Sunday, October 16, 2016

Should You Be a Beta Reader?

QUALIFICATIONS: Honesty, integrity and trustworthiness

Do you have what it takes?

(Come close because I’m about to tell you a little secret)

A lot of people DON’T have what it takes.

Honesty is so important, and nothing shows poor character like dishonesty. Granted, I don’t like every book I read; I don’t like every movie I watch and I don’t like every person I meet, but my image and my personal character are important to me. No matter what I do in life, it is my goal to be honest and classy. And when I write a review, (good or bad) I keep in mind that someone spent their blood, sweat and tears to create a book/movie for ME to enjoy.

Something I would like to shed some light on is ARC distribution. An ARC is a book that hasn’t been published, but is distributed to a certain few ‘special’ readers to achieve specific goals such as attaining early reviews/feedback/whatever.

Notice I said ‘special’? If you are an ARC recipient, you are SPECIAL and shouldn’t take your position lightly. In other words, a book is ‘personal property’. It’s like letting someone borrow your car. If that person doesn’t bring the car back to you or give an explanation as to why it’s missing, you’re going to call the police or contact your insurance company. Right?

How Important are ARC Recipients? DEADLY IMPORTANT

And I can’t stress it enough.

Did you know it’s a compliment when an author or publisher hands over to you a product that could’ve taken ten years or more to create? Did you know every author needs constructive reviews… they are the ONLY way an author can improve their craft? Did you know it’s okay NOT to like every book they send to you? Did you know it’s okay to express your HONEST opinion about it?

Ah, HONESTY… you’re going to see that ‘H’ word again and again…

What happens if you receive an ARC that makes you want to gouge out your eyes? Do you tell the author and/or publisher the truth or just ignore the fact that you promised a review and disappear?

No, DO NOT disappear. It’s rude and nobody wants the reputation of being a liar because they didn’t do what they’ve promised.

If you recieve an ARC and have absolutely nothing good to say about the book, then just be HONEST about it. (But be prepared to explain why you didn’t like it). Maybe you didn’t like the characters. Maybe the plot dragged on. Maybe it was too long/short. Maybe you couldn’t connect with the characters or maybe the editing was shoddy. Whatever the reason, please understand that your silence hurts everybody. Authors can’t improve their craft if betas/ARC recipients never share their feelings.

Bloggers, BEWARE. When you fail to post a promised review, it discredits your blog in a big way. This is extremely unprofessional and publishers could put you on a watch list or blacklist you for not contacting them with a reason. Why? Because they‘ve given you a product that took considerable time, money and effort to create. And I don’t have to mention the fact that the product you’ve received is under COPY RIGHT laws. Yes, you can be slapped with a LAW SUIT or GO TO PRISON for doing something illegal with a little ole ebook.

By the way, if you’re an ARC recipient who approaches an author ASKING for an advanced copy of a book but don’t post your review or contact the author with a reason for your missing review, this screams dishonesty and frankly, it can give the publishing world the impression that you’re just a free loader or planning to sell the book to pirating sites which is illegal and will send your ass to prison in a heartbeat.

(Just sayin' ;)

I’m a blogger, beta reader, reviewer, critique partner and author. Like most, I’m insanely busy too. I also understand that ‘life happens’--situations beyond our control arise all the time. If I’ve promised a review and I know I can’t meet the posting deadline, then I feel it’s my responsibility to contact the author/publisher.


It’s common sense, not rocket science to be polite, HONEST and TRUSTWORTHY.