If you have a bad day, don’t take it out on your beta-read

First of all, I am sorry for posting three days in a row.  I try to stick to my Monday-Thursday schedule to make sure my content is meaningful, and I certainly don’t want to get annoying.

At the moment though, I really feel the need to VENT!

Never, ever EVER is it excusable to take out your frustrations on a beta read you are doing for someone.  Did you get that ?  N-E-V-E-R.

Rather than re-typing how I feel about this, I am pasting below what I just wrote back in response to a blog post made by Jenny Keller Ford.  Read below, and then click on the link to jump over to Jenny’s blog and give her a big hug.

Ugh.  That review broke my heart.  I am a big believer in “say something nice, then the bad, but end it on a good note.  Being outright mean is something completely different, and that sounds like what happened.  There is something nice you can say about anyone. 

Ummm… you spelled everything right, and that was great!  Yay!  Love your spelling!

I have to admit, that I am brutally honest, but I do try to wrap it up with a kiss as much as possible, and I have NEVER told someone anything was Cr*p.  I am a firm believer that everyone is in a different place in their journey, and you can learn and evolve every day of your life.  Every story has potential… even if you don’t particularly like it.  If you don’t like something, at least say why.  Don’t just write it off as junk.

The problem with the internet, and email, is that you can totally trash the person, and not see the look on their face.  I am sure he would have been somewhat more tactful if he was looking right at you.

In all honesty, a beta who trashes, and does not give any suggestions is not a beta at all.  I would not even consider going back to them.  Now, that is not because they were harsh.  I have a few harsh critiquers that I always go back to… because they are honest, and they are helpful, and they point out things I need to work on.  Without them, I would not be the writer I am today.  It sounds like this critique gave no value other than to make you feel bad.  That is not constructive at all. 

Dust off your heels.  Think over what they said, and edit where you see fit… but don’t take this as a do-all “suddenly I stink and will for the rest of my life” review.

Just think.  In a few years when you hit Amazon’s top 100 list, you will just look back on this and giggle.

Remember to jump over to Jenny’s blog and give her a cyber hug.  She has a great story, and needs a little uplifting right now.


17 responses to “If you have a bad day, don’t take it out on your beta-read

  1. Pingback: My First Face to Face Critique Group | Jennifer M Eaton

  2. That was an awful review. But I loved Jenny’s wisdom she shared in her blog. Thanks for finding my blog. I haven’t figured out how to find the writing blogs very well yet myself, so am so excited when one of you find me (so I can then find you).

  3. I’m a firm believer that there is always (or almost always) an encouraging way to put criticism. One doesn’t have to blow sunshine to treat another’s work with respect regardless of the flaws. Some folks have thicker skins but most folks will generally respond better if the criticism is sincere and respectful.

  4. Pingback: 7 x 7 Link Blog Award | Jennifer M Eaton

  5. I’ve been over to Jenny’s blog and there is no need for that, it doesn’t help in any way.Your rant is spot on.

  6. Oh my, no one deserves to be treated badly. I’m headed over there right now.

  7. i shall cyber hug away! thanks for posting this. i think you should be professional and courteous no matter who you work with – and the compliment sandwich should never be underestimated.

  8. I just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! Congratulations! You can find the rules and details here (http://storymultiverse.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/versatility-linkativity-insightitude/).

  9. I’ve been there. but sometimes you do end up with someone that is just having a bad day, maybe they stubbed their toes on the bed when they got up. People like that need to take more happy pills.

  10. I did jump over to Jenny’s site and suscribed to her blog. She is really lucky to have such a good friend as you.

  11. Kourtney Heintz

    I popped over to her blog to lend support. That was not a beat. That was just a jerk on a power trip. Betas can be honest and blunt but the key is that they give constructive criticism and productive comments. That person did neither. That was just mean.

  12. Popped over and gave Jenny some hugs.


  13. I felt so bad for Jenny when I read her post. That helps ME remember to critique IN LOVE. We’re supposed to be helping, not hurting. Thanks for posting this and supporting Jenny! She’s a great lady.