On to part 3 of this series! We’ve talked about the general advice about any kind of editor, we’ve talked about content editors, now to go on to the next reader, the Beta Reader! Sometimes people will call them also alpha readers, but to me, alpha readers should be your content editor: someone with a bit more experience and understanding of the craft. But that is a personal choice of the writer, so if you want to alpha and beta readers with the same intent that’s fine.
For me though, the beta reader should be someone who isn’t as experience in the writing world. This is kind of like the marketing test. Will you ideal reader like it? Will it be what you need? I’ve written before about finding the perfect audience member, or as I called them “Super Fan” (go here to learn more). Your super fan should be beta reader. Why? Because that super fan is your target audience. This tests to see if they’ll like it.
Your book really does need to be read by fellow writers, but it’s even more important to have it done by an everyday person who would buy your book.
So going back to look at my posts about super fans will likely give you a good idea in what to look for in a beta reader, but here are some other things I’d advise looking for.
- Love Your Genre – They buy books in your genre for pleasure. This is a person you’d expect to want to buy your book.
- You Trust Them – Yes, this is a given, but you have to trust their opinion.
- They Aren’t Writers – I can’t stress this one enough! You need an everyday reader perspective. That’s the biggest thing with beta readers.
- They Are Willing to Review – This isn’t needed, but a huge help. Ask in advance if they’d be willing to review the book once it’s up. This builds up reviews for you early on, gets you mostly good reviews, and makes your book selling process smoother.
Beta readers are pretty easy and simple. They also can go anywhere in the process after the contend editor. You can put them next, do it after the proofreader, or both. I personally work with different beta readers at each point.
For example, for my first book, I had my content editor do their amazing work. Then I sent the book to a beta reader. (They also may do a little proofreading. I do ask them to do that as well to make the process faster, but not needed.) Then I make those changes and have my content editor look at it too. I like a lot of feedback. Then before I sent it to a proofreader I’ll have a different beta reader read it. Why? Each reader with have different comments. Some are good, some are bad, and some only help with that one reader. So make sure to have lots of beta readers and find the common comments.
There’s a lot to look at with beta readers. I’ll be posting more about different aspects of beta readers and different systems of using them, but for this, I’m just talking about things that will help you find your idea beta readers. Yes, readers. Again, you want lots of them. I make a goal of 5 each book.
Was that helpful? What tips helped you most? Did you find the best beta reader? How? Share you tips or even blog posts on the same topic in the comments below. Sharing is caring!