What Makes a Good Beta Reader?

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Today, I wish to share with you all an incredibly helpful post by Australian writer and former journalist, Belinda Pollard. It is on the subject of Beta Readers and it includes references to her other posts on the same issue. I found those just as important to read and digest as this one. All put together, they leave absolutely no questions left unanswered and this is a painful matter that sooner or later all writers have to face.  I feel very lucky to have discovered Belinda; Her marketing tips came recommended by a dear author friend recently. I headed over to Belinda’s site and was swiftly impressed; signing up to her newsletter which granted me also the extra bonus of a very helpful ebook on self-publishing!  From what I have read so far on Belinda’s site, she is definitely worth reading and following!

So, without further ado, here is the answer to the question that tortures us all:

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Where do I find a good beta reader?

Good beta readers can be found gathering in little groups just to the left of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Ha. ;-)

But seriously… I won’t lie to you, it’s not easy to find a good beta reader. But it is possible.

Today I’m going to list some of the characteristics of the “ideal” beta reader. Don’t forget that I said ideal. You will have to pick and choose among these characteristics, to decide which ones are most important to you and your book. Think about them, and don’t rush yourself. You’ll begin to get a feel for the people you know who could fit the bill. You’ll begin to understand which aspects are more important to you and your book, and which are less relevant.

Read the whole article here.

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8 responses to “What Makes a Good Beta Reader?

  1. So pleased to introduce you to this post my dear friend, because of our recent conversation on the subject! I found a wealth of info on that site, so I know you’ll benefit greatly also. And by the way, I already knew you’re perfect for me :) You’re my ‘a-z’ reader, not just beta :) xxxxx

  2. Thanks for sharing, Effrosyni! Bellinda’s was one of the first blogs I followed, and I had already read this piece, although a refresher is always good! My only dilemma is whether a beta reader should be a reader of your genre (that’s what I’m inclined to believe) or, well, not a reader of your genre. I’ve read mixed views on this. I write romance so a romance reader will be familiar with the tropes and the inevitable “cliches” of the genre (some have to be there as they sort of work as “branding”) whereas a non-romance reader might want to veer me off the beaten path, which might be good but also might not work at all! I guess the best idea is to try out both kinds and gauge reactions. Thanks again!

  3. Thank you for your feedback Maria. Yes, I agree it’s best to have the assistance of someone who knows the genre well but I think one should also seek other beta readers who are not into the specific type of book as to provide a fresh and general prespective. We all read different genres from time to time so I think the writer should not get too carried away within the confines of their own genre, in effect alienating readers who don’t have this genre as their most favourite. Hope this makes sense :)

  4. Thanks for sharing my blog, Effrosyni. I really do believe in beta readers, and am so thankful for the team who read my own books and provide useful critique. Every writer needs them, but even more so for self-publishing. In that case, good beta readers can help substitute for developmental editing, which many indies cannot afford. Best wishes for your lovely blog! :-)

    • Thank you for visiting my blog dear Belinda! It’s an honour :) You hit it on the nail I think, so many of us can’t afford a professional editor – including yours truly. Hence the importance of having brilliant and talented author friends. In this sense, I feel blessed and I am all set! Once again, thank you for your brilliant content, it is a great help to authors – keep up the great work dear :)

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