You Asked: What the Heck is a Beta Reader? Do I Need One?

Beta ReaderWelcome to another,  You Asked, the Experts Answer, segment.  This week’s question is: What are Beta Readers and do I need one?

A Beta Reader is someone who reads your manuscript before you release it and provides feedback.

Similar to technology companies who release software updates to Beta Testers for the purpose of identifying any bugs before releasing the software to everyone.

A Beta Reader does the same sort of thing for you. It’s a test run of your manuscript.

Is it the Same as a Critique?

No. Critiques, are more in-depth and focused on grammar, plot holes, and the mechanics of writing.

A Beta Reader focuses on reading your manuscript. Feedback received includes their overall impression and any glaring mistakes. They will also provide a review after the release of your book.

Do I Need One?

Based on what publishers and other experts say, yes. For those who choose to self-publish, using Beta Readers is, particularly, important. By the time we’ve finished a manuscript, our eyes stop seeing the holes or mistakes. Beta Readers are your test readers. Sending a book out into the world without utilizing this valuable resource can make or break your book’s success.

Where To Find Beat Readers

  1. Social networking with other authors and writers in your genre. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook Groups are all excellent.
  2. GoodReads has an online Beta Reader Group.
  3. A local group.
  4. Fellow Bloggers.

Things to Remember:

  • Beta Readers should not be family or close friends.
  • They should, ideally, be within the target audience for your book –  age, gender, genre, and interest.
  • They’re avid readers.

Want More? Check out these other great posts on Beta Readers.

Coming soon, a request for Beta Readers for my soon-to-be-released Collection of Short Stories. More about that later. Until then, I’d love to hear your comments. Talk to me. Tell me your story and look for me on Facebook at SheilaMGood,  PinterestBloglovinTwitter@sheilamgood, Contently, and Instagram.

28 thoughts on “You Asked: What the Heck is a Beta Reader? Do I Need One?

  1. Pingback: Using a Blog to Attract Readers - A Writer's Convenient Truth

  2. I’ve been asking at least 3 people to beta read for me, each time. One is a very dear friend who is supportive but also isn’t afraid to tell me when I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole, one is picky on grammar and spelling to the point of infuriation, and the final person tends to be fluid, but generally someone interested in the genre who can comment on story flow etc. Also, as I’m in the UK, asking someone in the US to read is always helpful so I don’t miss out on all the subtle differences in our language.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: If not, now you may need one in the future. – jean's writing

    • My apologies Marcha, I was trying to thank you, again for the reblog and the moment I hit send realized, the damn auto correct had thanked you for reflagging by post! Any way I say it – thanks and good to see you in my pasture.


  4. Reblogged this on Marcha's Two-Cents Worth and commented:
    If you’ve never worked with a beta reader you’re missing a great experience! Doing a ‘beta exchange” is another option where you read each others’ manuscript. I’ve received valuable feedback from my beta readers and enjoyed being a part of the creative process for other authors. If you have an outstanding beta reader they can even help find typos and other goofs which saves on editing. This is a great article with more detail.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m fortune to have one. My cousin, JB Hogan, has published several books and had more than 100 poems and short stories published in numerous venues both online and in print.

    Earlier this week, while reviewing 10 pages of copy for me, he found where I had accidently changed POV for a couple of paragraphs. He not only caught this error, but at my urging, offered a suggestion which rectified the situation. He usually catches a lot of typos and missing words too. I still read the work at critique group, but I consider JB’s help invaluable in polishing the manuscript and making sure the story is coming across to the reader as intended.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A great way to find these is to try to get with a local writers group (your point number 3). Finding one shouldn’t be too difficult, check with your local library community center. In Florida, we have a Florida Writer’s Association that sponsors quite a few of them. But, yeah, the local group (to me) is the best. Plus, support. Never can have too much of that, am I right?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great article. Beta readers are so important, regardless of whether it is a book or something like a blog article. Whatever we writers write, we should have someone to read it over, because it’s easy to leave out a word or use an inappropriate word that throws a sentence off balance.
    Shalom aleichem,

    Liked by 1 person

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