I think we all have a learning curve when it comes to our writing ability and our career strength. For those of us just starting out we have to find our own voice. Once I believe we find our voice we can pretty much write what we would like to write and then send it out to an agency to see what it is that it might sell for or if we are in the wrong market. The market will eventually taper our decision. But the test is those who read your novels. That test can come in the form of your beta readers. In Wikipedia a beta reader is defined as “a person who reads a written work, generally fiction, with what has been described as a ‘critical eye’, with the aim of improving grammar, spelling, characterization and general style of a story prior to its release to the general public.” (See link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta_reader).
I am in need of beta readers. I am in the process of writing and finishing my first mystery. So if you are interested please email me. But that is not the purpose of this article. This is just an introduction to what it is that an author may want from you. the article in Wikipedia is self-explanatory. Another article that you may want to read and also where I found another helpful source is this one: Literary Rambles (See link:http://www.literaryrambles.com/2009/11/what-is-beta-reader-where-do-i-find-one.html). From what I am finding out through the use of persons such as Ivory Mosely, the late Natasha Munson (See link: http://www.sisterlessons.com/), Junnita Jackson a ghostwriter, and several others some things of the writing world come through experience and searching. You do a lot of searching on the internet, networking at events, schlepping your writing around to get someone to read and revisions, revisions, revisions. I have made some wonderful contacts and am able to do what I like to do. Doesn’t mean I don’t get the headaches, the migraines and the writing pains, I do, but I accept them and work through them because I am choosing to write. It is what I do to keep me sane and happy even when I appear unhappy. Each time I think of stopping it I get sad. But I do think of stopping it particularly when it appears to cause so much trouble for me in my life. However, I will still write even if I am not famous and making money because I like it. This is to say that I will probably always have a blog. And that blog may not be about the same thing but it will be about something that I am interested in and hopefully, just like the one I have now, it will find a kindred spirit in you.
Back to the beta reader-a beta reader in my opinion is the one who helps you write the better story. It would be someone who is interested in the genre you are writing, someone who is interested in the characters and their plotline and who doesn’t mind sharing their opinion. They will help you in creating your novel prior to it going to the publisher. And then the publisher themselves may have beta readers. Maybe it’s that your beta reader comes to you through your publisher and you don’t have to search them out. I don’t really know if that is true or not. But I am hoping to find out as I am looking for beta readers to help me with my story. And also for critique partners as well.
If you are interested in reading good novels you may want to check out this site it has very good novels. You can join for a monthly fee. It is http://www.manicreaders.com. I am actually doing book reviews for them under my pen name Yasmine Jameson. Check it out, you may find you like it.