Stacy's Place on Earth
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Thursday, January 07, 2010:
Book buying and beta reading

Yeah I know I posted this picture of Twitter a bazillion times (hey it was my first twitpic!) but I'm rather proud of my haul here, not including the five I had purchased the day before. Look at these pretties - don't you just want to run your hands all over them and moan with happiness? No? Huh. Then it just be me who fantasizes about doing that. Fine. Me and my books want to be ALONE.

My next dilemma is trying to figure out which one to read first! I know, that's a serious problem. They all look so tempting. Maybe I'll put it to a vote...

My other thought was about beta reading. If I understand it correctly, that's when someone reads an author's work as it goes along, so as the writer is writing, they have someone (or a few someones) read portions of the story for feedback. I know a few people who are beta readers, but a comment on twitter recently made me think more seriously about it. I admit, my first reaction is to get flaming green with jealousy. But then when I got past that initial feeling, I considered what it must be like to be a beta reader. No question, the idea of reading a favorite author's work and providing constructive suggestions on how to really make the story come alive sounds exciting. It's not that the beta reader is "writing" the story, but they are coming in with a pair of fresh eyes that might be able to catch things that the writer doesn't. I can imagine it must be extremely cool to be a beta reader. And yeah, I'm still jealous.

But then I have to admit, I'd be a HORRIBLE beta reader. I love reading the story from start to finish, without interruption, and let's face it, I'm just not good at giving effective feedback. It's not in me to be that definitive. I sincerely admire those who have that ability even while I writhe with jealousy, and I recognize that when it comes to giving my opinions, I err on the side of not being able to remain unbiased. So I would be completely useless as a beta reader. So green-eyed monster syndrome aside, I won't take it personally if I'm not offered the chance *g* And actually I did proofread a chapter of a manuscript a few years back, and the process was tedious and I kept getting lost in the story instead of concentrating on checking for spelling and punctuation errors. Like I said, useless.

Would you ever or have you ever been a beta reader?

And which book in the picture should I read next???



  1. Yup. I beta read for two authors. I love it. I always say it's kind of like "choose your own adventure". I give feedback and they take it or leave it. Sometimes, they have a bigger picture in mind than what I'm seeing.

    Mostly, I spend time giving feedback on characters. Do I like them? Do I hate them? Do certain situations ring true? Is there anything about the story that's drawing my attention or losing my attention? Is the bad guy too EEEEvil? Is the bad guy telegraphing their motivations? It's a ton of fun and make me read more critically.

    But yeah, sometimes it's awful to get to the end of the section they've sent and realize it could be months before you see more of the story.

    With one of my authors, I'll tell her what I hope happens next. Usually I'm wrong, LOL! It can be hard too though.

    You have to be really respectful of how hard they're working, and of how you give feedback. One of my authors wants it straight, and she also tends to tell me what kind of feedback she's looking for when she sends the chapters. The other just sends me compilations and lets me go to it.

    The hardest is if something really isn't working for you. And you have to tell them. But so far, I've had good results, and I find it to be the most rewarding thing that I do W/R to romance.

  2. Stacy, you should fefinitely read Gone Too Far !! I read this book a few month ago and loved it. I recommend !!

  3. Hi Stacy :)
    I vote for Shadowfae!
    I considered beta reading. An author told me it is like doing a book review & I've done that. It is a lot of responsibility though.
    Thanks for the thoughtful post & I loved the picture!

  4. Stacy,

    Loved your blog post from the perspective of a reader. I am on the lookout for good beta readers (need 1 more right now), so if you think you'd like to give it a shot and want to read an unknown's work as it's being written, let me know. Visit my blog to get an idea of what I write. It's paranormal fantasy, with some erotic content.

  5. I forgot to say, you should start with Going too Far by Jennifer Echols. Magnificent read!

  6. Wow, I'd think being a Beta reader would be stressul, but I guess once you got the hang of it it would be fun.

    I vote for Laid Bare (totally jealous you got Coming Undone - none of my local bookstores have it!)

  7. Read Laid Bare first!!! (I love Ms Dane's writing)

    I beta read for Ann Aguirre/Ava Gray, and my experience is very different from Kati's. (Ann never lets anyone see her first drafts, let alone works in progress; I do a first reading after she has finished writing the story and has checked it at least once.)

    What I do then is check for inconsistencies in characterization, descriptions, plot points, etc. which I note separately, along with my gut reaction to the story. In the text I make basic copy-editing corrections (typos, the occasional missing word, etc.).

    Since I really like Ann's writing, I usually end up reading each story at least twice before I can return it to her--the first time I simply get lost in the story, and it's only on the second, third, etc. pass that I see the other stuff :grin:

  8. Read Laid Bare and then move to Coming Undone, which rocked my socks.

    As for beta reading, I've only done it once, and that was for an author who, at the time, I'd never read before. So the beta read was my first look at her work. Needless to say, I hated the hero, even though the story was ok. He was mean (and not in the good, alpha way). That book did eventually make it to publication, but I haven't read it because she told me her editor liked him that way (and even wanted more), even though she got a lot of feedback that he was too unlikeable.

    However, I got over my prejudice and have read two big novels by her that I absolutely loved and one that I liked a lot. Yup, thank goodness I'm a forgiving reader or I'd have missed out on a couple fantastic books. I have a couple more from her on my TBB list.

    Don't know that I'd want to beta read, since I'd be afraid that my favorite parts might get cut, or that it might color my opinion of the final product.

  9. *cough cough* Laid Bare *cough cough*

  10. I've beta read a few times and was honored and so nervous! But it was awesome, especially when I recommended to one of the authors to change a piece of dialogue because I thought it would sounds better and the author did in their final copy!

    Oh so many pretty books! I would go with the Jen Echols book because it is a pretty fast read and oh so good.

  11. I've never been a beta reader.

    Love you picture of all your new books. There are a few there on my TBB list right now. I would go with either Laid Bare or Too Hot to Hold first.

  12. Stacy-

    Deadtown was the first book I bought in 2010. I also have Three Days To Dead. There are a few others in the picture I want but have not seen them in the store yet. Have not been since the first though so maybe they will be there when I get back to the store.
    My vote is to read Deadtown first...although I haven't.

    My first book of the year was Gentleman Prefer Succubus by a new author Jill Myles I think I have the name right. It's her first book and is very cute and funny. I am not quite finished yet though. Haven't read much in the evenings this week. have worked late several evenings and I have watched DVD's when I get home each evening.....can curl up under my blankets and get warm better watching tv than reading....I didn't get a snuggie for Christmas like Sorry another conversation.

    Anyway looks like you got quite a haul there and with 16 books purchased so far this year you are certainly doing your part to keep the bookstores lights on.

  13. I don't know that I could be a good beta reader. What if I hated the story/hero/heroine? I don't know that I could tell the author that unless I had a fabulous relationship with them and could say it in my own Tracy-kind-of-way...which not everyone appreciates! lol

    Good luck to you if you do start beta reading. :)

    I'd say start with Shadowfae.

  14. No to being a beta reader.

    You should read Laid Bare first!

  15. I just read Going Too Far. I thought I wasn't in the mood for a YA book, but it got me hooked. It was great! You'll love it!

  16. Go for Bound By Sin, it was awesome!

  17. Three Days to Dead!! So good :)

  18. I've never acted as a beta reader and in all honesty I don't think I would be very good because I would get lost in the story too :)

    I haven't read any of the books you bought, but I have a few on my TBR list. I would say go for Going too Far followed by Three Days to Dead :) I look forward to hearing which one you pick!

  19. I'm almost done with The Taking and I LOVE it. Not sure about the rest. I can't see who wrote that book Laid Bare? Who is the author?

  20. I have never read beta. I would say my next read would be "Shadowfae"

  21. Nice haul!! I would go for Laid Bare or Too Hot to Hold!

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