Hi, I'm Ray Evans. I'm a certified copyeditor and proofreader.
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A beta reader is someone who reads a book manuscript to provide comments to the author. Although beta readers are neither editors or expert critics, they can assist the author enhance the work by pointing out flaws, plot holes, contradictions, or unclear portions.
Your betas should read and love novels comparable to yours on a regular basis – familiarity with your genre will allow them to point out worn-out cliches or crucial aspects lacking from your plot. Your ideal betas are essentially representative of your target audience.
The Best Beta Readers Can't Replace Editing
Although beta readers provide quality control at an earlier stage of the writing process, they should not be used to replace a professional editor.
Editing Process Stages
Typically, the writing and editing process goes as follows:
Finding Beta Readers
You should search outside your personal network for the most honest, candid, and potentially valuable input. So, before you look into the rest of your possibilities, start by visiting writing communities.
A quick, and free way, is to do a Facebook search for "beta readers" and you'll find dozens of active groups of avid reads. Just be sure to post a detailed description of your book so you can make sure that you attract people who are interested in your genre.
You can also find paid beta readers for more structured and formal feedback on Fiverr or UpWork.
Be Clear About What You Want From Betas
You're not looking for vague feedback. You've put a lot of work into your book and you want it to be perfect before you publish here are some questions you should give to your beta to answer after finishing your story:
Finally, establish a deadline for them to offer input. You may be hesitant to do so if your beta reader is assisting you for free, out of goodwill. However, as long as you are flexible and reasonable, your beta readers will enjoy knowing when you want their feedback – and it will also help you plan ahead.