I know many people have written about Beta readers, but I would like to tell you about my experience with them.  I don’t want anybody to be discouraged after reading this from Beta reading. I have never had any family members as a Beta reader. They have all been friends or acquaintances.

I’m new to writing fiction and when I used my first Beta reader, it was for my first novel (shelved for the time being.) That Beta reader was knowledgeable and very kind. She corrected some punctuation and only asked that one section be longer.

The next time I used Beta readers, 19 of them, was for my short story, Rag Doll. That didn’t go as smoothly. It was originally written for a contest and could not be more than 1500 words. The first Beta reader made a few corrections and off it went to the contest. An author on Twitter asked to read something I had written and I sent him Rag Doll. He felt it should be expanded and published. I expanded it and sent it to 19 Beta readers. All except two told me it still needed to be longer. After I expanded it, I sent it to a friend to be proofread. To make a long story short, no pun intended; the next people to read it told me it still wasn’t ready for publication.  I worked on it some more and then posted it on my blog. It is what it is and for a while, I wished I’d never written it. I have to laugh about this for many seem to like the story.

I now have a wonderful writing coach, Scott Bury and he is the only reason I continue to write today. He feels I have talent and can lengthen another short story I wrote, Messages From Henry, into a novella.  I am struggling with it, but with Scott’s never ending encouragement, I think it will be finished one day. You can read chapters one through four on my blog.

Since I don’t publish my works, I won’t be using Beta readers for the remainder of Messages From Henry. I will strictly make the changes Scott Bury suggests and continue to post two chapters at a time on my blog.

~Rebecca Scarberry

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