I’ve been a beta reader myself three times now, but I’ve never used beta readers on my own work. The reason for that is simple. I am a chicken shit.
For me, the difference between having a beta reader and just releasing the damn book is immense. Firstly, beta readers are reading something incomplete and unpolished. Despite the fact this is common knowledge, it still makes me feel insecure. Secondly, I’m inviting people to tell me what they think the weak spots of my story are and that is SCARY. If they read the finished book and they think it sucks, well, too bad. But with a beta read, I have to endure judgment.
Now before you go chanting all that positive stuff about “constructive criticism “and “improving the book”… I already know this. It’s why I ultimately decided to go through with the whole beta reader thing. I understand this fear is somewhat (though not entirely) irrational and that beta readers will only help improve the finished product. I also understand that the spiders in my house aren’t going to hurt me, but I still freak the fuck out when I see them. It is what it is!
That being said, five copies are out there with five beta readers along with the questions that have been hounding me the most. After this third draft, I’m going to take a short break and let the book marinate. The hope is that when I return to it, I’ll do one last sweep of awesomeness before having it edited and finally released.
I want to thank my beta readers in advance… you know who you are. I know I should not be afraid of you and I will conquer the fear!