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Finding Beta Readers

Beta cat

Today’s topic comes form QSFer Jon Keys – how do we find good beta readers for our work?

It’s a question many newer authors have – we’re told again and again that it’s not enough for us to proof our own work, that we need an outside eye to help us catch things we might miss – typos, errors, and general confusion in places that seem clear to us as the authors.

So my questions today: How do you find your beta readers? Are you one, and if so, how do you approach this delicate work? What makes a good beta reader, or a bad one? And how do you keep them once you find them?

4 thoughts on “Finding Beta Readers”

  1. I had a small group of beta readers. Now I’m down to one, and I know I need to find more. I have the same questions. And after a bad experience, it’s hard to reach out and ask for help.

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  2. Beta reader’s are difficult to come by. I’ve been actively seeking writers and reader who can offer their time and publishing this information on my website. I have five contacts (two are paid services). How often they are contacted I don’t know.
    On Wattpad I have a huge collection of beta readers in my book Beta Readers – Find One Here. There are 22 readers and writers there who are keen. Wattpad account may be required to make contact but there are several great writers there who are willing to help with beta reading.
    It’s always going to be hit and miss when contacting an unknown to help with beta reading but my advice has often been to offer a chapter or two first and get a feel for the beta reader. Set up a time frame but be flexible if necessary. If it doesn’t work out be honest and find another. If you can find a friend who can help that makes the process much easier.
    I have beta read in the past but I prefer short stories only. It’s all I have time for.

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  3. This is actually a great question and timely. I was on the beta reading panel at RainbowCon (where I met all the awesome QSFers there! *wave*). I agree that having beta readers is important, and not just new authors. Sometimes veteran authors need it more because they tend to forget they’re prone to plot holes and flat characters the same as new authors.
    How to find one, ask. If there’s a reader you’ve interacted with ask them if they’d be willing to beta read. Give them exactly what you’re looking for, where you think needs extra attention. Or if an author you know has great betas, ask if they’d be willing to recommend them. I’ve gotten paired up with the authors I beta read for both ways.
    As for how to keep them, don’t get crazy. And I mean that seriously. If you start raging at your betas that they’re wrong or stupid, they’re not going to give you feedback anymore. If you start blindly accusing betas of pirating your books (yes, it DOES happen but not all of us betas just want free books or to give them away to others), you’re going to damage the relationship you have with them.

    Mostly it comes down to putting yourself out there on both sides, and everyone acting like an adult and not being a dick.

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  4. I am looking for beta readers, especially if they are writers and interested in a reciprocal beta review relationship. I new to the genre of Gay Romance fiction, but have recently published a number of novellas at JMS Books.

    If anyone is interested in this, or knows of a beta reader meet-up site, please let me know. I can provide free copies of any story the prospective beta finds interesting from the blurb, to see if they are suited to my writing.

    Thanks, Gordon

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