Beta reader, the finer points

A beta readers is the person who reads your book after you think you’ve made it the best it can

Beta reader, beta readers, reader review

be. This is about what to ask them and what to expect.

The beta reader, why find one

When you have finished the revision you’ve made from your critique feedback. You polish your story and you proofread. Are you ready to submit to an agent or put on line? Not quite.

Up to now, your story has been what you want. You’ve received craft feedback from other writers. You’ve honed it for the story in your head. Now it’s time to find out what the fans of the genre think about it; that’s what a beta reader will do for you.

The beta reader – where they hang out

The good news is that you can ask online for people to read your book. The bad news is you can find people online to read your book. Like anything in life, there are good and bad beta readers. You need to find one or two – or three – that you trust.

The best beta reader is someone who reads the genre and isn’t related to you, or your best friend. Your friends and relatives may not be able to tell you what they don’t like. Or, you might not be able to hear what they say.

I advise you to go online to places like GoodReads and ask for readers. Try a few people out and find your beta reader group.

What you need to ask for from your beta reader

It’s not enough just to find someone and ask for feedback. You don’t know that you’ll get usable feedback. So give some direction.

  1. Ask them to look for the things you are afraid to find. If you think your characters are unlikeable, ask the beta reader, If you worry that your story drags, ask the reader to tell you where the story gets boring.
  2. Ask them for feedback on things you think you did well.
  3. Then you can ask them to give you whatever feedback they want

What to expect

Your beta reader will give you feedback, some you’ll like, some you won’t. Just like a critique, you might have to digest the information before you decide to make changes.

One difference between the critique and the beta reader is that your critique partner knows the craft and can explain what they mean. Your beta reader is just a reader and won’t know what to clarify. They might just say they don’t like something.

If you find yourself thinking “I don’t agree”, think about the fact that these readers like the genre. If they don’t like something, your other readers probably won’t.

The other thing you might hear from your beta reader is “I love it!” Don’t argue with that.

Good luck.