B is for … Book Reviews & Beta Reading

 BAs a keen reader and  ‘best friends’ with Amazon’s One-Click, I purchase books on a regular basis, usually in multiples of three (don’t ask me why, but as the saying goes: ‘things always happen in threes’) Anyway, as a result I constantly get emails asking me to rate my experience with the books I’ve bought.

So, rather  than just add my review to Amazon, I decided to create a blog for that very purpose. Then I found Goodreads and ended up adding reviews there too. More recently I’ve discovered NetGalley and am reviewing books as a ‘professional reader’ (I love that expression!) Hence, my ‘book reviewer’ life began.

However, not content with reviewing the finished articles, I realised that to be a better writer myself, I needed feedback on my own efforts. Somehow, this backfired (or rather, I chickened out!) as I volunteered to beta read for other writers instead. The idea was that I would learn how other writers put together  their stories and, in doing so, would improve my own storytelling skills.

What transpired, however, was the revelation that I am incapable of merely beta-reading. Whilst I can highlight inconsistencies with plot lines or query character traits, I am compelled to also point out spelling and grammar issues, which means I wind up proofreading and even editing to some extent. I am unable to let such things pass me by without commenting. Yet, the writers for whom I do ‘beta-read’ are chuffed to pieces with my extra offerings, as these come to light usually well before they hire a paid editor! If only I could be as productive and helpful with my own writing! Ah well, one day ….perhaps 🙂

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7 comments

  1. Beta-readers like you are a special gift from God. 🙂

    A friend of mine is beta-reading my very first YA novel, and while he is reading, he always ends up editing my work as well. Two birds with one stone! There’s a special place in all dedication/acknowledgment pages for people like you all!

  2. Professional reader!!! I’m (easily) impressed. Just kidding – you done a great job of prgressing your passion into new levels of expertise. I would be like you – the misuse of grammar, current practice of turning nouns into verbs, and punctuation errors would distract me from the broader objective.

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