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Working With an Alpha Reader

Updated: May 4, 2022

Many in the writing community have heard about Beta readers, but what is an Alpha reader? As the name suggests the Alpha Reader is your first reader. Before the Beta Readers. An Alpha Reader

  • sees a manuscript often in it’s infancy before it is ready for Beta Readers

  • is a reader who looks at the manuscript from a reader/writer perspective

  • ideally has working experience in the writing industry

  • a reader who is looking for the weaker parts of the manuscript and what the author might be blind to, and

  • a reader that looks at the big picture - not the nitty gritty such as commas etc - they aren’t your editor

Submitting a manuscript while in it’s early stages can be difficult to do. I handed my manuscript in and immediately started to worry! I had done 3 author edits before I was brave enough to send it away to someone I didn’t know.

This was a worthwhile exercise for me. I had edited so many times close together it was difficult for me to ‘see’ the issues that I had in the manuscript.

It was also nerve wrecking getting the report back. What I received from my Alpha reader was my manuscript returned with tracking changes in word. (I had provided her with the full .docx file and a report detailing comments in big picture components of story writing.

Components covered plot, characterisation, scene, worldbuilding and dialogue.

Overall, it was a valuable experience to hear from somebody else what they thought my strengths were and what weaknesses I needed to work on. The report also gave me a sense of confidence that yes, I am on the right track.

If you are an aspiring author this may be a step you may benefit from.

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