Working With Beta Readers

So you’ve completed your manuscript and want to have a beta reader review it prior to sending it to an agent or editor. Having your work reviewed by a new set of eyes is a great idea! We are so close to our work that we don’t pick up on things that a new set of eyes would see. You might think it’s great and it might be but odds are, it still isn’t where it needs to be.

Beta readers are a great option. Unlike family and friends, they are impartial and will tell you the truth. Also if you find the right beta reader, they will be experienced in writing and reading manuscripts. They will know what to look for and what works and what doesn’t.

Warning! While most beta readers are great people who want to help you out, because they are in the same boat, there are those who will steal your ideas. Choose your reader carefully. If you choose someone you’ve developed a relationship with, they may think twice before pinching your content. Loyal readers of your blog, or previous books would make excellent beta readers.

In my last post Beta Readers, I  pointed out a few websites you could follow up on as well. Wattpad and Scribofile are probably the most popular. If you want a local group, try meetup.com.

So if you do decide to work with a beta reader there are a few things you should keep in mind.

  1. Don’t give them a draft. Give them your very best work. Give them the manuscript you thought was ready to submit. You don’t want them bogged down in structural and grammatical errors. You want them to see the content.
  2. Ask them what format they would like it in (mobi, epubfile or pdf). They may want to print it out or read it on a kindle.
  3. Let your beta reader know what kind of feedback you are looking for. If you create a list, they want spend their time punctuating sentences.
  4. Don’t take it personally. Your beta reader may not come back with platitudes. Thank them for their comments and move on.
  5. Return the favor. Most Beta readers aren’t being paid to read your book. They are offering input because they want to help or are interested in your books premise or topic.

Hope this helped you on your journey. I would love to hear from you. If you have any comments or suggestions please let me know. Also I would like you to consider following me. I post on Tuesdays and Thursdays of each week and you will receive an email whenever I enter a new blog or revise and existing one. Thank you for your consideration.

-Jan R

Working With Beta Readers

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