Beta Reading

So you think you’re ready to self-publish your novel. Or maybe you’re going to the traditional route, and you’re ready to begin querying. Have you had beta readers look over your work yet? If not, you might want to consider a couple extra readers look over your work.

If you’re looking for a beta reader, then you’ve come to the right place! (And if that’s the case, feel free to skip down to section 3, How do I find beta readers?)

What’s a beta reader?

Not to be confused with a betta fish (though they’re pretty fun too) beta readers are volunteers looking for a good story pre-publication.

A beta reader is not a critique partner. While critique partners look at your story from the perspective of a writer, a beta reader looks at the story from the perspective of a reader. That’s not to say that beta readers can’t be critical readers, just that they have a different purpose. Critique partners tend to exchange novels and give long-term feedback, but beta readers tend to focus on one project in particular. Also, critique partners tend to look over the earlier drafts of your story while beta readers will review later drafts, when you’re closer to the querying or publication process.

A beta reader is not an editor. I cannot emphasize this point enough. Beta readers might point out when you’ve used the wrong word, but it’s not their job to correct your grammar. And most of them won’t. It’s their job to enjoy the story and give you feedback on their thoughts and feelings, emphasis on the feelings. If you’re an indie author, consider hiring an editor before you format your story for publication.

Do I need a beta reader?

Whether you’re traditionally publishing or going the indie route, you need a writing community. For me, this is made up of at least two or three critique partners, three to five beta readers, an editor, a proofreader, and a cover artist, not to mention all my lovely fellow bloggers.

Of course, how and when the the writing community is involved is up to the writer. I typically ask my critique partners to read my novel after the second draft, my beta readers after the third or fourth. Even if you’ve already had critique partners look over your story, and you’ve since made revisions, you might want a group of beta readers to take another look.

Besides, asking other people to read your story is a great way to build relationships with your future, long-term readers!

 How do I find beta readers?

There are many different ways to find beta readers. You can ask for readers to contact you on your blog. You can ask the Twitter community. I like to use #betareaders. You can even directly ask your fellow writing community, if they’re not already your critique partners.

You can even ask me!

I’ve beta read novels for published and unpublished indie authors alike.

I enjoy reading Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction with select Adult Fiction. I’m not looking to review works that include excessive profanity, gore, or sexual scenes (think R-rated films). My preferred genres include fantasy, science-fiction, historical fiction, and contemporary. I do not read romance or horror. For a list of some of the books I consider top quality, check out my Treasured Books list.

Interested in having me beta read your story? Feel free to get in touch:

I look forward to hearing from you!

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