WiP Part 1: off to beta readers!

Before I get onto the subject of tonight’s post, I just wanted to say a big HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to my wonderful husband, Mark. Seven years ago today, we promised to spend the rest of our lives together and I’m so glad we did. I was a month shy of 21 when we tied the knot, and Mark was 24. We may have been young, but we knew what we were doing. Here’s some photos from our special day:

The wedding party

Cally on her wedding day

Wedding: sitting among the flowers

Oh the memories! 🙂

Okay, enough reminiscing. On to tonight’s topic! I sent the first part of Tangled, my novel-in-progress, off to my Beta Reader Group One peeps tonight. It’s quite an exciting and scary feeling. Mostly exciting though. I’ve been working on this novel for so long, I’m really looking forward to hearing people’s thoughts about it.

I thought you might be interested to hear how I’ve approached this stage of my beta reading, so I’ll give you a look at the email I’ve sent my beta readers, which includes a link to my purpose-built reader survey.

Hi there

Thanks again for offering to beta read Tangled. I really appreciate the time and energy it takes to provide considered feedback. Tangled Part 1 (about 45K) is attached! This is coming to you a week earlier than I originally indicated, however if you can still have your feedback to me by 17 October, that would be great. Feel free to get it to me as soon as you like though. 🙂

You can go about providing feedback however you feel most comfortable. I’d really appreciate it if you could fill in this survey I’ve created, but if you find surveys stifling, please feel free to ignore it. At the least, it will provide you with a guide about the type of feedback I’m looking for.


In addition to the survey, I’d appreciate more nitty-gritty feedback marked on the manuscript (either in tracked changes in Word or scribbled on a hard copy – I’m happy to pay for postage). Please mark any spelling or grammar errors, passages that read awkwardly, and passages that make you smile or cringe (either because of what’s going on or because of the quality of the writing!). I’m just as interested in the passages you like as the ones you don’t, because it’s always good to know what’s actually working!

Please remember, I’m after your honest opinion, so don’t be afraid to tell me what you really think. If you have any concerns about anything I’ve said here, please just let me know.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!


Your turn

What do you think of the survey? Too much? Too little? How are you going with your own writing? Please share. 🙂



Filed under Beta readers, Editing, Progress update, Revising, Tangled, Writing, YA fiction

23 responses to “WiP Part 1: off to beta readers!

  1. Jen

    I really like the idea of a survey! I have no idea what to ask beta readers and, if I’m reading something, what sort of feedback to give. What a great idea!

    Your wedding photos are beautiful, BTW!

  2. Great advice on finding and communicating with beta readers, Cally. Also congratulations on the anniversary…your pictures are lovely.

  3. I like the survey. It seems like a useful tool.

  4. Congrats on your anniversary. Hope you had a lovely day! I like the idea of the survey. I imagine it gives your readers something to really zone in on as they critique your work. I might try something like this one of these days!

  5. Happy Anniversary!

    If you don’t mind, I might adapt your survey for when the time comes, it’s a great idea.

  6. Aww lovely pictures. Your dress was adorable, and all those tulips! Beautiful! Anyway, I started Tangled last night. I’ll probably do track changes and your survey at the end. I’m trying to have it done asap, as I have two other Betas I’m reading for next month! Yikes, I’m going to be busy!

    • Thanks, Ally! That tulip shot is my favourite. We have it blown up on canvas on our wall.

      Sounds like you’re going to be a busy beta reader over the next couple of months! Looking forward to your thoughts about Tangled. 🙂

  7. Beautiful wedding pictures!! It was our 8th year anniversary this year! Crazy how time flies, eh? 🙂 Great advice on beta readers. I’ve never seen anyone do a survey before. Very cool. 🙂

    • It is crazy how time flies. In some ways, it feels like just last year. But then, when we watched our wedding video for the first time (!!) on Sunday, you could see how much time had passed since then.

      Glad you like the survey idea. I’ll let you know how it turns out! 🙂

  8. It’s as good idea to ask your betas for specific feedback, otherwise you get a mixed bag or this and that because not everyone knows what you’re looking for. I’ve never done anything this formal, but I often ask people to look for certain things that I’m concerned about.

  9. I LOVE that you included a survey. I’m so stealing that idea. Also, congrats on your anniversary.

    I gave you a blog award over on my blog: http://aliciagregoire.blogspot.com/2011/09/now-im-feeling-linkified.html

  10. Those are some lovely weddings pics 🙂
    And what an excellent and comprehensive survey! I’ve said it before, but I really do admire your organizational skills.

  11. Happy Anniversary Cally! Your wedding pictures are gorgeous.

    As far as the letter and survey, I think it was great. It’s good to give the reader some outline for feedback. I have a lot of people who read mine and when I ask them if they liked it, they are really vague and don’t know what to tell me. That’s because not all of mine are writer’s. In fact, a lot of them aren’t because I want to see how my stories are with just readers. And people who don’t write oftentimes don’t know how to give positive and effective criticism.

    I need to write a letter like that. I usually just send an email with something lame like, “Uh…hey, I wrote this book. Would you read it and tell me if you liked it?” Yeah. Dumb, I know. Next time I’ll try to be more like Cally though!

    • Thanks, Michelle! Yes I’m hoping the survey helps people to know what kind of feedback I’m looking for as I have some non-writer beta readers as well. Fingers crossed it’s useful for them. 🙂

  12. Hey congrats on your anni! Love your pics! What a beautiful setting. I think it’s great to let betas know exactly what you’re looking for in the way of feedback. I also like to let betas know how much I appreciate their honesty. WIthout it, beta reading is pretty much worthless.

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