I’ve finished rewriting an earlier manuscript that needed work, and it’s now at the stage of being reviewed by test readers. That’s a bit unnerving because you never know how people will view your work, but it’s also really useful and kind of fun to see their take on certain scenes and twists of plot. Test readers have fresh eyes that, let’s face it, authors lack, as they’ve been living with the project forever.
I’ve got a simple method. I ask readers to write along the margins whatever pops into their head. If a section made them smile, I ask them to draw a smiley face. If they didn’t understand, put a question mark or ask a question. If a section’s boring, say so! If the readers are simply gripped by the amazing awesomeness of the story, well, congratulations are in order. Yay, me! 🙂 No matter how the comments go, I need honesty here. I need to know what works. So far, my test readers have been great at telling me like it is, which is exactly what I need!
I found an interesting article about test readers here at the American Book Publishing site. Enjoy, and thanks to all you test readers out there who make good books better!