The Power of Beta

I’m from the high-tech world where a beta test is the penultimate step before a product is released on the public. Until recently, however, I hadn’t contemplated that “beta” would apply to literature (although I believe fiction writers have been taking advantage of beta readers for some time – with varying degrees of formality).

So, with my latest book, I’m diving into the world of beta readers.

This book is a departure from the historical fiction of my previous endeavors. An Ordinary Tragedy is non-fiction – the true story of my brother Scott who, from an early age, was a deeply troubled youth. From the intimate perspective of eldest child, I explore the dynamics of my perfect All American Family – attractive, polite, moderate in prosperity – and the secrets we kept. A family like any other.

In writing the tale, I relied on several of my brother’s friend and acquaintances to fill in the gaps of both my memory and experience with Scott. I have, of course, asked them to read the draft manuscript as well. However, these reviews are intended to correct any liberties I inadvertently took with the facts as well as to glean their thoughts on the approach.

Beta readers, on the other hand, are intended to provide feedback on flow and relevance – things that someone embroiled in the story (such as Scott’s friends or me) might overlook. In my case, I’ve also chosen two people who have a unique set of skills involving psychology – which should highlight any issues with the manner I’ve used to convey both Scott’s and my own psychological state at the time.

I can hardly wait for the beta feedback.




About Lori Hart Beninger

Lori Hart Beninger is a native California writer with three critically acclaimed historical novels (Embracing the Elephant, A Veil of Fog and Flames, and A Peculiar Peace) that follow two 19th century young adults as they struggle with survival and acceptance in the pivotal era of the California Gold Rush up to the American Civil War. Please visit for synopses, availability, reviews, and more.
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