Beta Readers

This past Saturday I went to a presentation about publicizing books. One of the things we talked about was beta readers. Although beta readers shouldn’t replace a good copy editor, they can really help give a reader’s perspective of your manuscript. In fact, a published author at the presentation said it’s always a good idea to get readers to look at your work, not just writers. After all, readers are generally the target audience for books anyways.

At any rate, I’ve been looking at some resources to get a good idea for if I ever wanted to use beta readers myself. I found this helpful list which goes into some broad details about how to treat beta readers well. I also found a beta reader group on Goodreads, though I’ve never used it to look for help with a manuscript before.

If you’ve had experience with beta readers before, I’d love to hear from you. According to some of the writers I’ve spoken with, they can be a blessing or a curse. Any tips or tricks would be much appreciated.

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6 thoughts on “Beta Readers

  1. I’ve used that Goodreads beta group and found a few good ones there. My tips on how to use them are many. I’d say find at least three and as many as six, none of them friends. Ask for whatever kind of feedback you’re looking for ahead of time, pointing out to them parts of your novel you’re not sure about (i.e. tell me if any parts are boring, give me a general impression, and let me know if you think Uncle Jimmy’s dog dying in a freak elephant accident is too much). But don’t ask for anything too deep. For instance, don’t ask them to look for typos. You want them to read it, not study it. When you get your feedback take it into consideration, but if you feel in your gut that something shouldn’t be changed, don’t. The only exception to this is if every one of them complains about the same thing. Also, get beta readers before you give your novel to your editor. ๐Ÿ˜€
    P.S. You don’t HAVE to listen to your editor either.
    P.P.S Not all your beta readers will read your novel after they say they will. Some you’ll never hear from again.
    Good luck!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, I’m working on getting a questionnaire ready for beta readers, so that way it’ll be easy for people to fill out and make it less of a chore. I think it’s giving me an excuse to procrastinate on revision.

      About what percentage of people don’t end up giving you feedback? I can’t imagine anyone passing up reading your stuff. Oh, and Uncle Jimmy’s dog dying in a freak elephant accident is never too much. It was the only way to save grandma’s hamster from the alien invasion.

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      • In that case, you’re right. Must save Grandma’s hamster! He wields the Katana of Anti-invaders! (Yeah, I need more coffee.)
        In my experience, if you give your book to 10 people, 6 will read it. You do the math. (Cheers with coffee.)
        A questionnaire is a good idea, but it’s no excuse!! *stops writing responses on WP and goes back to work on own revisions* ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I participated in a writing contest a little while back and another contestant offered to be my beta reader. It was a short story and she let me know areas where she didn’t think the characters voices were very strong as well as dialogue chunks she thought would benefit from being broken up with actions. I took about 80% of her feedback and implemented it. Overall a good experience and Im excited to use the links you mentioned to get more beta readers in the future… So thanks! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

      • The one I participated in was on NYC Midnight. I didn’t make it past round 1 but the experience was great! I got some really useful feedback on my writing and a really tough genre to sorta break the mold of what I’m used to. (Had to write a romantic comedy involving skateboarding and one of the characters had to be a lawyer). They have a short story, flash fiction, and a few screenwriting contests.

        Liked by 1 person

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