What is a beta reader?
A beta reader is someone who reads an unpublished work specifically to give feedback to the author. They are expected to comment on any plot issues, pacing, continuity, and other storytelling matters.
Along the way, they might catch a few errors and typos. The work probably has not been gone over by a professional editor yet. (A beta reader might uncover enough issues that a professional edit before they read it could be a potential waste of money.)
A beta reader is expected to read like any reader. But the idea is that, ahead of the work being out in public, they help you hone your voice, clear plot holes and glaring issues, and generally help make your story better.
I’ve not used beta readers much for my past works. The only book I previously made use of beta readers for was my standalone fantasy Infamy Ascending. This was because as a male writing a female lead character, I wanted to make sure that she was believable. I wanted to make sure her motivations made sense to a woman. (Let’s be blunt — as a cis-gender male, I haven’t got a genuine, female mindset).
Having completed my first round of edits on the first novel of my new Savagespace series — I’ve sought, found, and engaged multiple beta readers.
Why is this time different?
There are several reasons I’ve decided to make use of beta readers this time.
I took a somewhat different approach to this series. I put a lot more effort into showing, rather than telling where I could. My goal was to make the story flow better and not have too much info-dump exposition.
While I plotted this to be 6 books — and am writing them as 6 books — I think it’s more likely that this series will be 3 books.
Each book was coming in around 50,000 words, give or take. But in more than one instance, it was closer to 45,000–50,000 words. That’s not quite a novel — more of a novella.
Thus, I’ve combined the books, creating a 100,000+ word novel (less than 400 pages). That’s right along the lines of the average, as my research suggests.