by Jackie King
There should be a special place in heaven for friends of writers. Especially smart friends who love to read and who volunteer to read your work. Some of these are called alpha readers and some are called beta reader.
Alpha readers are the folks in your critique group or other friends with generous hearts who will read your work as it’s produced. I have a group of these folks who support me emotionally on a regular basis: my remarkable critique group. I owe these fellow writers untold thanks.
Beta readers are volunteers who agree to read your entire manuscript after it’s as good as you can get it, or nearly so. Two extraordinary women, Judy Rosser and her daughter Anna Dooly, undertake this momentous task for me when I finish a book.
I’m almost read to print my latest manuscript THE CORPSE AND THE GEEZER BRIGADE and deliver copies to them. Along with the manuscript I’ll send a packet of sticky tabs to mark any problems or questions they might have had.
Last year when she was reading THE CORPSE WHO WALKED IN THE DOOR, Judy delivered the entire manuscript back to me with about 150 sticky notes flagging problems she had found. I spent the next few days correcting and changing everything marked, greatly improving my book.
I was thunderstruck when Judy said, “Print us a clean copy and we’ll read the book again.” This was generosity beyond belief and I was both stunned and humbled. Of course, I jumped at the chance.
Like most people who are willing to volunteer, these two women are unbelievably busy. Neither has one bit of spare time, yet they are willing to help.
Both work full time and have husbands to spend time with. Judy is an avid golfer, a gardener and also looks after relatives who have been unfortunate enough to have health problems.
Anna lives on a farm with her husband. In addition to their day jobs, they take care of bees, horses, and animals of all kind. Anna gardens and cans her produce to enjoy during winter.
But they are also readers and pure-gold friends.
God bless all readers. Especially beta readers.