Beta Readers

 Cowboys and Cowgirl at George Ranch Historical Park - Photo by Susan L. Davenport

Cowboys and Cowgirl at George Ranch Historical Park - Photo by Susan L. Davenport

As authors, we are so close to our own work it is sometimes difficult to see the problem areas. That is why we need Beta Readers.

After the first draft is finished, and the author has read through the entire manuscript and revised it, the story is released to beta readers.  These are people who have agreed to read through the manuscript and mark it up.

 Tack Room at George Ranch Historical Park - Photo by Susan L. Davenport

Tack Room at George Ranch Historical Park - Photo by Susan L. Davenport

Beta readers search out things that pull them out of the flow of the story. With Saving the Land my beta readers found that they couldn't envision how the places in the story related to each other well enough. It was all clear in my mind, but I hadn't put it onto the page well enough.

 Antique Saddle - Photo by Susan L. Davenport

Antique Saddle - Photo by Susan L. Davenport

Because the story also deals with generations of the main characters family, there were issues about the relationships not being clear to my readers. Again, it was clear to me. I had even created a genealogy chart of the main characters entire family going back to the early 1800's, but I hadn't gotten that information clearly onto the page. Without my beta readers, I would never have realized there was an issue.