What are beta readers?
Beta readers review finished manuscripts before they’re published and provide the author with feedback from a reader’s point of view. They can answer author questions, such as, which characters are interesting and since beta readers highlight issues writers become blind to during the countless revisions. They can identify where a reader would be more likely to stop reading or where the pacing doesn’t work.
How to find beta readers
Friends and family can be beta readers probably the easiest people to ask but they may not be the best. If they don’t normally read the same genre as the manuscript, they may be overly critical of the wrong elements or they may be reluctant to be honest. Readers groups or swopping manuscripts with other writers might be a better option.
Qualities You Need in a Beta Reader
- Your beta readers should enjoy reading and not see it as an academic exercise.
- Preferably, they should read the same or a similar genre.
- Your beta readers need to be reliable and able to work to a deadline.
- Your beta readers need to be willing to be honest and you may need to encourage this by being grateful for all feedback. This is not the same as acting on all feedback.