March 5th, 2008
Test Reading

Writerly Wednesday

Most authors are familiar with the idea of a critique partner or critique groups. Some authors have one (or more) but some are quite happy writing alone.

Another source of valuable input and feedback is a test reader. While critique partners or groups tend to give you feedback as you go and often help plot the book along the way, a test or beta reader takes your finished or mostly finished material and reads it as a savvy reader without advanced knowledge. The test reader, in essence, is your first check of what your regular readers will think.

The job of the test reader is to read the story and make notes of anything that pulls them out of the story, any time they are bored and want to just skip ahead, and times where things don’t make sense. In general, they don’t worry about spelling or grammar unless it’s so bad it really impacts their ability to read and enjoy the story.

Not all test readers are created the same, however. An effective and thorough test reader is one that gives you value back for the chance to read the story ahead of time. You may have to try multiple people before you find just one really GOOD test reader.

A test reading gives you some assurance that you story, when picked up off a shelf, makes sense, reads well and will most likely please your readers (and editor).

One comment to “Test Reading”

  1. I heard this term passed around on Saturday. I was pretty sure what everyone was talking about but it’s nice to see a bigger explanation written out.


    Hope you’re home safe and sound!