Here is a sampling of the comments I left a variety of books that I’ve beta read.
Note at the time of beta reading, these books were unpublished, so I can only share what I wrote and outline what was in the original book:
- On the main character’s fight within the first few chapters: “In this section, his response (yelling/screaming) does not seem balanced according to his wife’s actions (wanting to go to visit her sick father, being distracted when he came from work). It paints your MC in an unlikable light – it is early in the book, and I would be hesitant to give him such a strongly abrasive personality. I did end up liking him after ch 10 or so but I had a hard time shaking the initial impression.”
- On science (MC’s father has a debilitating disease): “While the doctor’s words are understandable, they do not sound natural. There is a benefit to layman’s terms when communicating with patients but being specific (rather than referring to them as “therapies” or “therapy drugs”) does not fit with the medical knowledge I’d expect for a doctor to demonstrate. Weighing in as a PhD student – you need to use the terms “abrasion” and ” blood poisoning” having the doctor call it a cut/ouchie and septicemia bacterial poisoning does not make sense to someone else in the field.”
- On supernatural elements: “I love that your books always add a new supernatural element the lore of your series…but…I’m not sure if zombies were the right choice in the book. You had already added two other supernaturals to this book already (the Loch Ness Monster and the mermaids) (which, honestly, I loved the way they stepped into the story and added that undersea element) and while the zombies were quirky, they made the whole book seem less believable to me. It became a “AND NOW WHAT?” rather than a “Oh, my, gosh. YES!”. Ultimately, it is up to you, but I think you may want to reconsider how important they are to the core of the plot and decide if they should be continued.”
Additional Feedback Notes:
My comments range from the above to shorter ones – pointing out repetition or a more minor plot holes (i.e. “she was holding a cellphone last page but now it’s a hands-free device” or “this scene would have more impact if you don’t go into all the ways the grandmother came back to her, just end it with her leaving the first time. Fill in the details later.”). It’s a fairly even mix between longer/shorter.
In addition, I provide a 1.5-2 page summary (single-spaced) regarding what worked the best and the greatest issues that I felt needed to be addressed prior to publication.