First of all, what is Beta Reading?
Beta Reading (From my understanding):
A Beta reader gives the author feedback (plot holes, continuity, believable characters and maybe fact checking) on a finished manuscript before the manuscript turns into an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) that is sent out to reviewers. These readers should really get medals because it takes hours to read a manuscript, take notes, rate it and provide efficient feedback. In other words, they are REAL LIFE SUPERHEROES for self-published and traditional published authors.
Therefore, one needs to find beta readers before thinking about reviewers for an ARC, before self publishing, and BEFORE sending your manuscript to a publishing house. If you skip this part because you think that your manuscript is fantastic and the agent is going to love it, you need to drink more coffee. Beta reading is worth it and finding good beta readers can make you see your manuscript from different angles, especially when looking for plot holes.
Here is a form that a Beta Reader can use for evaluating a manuscript. I am using this form at the moment for a novel that I am beta reading for an author. This is just a variation of what you may receive from a beta reader or give to him or her. You may find others online or from other beta readers and authors.
So here’s what I learned:
- Beta Reading is hard, takes work.
- There are 10 categories and if you add category 11 (fact checking) that adds more work.
- It’s hard to beta read without fixing typos and commenting on the manuscript so use Google Docs. You’re able to beta read and the author sees your comments right away. Saves times for the author.
- Some bloggers offer beta reading services for a fee.
- There are groups on Goodreads for beta reading. Authors can post blurbs and beta readers respond. Beta readers state if they will do it for free or for a fee.
- It’s good to thank beta readers, acknowledge them on websites, blogs, twitter, and inside the novels. They did a lot of work and read your manuscript from first sentence to the last. Thank them. They are superheroes.