The Dos and Don’ts of Working with an Alpha Reader

Collaborating with an alpha reader can be a great way to improve your writing, but it’s important to approach the relationship with care. Here’s what you need to know.

If you’re a writer looking to improve your work, collaborating with an alpha reader can be a valuable experience. An alpha reader is someone who reads your work in progress and provides feedback on plot, character development, and other elements. However, it’s important to approach this relationship with care and establish clear expectations to ensure a productive partnership.


Do establish clear communication and expectations.

Before working with an alpha reader, it’s important to establish clear communication and expectations. Discuss what kind of feedback you’re looking for, how often you’ll be sharing your work, and what your goals are for the project. Make sure you’re both on the same page about the level of involvement and the timeline for the project. This will help ensure a productive and positive working relationship.


Don’t take criticism personally.

It’s important to remember that the feedback you receive from an alpha reader is not a reflection of your worth as a writer or as a person. It’s simply their opinion on how to improve your work. Try to approach their criticism with an open mind and a willingness to learn and grow as a writer. Remember, the ultimate goal is to create the best possible version of your work, and constructive criticism can help you achieve that.


Do listen to their feedback and consider their perspective.

One of the most important things to do when working with an alpha reader is to listen to their feedback and consider their perspective. They may have insights or suggestions that you hadn’t considered before, and their feedback can help you improve your writing in ways you never thought possible. Be open to their suggestions and try to see things from their point of view, even if you don’t necessarily agree with everything they say. Ultimately, their feedback can help you become a better writer and create a stronger piece of work.


Don’t rely solely on their opinion.

While it’s important to consider your alpha reader’s feedback, it’s also important to remember that their opinion is just one perspective. Don’t rely solely on their feedback and make changes without considering other factors, such as your own instincts and the opinions of other beta readers or editors. Use their feedback as a tool to improve your writing, but ultimately, the final decision should be yours.


Do show appreciation for their time and effort.

Working with an alpha reader takes time and effort on their part, so it’s important to show your appreciation for their help. Thank them for their feedback and let them know how much it means to you. Consider offering them a small token of appreciation, such as a gift card or a copy of your finished work. Showing gratitude can help build a positive and productive relationship with your alpha reader.

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