Beta Dinners: A Durham SF/F Tradition

The Durham SF/F has a very valuable and fun tradition with beta reads.

We get fed.

The author signs up a carefully selected list of beta readers (i.e. whoever actually says yes) and invites them to lunch or dinner (we’re writers, nobody wants to get up early enough for breakfast).  The readers finish the entire book in record time (or maybe just the first chapter or two) and bring their feedback to the aforementioned feast.

Often, the author will ask the readers to focus on specific areas, such as character development and plot holes, though not always in advance.  There’s no fixed script; each read is as unique as the author.

With beta reads, it’s give and take.  Make sure to join in, and you’ll get great response when your manuscript needs the same.