If you’re like most active writers, you’re constantly working on different types of content and producing drafts. You’ll want to pick a good beta reader to look over your content to make sure it’s up to par.
A beta reader is the first step and safety net in checking the quality of your writing. A good beta reader can give you feedback on the readability and initial reception of your work.
Beta readers can be friends, family, or peers, but most importantly, they are the people who evaluate your manuscript before you query agents or attempt to self-publish. This means that they’ll be the first ones to help you edit your work, but not necessarily the last.
You’ll want your work polished before you send it in to agents for more critiquing.
What Makes a Good Beta Reader?
It could end up being painful, but the most effective beta readers are critical and heavily opinionated people. They shouldn’t be mean, but they should be objective and not afraid to hurt feelings. You’ll want to find someone whom you can trust to be honest with their feedback even if it doesn’t make you look good.
Readers & Writers
Who better to test read your manuscript than someone who actually likes to read?
When you’re selling a book, you’re selling it to a specific type of person: readers. It won’t do you much good to have someone who isn’t a regular look over your manuscript.
It’s ideal to find a reader who matches most closely with your target demographic, but that’s not always possible.
Having a fellow writer look over your work is never a bad idea as they can offer critical analysis that non-writers could miss. They’re also typically a great deal more passionate about analyzing writing than a non-writer.
Someone in Publishing
It doesn’t matter what their role is in publishing per se, but someone who has any type of experience in the industry can have a better idea of what to look for to get your work published than someone outside the industry.
It’s always important to get a specialist’s perspective on your book. If your writing is about a certain topic or your narrative contains characters who work a certain field, having someone with real-world experience and knowledge in that topic can offer unique and necessary feedback you can’t get from anyone else.
How to Pick Your Beta Reader
There are a lot of factors to consider when picking your beta reader, and it can seem overwhelming. But you’re not going to find one person with all of the qualities listed above. A great option is to find multiple beta readers for your manuscript, and see if you can put together a group of people who have a variety of perspectives.
You know better than anyone what kind of readers your book needs, and can use your own judgement to decide which beta reader qualities are best for your writing.