Ooo, I like this week’s topic: how do you define Critique Partners, Alpha Readers, and Beta Readers? I was chatting with an author friend and she mentioned her beta readers. I asked her what they do for her and she answered that they read her chapters as she writes them and offer critique.
Beta readers, that’s great! Only…that’s what I call critique partners. So, which is it—beta readers or critique partners? Or are they alpha readers?!
You’d think these terms would have dictionary-esque answers, but YMMV is incredibly applicable here because every writer goes through the critique/editing phase differently which means what one person calls critique partners may be beta readers to another and alpha readers to someone else! It all depends on your own process.
Which means all I can offer are my own definitions:
Critique Partners: fellow writers who read and comment on chapters as they are written or offer critique on subsequent drafts of a novel. I mostly use this term, likely because these are my close author friends whom I swap material with, a perfect partnership.
Alpha Readers: readers/writers who read my first draft, usually as it’s being written. I look to alpha readers to deliver critique on any this works and/or any whoa what happened there moments. I need excitement from alpha readers to help keep me going to reach The End.
Beta Readers: readers/writers who read subsequent drafts. I look to beta readers to deliver critique on plot holes or catch inconsistencies.
Those are my definitions of the terms, what do you call the amazing-wonderful-people who help make your writing better?