Beta reader feedback for Don’t Call Me Kit Kat has started to trickle in.
The good news is that much of the feedback has been positive and quite useful. From little things like “change fuzzy fashion boots to Uggs” to bigger things like “go a bit more in depth about X, maybe Y happens to Z,” I am pleased with the quality of the comments. On top of providing top-notch suggestions, one beta even pointed out a handful of pesky typos. (Some authors have their betas proofread for typos, but I didn’t ask mine to.)
The not-so-good news is that one reader disliked the main character (nooooo!), and a few others have suggested that I put her in ninth grade instead of eighth. I’m sure you can understand why a reader disliking the MC is bad news, but why is the grade level suggestion such a downer? Well, not only would a change like that involve A LOT of revisions, but it would also leave me feeling a bit disconnected from the story. Don’t get me wrong, I am willing to put as much effort as possible into making this novel the best it can be, but after much deliberation, my heart continues telling me that Katie is an eighth grader. She just is, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I realize that future readers might share the same opinion as the betas who feel she should be older, but it is a risk I’m willing to take to tell the story I envisioned telling from the beginning.
So, here’s a little advice for new authors who plan to use beta readers:
- Expect conflicting opinions.
- Don’t take criticism to heart. Use the feedback to fix what can be fixed!
- Be ready for some aha moments.
- Be prepared to make a lot of revisions and possibly some tough decisions.
- Consider every suggested change.
- Listen to your heart. If a change doesn’t feel right, don’t make it.
Not familiar with what a beta reader is or does? Check out these blog posts: