Getting feedback on whatever you write is crucial for helping identify areas in need of improvement and giving you a sense of whether or not your story resonates with your target audience. This is where beta readers come in.
What is a beta reader?
A beta reader reads your manuscript before it is published to provide you with feedback. They can be friends, family members, writing group members, or even strangers. Beta readers are not involved in the creative process, so they can provide an objective perspective on your story. They can provide feedback on things like plot holes, character inconsistencies, and pacing issues. This feedback can be invaluable as it will help to make your manuscript stronger when it comes to polishing.
What can a beta reader do for you?
Beta readers can also give you a sense of if your story will resonate with your intended audience. For example, if beta readers are confused by a particular plot point, chances are that your readers will be, too. If beta readers are bored by a particular scene, it may indicate that it needs to be made more exciting.
It is important to note that a beta reader’s feedback is not the only type of feedback you should consider, but it is definitely a piece of the final puzzle. Be sure to get multiple perspectives, and don’t lose sight of your own vision and voice as an author.
How to get constructive feedback from beta readers
When it comes to getting feedback from beta readers, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, it’s important to be clear about what you’re looking for. For example, do you want to know if the story is interesting, if the characters are well-developed, or if the pacing is good? Provide your beta readers with a specific list of where they should focus their attention so you will receive clear feedback on these areas. You can make it easy for them by providing them with a feedback form or a list of specific questions to answer.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that beta readers are doing you a favour, so be sure to thank them for their time and effort.
Beta readers can help identify areas in your writing that need improvement. Keep these tips in mind when building your “street team,” a tried and true devoted group of dedicated beta readers.
For more on the role of beta readers, see Self-Publishing: The Complete Guide.