Beta Reader Group discussion

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Writing Advice & Discussion > Beta Reader Advice

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message 1: by The Secret Bookworm (last edited Apr 29, 2015 05:23AM) (new)

The Secret Bookworm (thesecretbookworm_) | 4 comments Hi,

I have recently come across beta readers and wondered if anyone had someone advice on how to get in to it?

What makes a good beta reader?
What does an author look for from a beta reader?
How to get in to it?
What do beta readers look for when reading books?

I'm not looking to make any money and have no professional 'editing' experience.

Thanks in advance for all your answers, look forward to reading them :)

*sorry this is my first time posting, I've read the rules and think I have posted in the right section but please forgive me if it's wrong!


message 2: by Emily (new)

Emily | 80 comments To me a good beta reader gives their honest opinion on the story. If there is something in the manuscript that seems off the wall or out of character for one of the characters or if there are things in the plot that are missing and your like hey what happened with this part? Sometime authors are so close to the story themselves they don't see something. Or I know a few times I cut a scene and not realized it took something important out that I should add somewhere else to make sense later.
Some beta readers point out typos, but it isn't required so don't worry about that. As an author I always enjoy getting a manuscript back with notes telling me not only the parts that need work, but also parts they liked.
I also have had beta readers just send me an email with their overall impression of the story, and that's fine too. Basically all you need to do is give feedback to the author. You are like a focus group sort of so they can kind of get a feel of what they need to work on.

Getting into it is very easy. All you have to do is make a post in the beta reader section of this group stating what sort of books you feel most comfortable beta reading and you will probably get several to choose from and also a few out of the genre you requested. The author will then email you a copy you can read and let them know what you think about it.

Hope this helps!


message 3: by BR (new)

BR Kingsolver (brkingsolver) | 43 comments One of the major things is to only accept stories that you would consider buying to read. If you love mysteries but hate romances, then it is a disservice to the author of a romance to offer to read it, and you'll hate yourself for agreeing to read a book you aren't going to like.

An author should have some kind of feel for areas that they feel are weak, and should give you some kind of ideas about what they want you to pay attention to. But anything that you have a problem with or really like should be reported to the author, no matter how minor.

As Emily says above, a story for beta isn't a finished product and may have typos or other mistakes, but it's common courtesy for an author to give you something that is readable. If it's so full of errors that you can't stand it, let the author know, and if you still want to read it tell them you'll continue once they fix the glaring errors.


The Secret Bookworm (thesecretbookworm_) | 4 comments Hi Emily,

Thanks, it has helped.

I wasn't too sure what was 'expected' as such from a beta reader and didn't want to post offering to help not knowing what I was doing!

I'm sure there's already lots out there!


The Secret Bookworm (thesecretbookworm_) | 4 comments Thanks B.R, I pretty much enjoy all genres tbh and willing to buy most books as some do surprise you! The only genre I haven't really tried is sci-fi?!

I think I'll definitely put a post up & see what happens.
I guess Authors will more than likely use one or more beta reader?


message 6: by Lin (new)

Lin | 213 comments Mod
Hi Courtney Jane, welcome to the beta reader world!

I've written articles on beta reading and editing on the blog part of my website at www.coinlea.co.uk, which you might find useful to read through in order to get an overview of the writing process and what's expected from a beta reader.


message 7: by Emily (new)

Emily | 80 comments Yes authors do use more than one beta, one reason for this, is most of what comes from the beta is opinions. So I like to have a few different ones that way if its an issue that more than one points out, I definitely need to work on it!

Also, if you do volunteer to do it and then realize you can't get to it, it's always nice to let the author know. We realizing you're volunteering your time and if you can't do it it isn't that big of a deal, but it's nice to be able to find another if you can't get to it.


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