Beta Readers…who they are and why you need them.
We’ve all had experience with “beta” versions of software, apps and video games. Think of beta readers the same way. They are a select group of readers, who help get the kinks out of a manuscript BEFORE it’s released to the public.
Beta readers should provide valuable feedback for potential negative reader reactions to characters and storyline. In addition, that same feedback can help a writer figure out which aspects of your book work and which don’t.
Beta readers are NOT editors, alpha readers, fact checkers or critique partners. So what do beta readers do you ask? They review finished manuscripts before they’re published and provide the author with feedback from the reader’s point of view. (Think a detailed review before it’s released.)
Everyone has an opinion as to whether beta readers should be family or friends. Technically, a beta reader can be anyone who will read your book or manuscript objectively, as a casual reader. In my opinion, family and friends are not always the best choice when it comes to objectivity.
The biggest complaint I hear from new authors is, the lack of feedback provided by family and friends. The most common feedback tends to be “I loved it” or “it’s really good.” That’s nice to hear, but it does nothing to help you perfect your work.
I believe it’s best to find objective beta readers who like to read the genre your book fits into. Additionally, if you provide your beta readers with a questionnaire to be filled out upon completion of your manuscript, you gain the meaningful feedback you were looking for. That’s why I am providing a FREE downloadable and editable Beta Reader Questionnaire. This is the same one I use when writing my paranormal romance and young adult novels.
I wanted this free questionnaire to act as a guide that is easy to adjust to your needs and have made it available in both pdf and word doc formats. To download, just go to The Authors Corner page of this site and log in. I will be continually adding more resources and helpful links, so check back often.