Hey all and welcome. My name is Sierra Cassidy and I am a Canadian smut author here to educate and entertain smut writers and readers.
Today we’ve got another episode in our beta reader series. This one is all about how to be a good beta reader, and should be applicable both for authors and those people wanting to become beta readers, or improving how they do beta reading.
So, someone’s asked you to beta read for them…
How can you be sure you’re going to do a good job?
The most important thing to consider is whether or not you think you’ll actually enjoy the book you’ve been asked to read.
- Is it a genre you read regularly?
- Does it have tropes you enjoy?
- Does it contain squicks you’d rather avoid?
You don’t want to enter a big commitment on the assumption you’re not going to have a good time. Beta reading is work, yes, but it should also be fun. If someone asks you to read a dark mafia erotica and you only like reading super sweet fade-to-black fluff, maybe rethink accepting to beta. There are other ways to support an author if that’s something you want to do.
Now, it’s not the end of the world if you want to beta something but you’ve never read that particular genre before, you just have to go into it with an open mind and be aware that some things are genre conventions. For example, if an author you like starts putting out omegaverse and you’re not familiar, then you go into it and give feedback on how the anatomy is all wrong for the real world, that’s not going to be helpful to anyone. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The author is probably going to be a good resource if you’re unsure.
Other important things to consider are:
Do you have time to read?
Do NOT take on a project you know you won’t be able to finish in the allotted time unless you’ve already discussed these limitations with the author. If your availability changes during the project please communicate with your author. Authors should generally be flexible about this since you’re volunteering your time to assist them, but good communication is very important on both sides of the equation.
Also please don’t feel bad if you don’t have time to help with a project. We don’t live in the ideal world, and authors need to be flexible. I will certainly never be mad at someone for not having time. I’m blessed with some wonderful beta readers and I am happy to have them for any projects that interest them and they have time for.
Are authors trying to take advantage of you?
The expectations from the start should be clear, and if they’re not, ask questions. If authors want you to provide services beyond reading and giving your opinion then you’re allowed to say no. If you have additional skills and want to provide them to that author for free, go to town, but don’t let them force you. Remember that there are lots of different roles in the publishing process, and no one should be forcing beta readers to fulfill extra roles like line editors, copyeditors, or proofreaders unless that’s something they’re jonesing to do for you.
Be as honest as possible.
Also be kind in your feedback while still being constructive. It’s better for an author to hear something from you before a book is published than to keep quiet about an issue and have reviewers tear a book apart after publication. Be mindful of what you’re saying. There are ways to say things that explain issues without tearing out an author heart and clog dancing on it. Instead of saying something like “Wow I hate your MC and I hope they unalive themselves” consider addressing why you feel that way. For example, maybe the narrative doesn’t match up with the character’s actions and you’re feeling frustrated by that, maybe there’s a lack of reaction to certain events by other characters so you feel they’re getting off scot free, or give a reason why you don’t think the character’s actions fit the story.
If your author doesn’t give you guidance for what feedback they need, ask them.
If they do give you guidance, be sure to do your best to provide what they’re looking for. They’re not going to be asking you questions for no reason, and answers that are a couple words long are unlikely to provide anything helpful.
That’s all for now. You can find all of my books and platforms below. If you have questions or suggestions for future episodes, please do let me know. And if you’d like early access to these videos you can join my Patreon where I yeet them at people whenever they’re ready to roll. Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you soon for another episode!
First Heat Series – m/f, 3rd person POV
First Heat: https://books2read.com/FirstHeat
First Heat: Second Chances: https://books2read.com/FHSC
First Heat: Tying The Knot: https://books2read.com/FirstHeatTTK
Heat Play Love – m/m/m, 3rd person POV https://books2read.com/HeatPlayLove
Conference Confidential – m/f, 3rd person POV https://books2read.com/ConferenceConfidential
2021 Omegaverse Collection – contains First Heat, First Heat: Second Chances, Heat Play Love, Conference Confidential, and 2 bonus shorts https://books2read.com/OV2021
Nicky and the Night Owls: Part One – polyamorous (m/f/nb/f/nb/m), multi 1st person POV https://books2read.com/NickyNightOwls
Nicky and the Night Owls: Part Two – polyamorous (m/f/nb/f/nb/m), multi 1st person POV – currently on preorder https://books2read.com/NickyNightOwls2
Knotty or Nice Christmas Anthology – (my story is based on Nicky and the Pack) – currently on preorder https://books2read.com/knotty-or-nice
Salacious Salvation – m/f, 3rd person POV https://books2read.com/SalaciousSalvation
Playtime with Professor – m/f, 3rd person POV https://books2read.com/PlaytimeWithProfessor
PARANORMAL Into The Depths – f/nb, 3rd person POV https://books2read.com/intothedepths
SIERRA’S SOCIAL MEDIA!
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