Authors and beta readers: A guide

Recently I distributed the complete first draft of Crane Girl to a select group of beta readers, which got me thinking …

Perhaps you know an author in real life.

My condolences.

Perhaps that author has chosen you as a beta reader.

You poor, poor soul.

In case you have to talk to this author of yours, here’s a handy translation guide to help you make sense of what they’re really saying.

Author says: Hi, how are you?
Author means: What did you think of my book?

Author says: How’s your job been going this week? How’s your cousin? Is she feeling better yet? Oh, good, I’m glad to hear that.
Author means: What did you think of my book?

Author says: So, did you happen to get a chance to look at the book at all?
Author means: I have thought about nothing else for the past ninety-six hours.

Author says: It’s fine if you didn’t read it yet.
Author means: “Fine” is the name of the pin I will stick in your voodoo doll.

Author says: Oh, you did read some of it? What did you think?
Author means: I will define my self-worth entirely based on what you say in the next sixty seconds.

Author says: I want your honest opinion.
Author means: I want your honest opinion to be “This is the most sublime piece of literary craftsmanship since the invention of cuneiform.”

Author says: What was your overall impression?
Author means: Negative impressions will be shattering, and positive impressions will not be believed. There is literally no good answer.

Author says: Thanks!
Author means: I am twitching on the floor.

Author says: All right, talk to you later.
Author means: You should probably find a saner friend.

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