An alpha reader or beta reader (also spelled alphareader / betareader, or shortened to alpha / beta), also pre-reader or critiquer, is a non-professional reader who reads a written work, generally fiction, with the intent of looking over the material to find and improve elements such as grammar and spelling, as well as suggestions to improve the story, its characters, or its setting. Beta reading is typically done before the story is released for public consumption. Beta readers are not explicitly proofreaders or editors, but can serve in that context.
Elements highlighted by beta readers encompass things such as plot holes, problems with continuity, characterisation or believability; in fiction and non-fiction, the beta might also assist the author with fact-checking.
For the Brothers Apart multiverse, we have three beta readers who will go through the stories after we’ve edited them. They make sure the story sticks to its plotline, look for mistakes we might have missed while editing (a new set of eyes does wonders) and yell at us if the story stresses them out (the more yells, the better we’re doing).
@neonthebright beta reads Brothers Apart itself (unless she’s cowriting the story, in which case @creatorofuniverses takes over for her), and agreed to help us with Brothers Consulted when it’s ready. Bless @creatorofuniverses, she agreed to read through and beta Brothers Found as well, leaving her with the massive horror story to trudge through, and @kimstaticchild is kind enough to stress her way through Brothers Asunder, Brothers Adopted and Brothers Lost.
As of this time, Brothers Unexpected and Brothers Together do not have beta readers, nor does the giant Jacob story.
Examples of the feedback we get:
- You use “collapsing” twice in two sentences- maybe change.
- Sentence appreciation: “The lamp was, on principle, tacky as sin”
- Nnnnnnnnnnnnng I am only stressssss
- I am intrigued and terrified