On Alpha Readers

I have come far in my editing process over the last year. I've gotten way better at self-editing. Now I use my other sets of eyes to point out plot holes, and other issues. My husband is my alpha reader. He doesn't read everything I do. In fact, he just started reading for me again after about a year and a half break.

I braced myself as he started to read. He's a great alpha reader because he doesn't blow smoke. If he hates something, he'll tell me. Sure, he is full of praise, too. I take his words with a gigantic lump of salt. It's great that he loves it, but of course he has his bias.

I think alpha readers are just as important as beta readers or critique partners. When a project is new, it can be a little close to our hearts. It's a lot easier to take the bad news from my husband when he's sitting in front of me. He'll explain himself well. I know his intentions are the very best.

On the other side, it's exciting to see my spouse sitting in front of his computer, reading more than he said he would because he's enjoying it.

He's seen the way my writing has improved over the years. How I've caught on to my writing foibles. I notice them a lot earlier now.

It's nice having an alpha reader, but make sure it's someone who loves you enough to be honest. Often our loved ones are just so proud that we've written a book they may not be as honest. That could give you a false sense of confidence. That bubble will hurt like hell later. Also, don't have your spouse be your alpha reader if they're not a reader. You won't get the right kind of feedback from someone who hasn't read a book since high school.

I would never be able to write without knowing my alpha reader is giving me honest feedback.