If you don’t have someone commenting on your stories before you publish them into the wild, you need to get one (preferably more). You’re not sharing your work in a bubble, so don’t write in one. This may seem obvious to some, but I’ve seen enough examples where it doesn’t happen (I have to assume, anyway) that it’s worth repeating and re-stressing.
A beta reader (or beta, from here on out) shouldn’t be confused with an editor, or even a creative partner to brainstorm a story concept with, so let’s be clear on that point. While the grammar and editing skills are handy for a beta, their primary purpose is to give you the reader’s perspective on the story, something that’s not always obvious to the author. (more…)