. IMPORTANT: If you're underage and are writing a story with explicit content please be honest with the beta reader you contact about this. Let the person know you are underage and that the story you need beta read does include explicit content. Let the person decide whether or not they're comfortable beta reading for you under those circumstances. Understand that an adult beta reader could potentially get in legal trouble discussing an explicit story over private e-mail with you so be honest with them about this and respect their decision if they decide not to beta read for you OR if they ask you not to send them the explicit sections of the story.
7. For the best working relationship with a beta reader be SPECIFIC about the type of feedback you want. Some bards only want someone to check their grammar and spelling but not necessarily comment on any other aspect of the story. Nothing wrong with that but if it is what you want SAY SO. If you do ask for feedback on all aspects of the story be prepared to deal with constructive criticism. It sometimes isn't easy to hear that some aspect of a story you really like isn't working after all. Consult with EACH of your beta readers (this is where having more than one beta reader comes in handy :-) and then decide whether or not you need to change something. Keep in mind that if you feel strongly about your story you DO NOT have to change it. Beta readers are there to give you suggestions and give you a feel for how a story will be received but the ultimate decision on any aspect of a story should be yours as the writer.
8. You should expect PROMPT and SUBSTANTIAL feedback from any beta readers you work with. Now, how prompt that feedback should be really depends on how fast you yourself write and how long are the sections you are sending your beta readers. If you write a chapter every couple of days then you really need beta readers who can provide feedback VERY quickly - within a day. If it usually takes you a week or more to write a chapter then you might not need the feedback quite as quickly. Be clear with your beta readers on how soon you'll be needing feedback after you send them an installment or a new story - be realistic as well. It will usually take even the most avid of beta readers at least a day or two to read what you send them and prepare feedback. If the fiction involves a long story or a novel it may take several days.
Beta readers should be able to give you feedback that is more substantial than something like "Good chapter" or "Hate how it ended". You want beta readers who can explain WHY they liked or didn't like something, who can perhaps offer suggestions for different approaches when the one you're using isn't working. If you're writing a long story or novel there may be slow-going chapters which really don't merit very in-depth feedback but on other chapters you should expect more. This is another reason why having multiple beta readers is beneficial - when one reader doesn't give you a lot of feedback on a chapter, another might.
9. If you've tried contacting one of the beta readers listed a few times and have received no response please let me know so I can ask the individual whether they are still interested in being listed in the directory.
Hope this helps :-)
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