I sent off the first half or so of my manuscript to my alpha readers last week. I suppose, technically, these folks are actually both alpha and beta readers. Some authors suggest that alpha readers only look at overarching story issues, while beta readers get into the nitty-gritty editorial stuff. Mine are doing both. L.A. Christensen writes that alpha readers read the first draft, and betas read the second draft. Mine are reading the second draft.
There are myriad definitions of these terms throughout the interwebs, but the one thing people do agree on when it comes to alpha/beta readers is that their job is to recreate their reading experience for the author.
And I’ve got to tell you, my best friend from middle school is reigning supreme when it comes to this task. She sent me her notes on the first 15 pages of Augira to check that she was doing it right, and, boy, she was. Her notes allowed me to tag along in her mind as she read. It was a highly educational experience, and I know without a doubt that this will improve my writing.
So, aside from a free, autographed copy when my book gets published, how do you, fellow writers, find ways to thank your alpha and beta readers? Any advice on how to make their time most useful and their advice most worthwhile?