Does your travel guide need beta reading?
Every author needs beta readers who provide honest feedback and constructive criticism. I will take your book through a beta reading process and provide comments and suggestions of how it can be improved.
Your goal as an author is to write a non-fiction book that gives the best possible reader experience, and I’ll help you achieve that.
I read a lot of non-fiction, and no matter what the topic, the structure and organisation of the manuscript is critical for ensuring ease of reading and understanding for your target audience.
What is Beta Reading?
Beta reading should be a collaboration and discussion between the reader and author. I provide written notes on your travel guide as an initial pass, and then follow that up with a conversation to discuss the comments. This not only helps to ensure that there’s no misinterpretation of my evaluation, but quite often this discussion leads to tangents that trigger ideas neither of us had initially captured.
My Beta Reader Feedback
- Initial Impressions
- Strengths and Weaknesses
- Suggestions for Improvements
We’ve all read about SMART goals, well beta reading should be smart too. There’s no point providing an author with generalisations or sweeping statements about their manuscript. Feedback needs to be specific in order to be effective.
Whenever possible, I’ll identify specific examples to illustrate my points or feedback.
Important: A disclaimer for all Beta Readers is that feedback is “personal opinion” – that’s why it’s important to have more than beta reader. But equally important is to remember that this is a critique-process not a critical one. All feedback needs to be constructive, and suggest opportunities for improvement.
My Beta Reading Brief – before accepting your draft
- Book Synopsis
- What is the current word count?
- When is the feedback required?
- What draft version has been sent (e.g. 1st draft, final draft, etc.)
My Beta Reading Brief – after accepting your draft
- What kind of feedback are you looking for?
- Where are you considering submitting your manuscript (e.g. for self-publishing, to an agent, to a publisher etc.)?
There are a couple of different schools of thought with regard to how much direction an author should give their beta readers. Some authors like to highlight specific areas of concern to their beta readers, to get their feedback on it, whereas others like to hold this information back and see whether the beta reader picks up on these areas. I don’t believe there are any right or wrong approaches, but I think having a beta reader should be a close representation of how your ideal reader would read you travel guide, so would prefer to see if I pick up on your areas of concern, rather than being forewarned about them.
- I accept digital manuscripts in mobi files, PDF files, and MS Word documents.
- It takes up approximately 7 – 10 days to get your book done, depending on my schedule.
- Send initial enquires to birdsofafeatherpress (at) gmail.com
As a travel guide author myself, I know how nerve-racking it is to have somebody ready your manuscript (especially the first time), but rest assured that I provide constructive feedback and my intent is to help you produce the best possible book for your readers.
If I had one piece of advise I could pass off to new writers it would be this: Never ask for a critique from a person who doesn’t actively read the kind of book you’ve written. Karen Woodward
This is sage advice from Karen, and is applicable no matter what genre or niche an author writes in. Never give your travel guide manuscript to a beta reader who isn’t interested or experienced in the travel niche.
How to Find and Manage a Great Team of Beta Readers Video
“I can’t find the right ones.” “They don’t respond in time.” “They don’t give me anything useful.” “They are too nice.” “They broke my heart.”
Belinda Pollard has been a developmental editor for many years, and sees beta readers as the quiet superheroes of today’s publishing. Drawing from her experience of assembling an outstanding team, she outlines the challenges of finding and managing beta readers. You, too, can have a great team on your side. A practical session full of tips you can start using straight away.
Beta Reading Reviews
Fantastic feedback, Jay. I greatly appreciate it. I’ve just finished inputting all of your suggestions.
No Mistakes Publishing Vol II – Author, Jim Giammatteo
Fantastic feedback. Thanks so much. You’ve given me a lot of work to do and I’m thrilled.
How to Publish an eBook – Author, Jim Giammatteo