Where to Find Beta Readers


Beta Readers

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When I published my first book, I made the horrible mistake of not getting any beta readers.  Instead I focused on editing and reviews which nearly drove me mad.  I honestly think a beta reader would have put me at ease a little bit, but you know, hindsight is always 20/20.

Depending on your goals, beta readers can be fans of a particular genre, or even a fellow author.  The ultimate goal is to get feedback you can use to strengthen your work.  “It’s cool” or “I liked it” won’t cut it for most authors.  The typical beta reader goes over a story to check for consistency in style, glaring grammar mistakes and even plot holes.  In short, they critique books before they’re published.

Should you Edit First, then Find a Beat Reader?

Many authors edit before giving a beta reader their book but there are those who use beta readers as an editing filter so they don’t have to pay so much on editing later on.  I don’t like that kind of thinking, I mean, who’s going to like a manuscript that’s not complete?

Don’t Troll for Beta Readers

Keep in mind, a beta reader is not a reviewer and authors shouldn’t confuse the two. In fact, I found this blog post called, “When I Bought Your Book I Didn’t Sign Up to be Your Beta Reader.” It’s an interesting take on authors responding to reviews and even changing books according to those reviews.  Beta readers can help you avoid this publish and republish nonsense.

*Rant* And while we’re at it, I don’t think authors should hit up reviewers on Amazon.  Those people often just regular ol’ people who might get a little freaked out by a complete stranger asking them for a favor.   But you didn’t ask me all that, so I’ll digress…

What to Look for in a Beta Reader

Some authors are looking for a writing partner while others are looking for a mentor, and some just want to see what the average Joe Shmoe thinks.  Again, it all comes down to your goals.  Whoever you choose, make sure to do your research.  Make sure that person has actually done some beta reading in the past.  This way you won’t waste time on those who are just looking for a freebie and avoid the flakes who never critique anything.

Different Types of Arrangements

  •  Writers who offer an exchange, they’ll read yours if you read theirs.  These are most popular with indie authors.
  •  Paid beta readers who offer their time and opinion for a price.  The quality varies depending on the service as well as the beta reader.
  •  Regular readers who will offer an honest opinion on your work though they are rarely skilled at offering an in-depth critique.
  •  Writing groups usually made up of aspiring or rookie authors often critique manuscripts but beware, not all groups are created equal.  Some consist of writers from various genres and may not have any clue about what your target reader likes.

Be Mentally Prepared to Hear Their Opinion

Some authors have described their experiences with beta readers as either pointless or nightmarish.  Remember as an author, it is your responsibility to allow readers to hate your work without retribution.  They are not stupid or tasteless because they don’t like your book.

Where to Find Beta Readers

  1. Absolute Write has a forum called: Beta Readers, Mentors and Writing Buddies
  2. LinkedIn has a group called: Beta Readers: A Subgroup of Let’s Talk About Writing
  3. On Goodreads there is a group called: Beta Reader Group
  4. World Literary Café has a beta reader forum but you must be a member.
  5. On Tumblr there is a blog called Find Your Beta Reader
  6. Even Facebook has several groups for Beta Readers

If you’re not interested in cultivating relationships, then you may have to pay someone. There’s a new site called, GetBetaReaders.com where you pay someone to go over your work.  However, they’re still in beta, imagine the irony! :)

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About Rachel Rueben

Author of the YA novel Hag and Eternal Bond series.

Posted on March 2, 2014, in Beta Readers, Indie Publishing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Hi, great article, with one suggestion. You should check out Librarything.com ‘s early reviewer program. They accept books from authors seeking feedback and offer ARC’s in a monthly lottery system that matches books with readers based on library genre similarities and previous reviews posted by their 1.8 million members. Last month’s lottery included over 3500 copies of 140 different books.

    LT is similar to Goodreads, but has a librarian/book nerd centric demographic that loves to read and give feedback for the price of a book. Authors can join and participate in discussions and network with their readers too.

    Hopefully you’ll consider adding it to your list.

    • Thanks for the tip, I’ve heard some authors complain about people on LT being “snarky” and unfriendly to indie authors. So I do want to see for myself and of course if it doesn’t work out, I’ll have another experience to blog about LOL!

      • Oh, that made me laugh, because it can be a little prickly there, especially in the group discussions, but in the nicest possible librarian ways that I’ve seen. I haven’t met a troll yet, just the occasional grumbler. They can be harsh critics where poor grammar and spelling and weak plots are concerned, but there are lots of nice reviewers and book lovers there too.

        I like LT best because unlike Amazon reviews, where the data can skew to make average books look great, their ratings are much more realistic, in my opinion. Hope you like what you see there.

  2. Great advice on where to find a Beta Reader.
    Thanks for the Links.

    Osran Morson
    Author of “The Fox Is A Lion”

    PS: Do you have some advice to help me build a great Website like yours?

  3. Interesting write-up. But I wonder what would be the prerequisites expected of a Beta Reader?

  4. Reblogged this on Being an Author and commented:
    Please always take the time to get your manuscript published before publishing. A beta reader is only the beginning!

  5. Well written. Good tips.
    Yet, at the end of the day I wonder, what exactly is the difference between a paid beta reader and a professional proofer/editor!

    • That’s easy, a professional editor is trained to look for grammar mistakes and abnormalities while a beta reader just gives their opinion about the manuscript as whole. A beta reader’s job isn’t to find mistakes but if they do, they’ll let you know about it, hopefully.

      • Absolutely true. But there seems to be an effort to narrow the gap between the two. At least that is the impression I got from some Authors, one of whom even went to the extent of defining BR as ‘pre-editing’!

        • I’ve noticed this as well. I have to clarify what I am looking for in readers. I wouldn’t personally send something for people to read that needed a bunch of editing at the grammar level. I just want to hear feedback on how the story works or doesn’t work for people.

  6. Thanks for the links! That is very helpful for my search for my own completed MS!

    Stephen Andrew

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