Monday, November 23, 2009

Beta Readers Comment Form

I'm trying to wrap up my edits by the end of the year so I can let my beta readers tear my manuscript up. That means I won't get it to them until February at least, but that's why it's a goal :)

I've had some friends read a few chapters, but I haven't gotten the detailed responses that I would like. So I'm playing with "Beta Reader Comment Form a-1".

Here's what I'm considering-
  • A page at the beginning of each chapter so they can have it out when reading to make notes on.
  • It will be preprinted with the reader's name on it so they will 'own it' and feel obligated to fill it out.
  • Every sheet will ask things like (this is still tentative):
    • Is there any events/actions that were confusing?
    • Did the character do anything that felt "wrong" for their character?
    • Did you ever think "That's dumb. Why didn't they just (fill in the blank here)?"
    • Could you clearly see the action when reading? What was confusing?
    • Did you skip/skim any? (Please mark where)
    • Do the chapter titles work?
    • Is any of it too slow? or feel like a summary (too fast)?
    • Were you pulled to keep reading in this chapter?
  • At the end I will ask for feedback on the title and if it matches the book. I may give a few options and ask which one they like best after reading the book.
  • I will ask if any books they've read remind them of my book.
  • What were their favorite scenes?
  • What were your least favorite scenes?
  • I will hug and squeeze them and tell them they are my good, bestest friends for life. Possible beyond.
That's what I've come up with thus far. I'm hoping this will help me completely avoid wasting their time and my paper. And I will tell them about the comment forms before they commit to reading. Just a few thousand changes to make and it will be ready!

What am I missing? How do you help your readers help you see potential problems?


  1. How about, a plate of chocolate chip cookies when you fill out the form completely?

  2. I think that's more than fair. I'm actually thinking about a gift card for people that I'm not trading crits with. Some of them live far away, so I'm not sure that cookies would make it.

  3. Kelly, How did you find a Beta Reader? A friend of mine has one, but she found her through comments on her blog (Invisible Sister).