Hi everyone, today’s post is about beta readers and why they’re such an important part of writing and publishing.
A beta reader gives you feedback on your finished manuscript, so you can adjust it before you set it loose on the world and they pick out issues such as grammatical mistakes, plot holes and unreasonable character arcs.
I’ve heard a lot of people saying beta readers aren’t important but getting another opinion is one of the foundations of the book industry. Publishers have been doing the beta reader thing for years, they just don’t call it that.
Beta readers have a tough job really as they have to relay problems with clarity, consistency and pacing issues to the author while also helping you match your target audience to the book. Aside from all this, your beta readers will usually be the ones to define the genre of the book. For these reasons, you should never overlook a beta reader.
So here are my tips for finding beta readers:
1. Find folks who are likely to be impartial in their feedback. Choosing your wife or best friend to be a beta reader will often result in inaccurate and overly positive responses. You need the truth. This is your masterpiece here.
2. Find people with tact, because while you want honest, constructive feedback, you don’t want a soul crushing review of your work.
3. Choose somebody who likes the genre but hasn’t read your book or seen the notes. It’s easier to pick something apart if you haven’t seen/heard about it 4000+ times
4. Choose somebody who understands the urgency of publishing and won’t forget that they’re meant to be beta reading your books until six months in.
5. Pick somebody who can accept a deadline for when you’d like the manuscript back (within a reasonable time period). The worst thing is being three months away from publishing and having beta readers who still can’t give you genuine feedback past chapter three.
6. Don’t expect beta readers to accurately clean all of the grammatical mistakes out of your work. Often they aren’t being paid and even so, it can be easy to miss things when you’re reading a book and focusing on other aspects. You should still pay for an editor.
7. Finally, don’t pick up beta readers who do it just for money (if you’re going to pay them). The best folks to be reading your work are the avid readers; people who love stories. A good example of these people would include other writers. Swapping work back and forth can help your foresight and knowledge grow.
Hopefully, some of my tips today have helped you in selecting your beta readers and have convinced you that it is important. A story should be polished before it becomes a book. For one example of that, you can download Ribbonworld HERE.
Thanks for reading and we’ll see you here again soon!