It’s time for another Twin Thursday with Rachel of Chicken-Scratch Plot (formerly Undivinelight, but I’m a dunce!), so be sure to click over there to read her take once you’re done here!

For today, we’re looking at how to get the absolute most out of your beta readers. A lot of this will be subjective; what works with one reader may not with another. So, with that in mind! Here are a few things to work out with your beta to be sure it’s a good fit for you both.

  1. Set the expectations. Are you looking for liner notes? Big-picture concerns? Pages of write-ups? Quick comments jotted in the margins? This is important for both of you; first to set up for your beta what’s expected and secondly so that you can make sure that what they’re offering and capable of meets your needs.
  2. Set up a schedule. I know, I know, you don’t want to be a bother. Your fishies are doing you a big favor by even giving your story a look. The last thing you want to do is nag them, right? That’s where the schedule comes in handy. If they agree to have chapters 1-5 done by next weekend and the whole story finished by the end of next month, then you don’t have to worry about pestering them for it. It also gives the beta a graceful way to bow out if they can’t accommodate it.
  3. Open the channels of communication. Establish whether you want regular communication with your betas or if either of you wants to be left alone until the work is done. Your beta may have questions or concerns along the way, and you’ll want to decide up front how to handle some of them.
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