What is a pre-reader and why do you need one?

Pre-reader process: This is different for everyone and it is usually a per chance sort of a thing. By that I mean finding a pre-reader that suits you takes some time and finesse.

I used to write fanfiction, and I had whats called a beta (prereader) who would go through my posts and up the quality so the site wouldn’t be overrun by crappy stories. When I moved into original fiction, I asked her if she wanted to join me. She is my grammar geek who makes my novels shine! I have another friend who has a critical eye, and beats up all my plot and character flaws. She’s good at what she does and it has been an invaluable service.

Recently I became acquainted with another author. Her and I talked “shop” one night via the internet. We gabbed on the phone, and finally we swapped some of our words to get an insiders opinion. It lucked out that I loved her story and she loved mine. We fill in the others weakness. For me, I’m wordy. She finds them and fixes them. She’s great with comma usage (another weakness of mine). She isn’t wordy enough!  Her words are so good I want more of them.  I want to understand how her characters feel, I want to understand her how her world works.  These are all things that will add body to her book and it is amazing to see what she has done.

A prereader is some one who completes you. They have different strengths and never the same weaknesses. Together you improve your stories. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and find someone that wants to do it for you for fun. A lot of times you’ll try to work out an arrangement and it doesn’t work. Once you find that fit, nurture it!

I have “fired” countless pre-readers because they didn’t have different strengths than, or they had even more weaknesses. (hey it happens)

The whole point of all of it is to make your book so perfect an agent/publisher/reader (if you go the self pub route) can’t refuse it. We all have weaknesses. A second, third, or even a fourth pair of eyes will only make it better.  Chose wisely, because all prereaders/beta’s are not alike!

Good luck with your writing, editing, and finding the perfect prereader.

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8 comments on “What is a pre-reader and why do you need one?

  1. I am not going to tell you for the 100th time thank you for so much help! You have been mentoring me from the moment we first spoke and I am thankful for all your help. Okay, I lied, I will thank you for the 100th time. I started using pre-readers weeks ago and it has helped me find so many flaws that were invisible to me. Thanks again for the help and the great post.

  2. Someday someone will come to you looking for help. Give it willingly and you will see how fun it is to watch someone learn and grow. It is downright inspiring. I have learned so much from others, and this (and my friendship with you) is just a small way I am able to repay their kindness.

  3. I LOVE my beta readers!
    And I just love your line, “A prereader is some one who completes you.” I just had a Jerry McGuire moment, but SO true. They do complete me. And I could never get my books out without them.
    Great post.

    • I’m glad you caught the reference. A prereader is a creepy romance novel in the making. There is a story idea for someone, go ahead and take it. Newbie author find perfect prereader (using the principals I have set forth) There is love and admiration shared by all. They both sign big book deals. Movies are made and everyone lives happily ever after. Yeah! lol

  4. Not important. But, speaking about “prereading” ….. In paragraph three, sentence two, “Her and I” should be “She and I”.

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