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Is Beta Reading a Substitute for Editing?

In the last part, we covered why alpha and beta reading are important to better the quality of a manuscript. We learned what the differences between them were. You can read the article here.

But is beta reading a substitute for editing? Definitely not.

While it is good that you have a manuscript beta read to make an editor's job easier, beta reading should not be the end point. Beta Reading should only be used to rewrite that final draft before you send it to an editor.

Alpha and Beta readers do comment on and critique the plot of the novel, the characters and their development, the structure and style, but they are not as intense. A beta or an alpha reader will only pick out the fine points they see as flaws or pros from a reader's perspective. They are basically evaluating the manuscript to help an author see whether the manuscript can be published or not. However, most beta readers will only point the errors, not correct them.

An editor, however, will act as a consultant and will systematically help you polish your manuscript by going through several labor-intensive rounds, working sentence-by-sentence, paragraph-by-paragraph, scene-by-scene, and chapter-by-chapter. An editor's work is double that of a beta reader, maybe even triple.

A beta reader may show typos and even some grammatically malformed sentences. Some of them may even be copy editors. But an editor is more technically qualified to correct these. A beta reader may just skim over; an editor will go deep into your manuscript and work with you in restructuring and rewriting the entire thing. A developmental editor will work with you from the start and deal with all issues from structure to language, from characters to style.

It does not matter whether you have had your manuscript beta read. Editing is important and so is proofreading (you may want to read why editing is important here). But having your manuscript beta read will make your manuscript easy for the editors to do their job. Both are important where they are. Neither is a substitute for the other.

Summarizing, for an editor, it is all about the explanations and verification, but for a beta reader, it is all about the impression.

About the Author:

Varun Prabhu is a full-time writer and editor with an acumen for business and entrepreneurship. He likes to have full control over what he does. Along with writing and editing, he also reads a lot and watches TV shows with dedicated addiction. This has also made him want to experiment with screenplays. Fantasy is his favorite genre but he is just about passionate about everything. You can follow him on Twitter here.

He writes under the pen name V P Allasander.

#Proofreading #Books #DevelopmentalEditing #LineEditing #Manuscript #Authors #Editing #WritingProcess #Grammar #BetaReaders #BetaReader #Fiction #Editors #AlphaReaders #AlphaReading #BetaReading #English #Structure #Language #CopyEditing #Proofreaders #PrePublishing #Writing #WritingMethods #Plot #PlotConsultation #WritingStyle

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