In the previous post, I offered my explanation of what is a beta reader. Now, it’s time to take it a step further: you know what a beta reader is, but how do you find one?
FYI: this is the second part of a 3-part series. If you missed the first part, read here. And if you don’t have time, here’s the gist: a beta reader is a person who reads your finished manuscript and provides feedback, so that you can make it better. In other words, beta readers are awesome + you need beta readers.
Okay, on to the fun stuff.
How Do I Find A Beta Reader?
Unfortunately, there is no magic potion to find the perfect beta reader. (At least not that I know of, but please tell me if you know otherwise.) Instead, here are some tips and tricks that should lead you in the right direction.
Make friends, specifically with other writers. You will quickly learn that you all have something in common: the need for quality feedback! This has proven to be my most consistent and thorough source of critique.
Join a writer’s group. This may take on a variety of forms, from paid classes to informal gatherings to meetup groups. The most important factor is that the people in the group are like-minded, and willing to share/provide feedback.
Use social media. This has also been a lucrative method for me. I do small things like post snippets of my work on Twitter and solicit feedback, and big things like craft a 3-part blog series on beta readers that I post to all my social media. 🙂
Just ask! Might seem like a no-brainer, but if you’re having trouble finding readers, make sure you’ve actually asked for readers. This includes asking friends/family directly, and even going bigger: like this page I added to my website, requesting beta readers. P.S. It works.
Perhaps you try these tips, but they don’t work. (I seriously doubt this could be true, though. You don’d know anyone that you could ask to read your novel? Can’t find new writer friends on Twitter, or new writing groups on Meetup? Okay… if you say so.)
If this is (somehow) the case, there is one last option…
Can’t I just Pay Someone To Do It?
The short answer: yes. You can pay someone to be your beta reader, and they will read and provide feedback on your manuscript based on agreed upon terms. To find these folks, Google “manuscript critique”, or even search LinkedIn. One piece of advice, though: do your homework. Never hire someone to critique your manuscript without first making sure they are legit.
Now to answer your next question: no. The best beta reader reports are not always the ones you pay for. Some writers mistakenly assume that paying someone to be a beta reader will ensure better results. However, I’ve received some pretty awesome feedback from my beta readers, and I’ve never spent a dime.
You don’t need to spend more money to find quality beta readers; you only need to spend more time!
In the next installment of this 3-part series, we will discuss who is the best beta reader for you. Be sure you don’t miss it by signing up at the link below!