Maria P Frino
What is a Beta Reader?
Updated: May 15
There are many ways to have your work critiqued once you are happy to put your book baby out into the world of readers. I have used different methods - friends who want to help me out, paid professional editors (this is a good idea), asking on *Twitter if anyone wants an ARC (advanced reader copy), and sending to a beta reader (this is also a paid service).
*Using Twitter to ask for services can be fraught with people constantly harassing you with their services. If this becomes annoying, block them.
What is a Beta Reader? Even before a book is published, beta readers are used to give feedback on manuscripts. A good beta reader can give constructive criticism that helps authors improve their stories.
You may be familiar with these services and have used them, but not everyone knows what a beta reader does. So, what is a beta reader? Essentially, they are people who read a manuscript before publication and they use a set structure and cover various topics.
Beta readers don't edit your book, they give constructive criticism, tell you what they like and don't like, and suggest where the story can be improved. I consider my writer's group authors who critique my early drafts to be a good measure of where the story is going. This may be enough for some stories, especially short stories, and you may be able to publish your story after one or two drafts.
Beta Readers vary and many will read only one genre, which is a good thing because they specialise in this genre. As I write in a few genres, I have used several different beta readers. As far as fees go, do your research because fees vary.
As with editors, you don't have to accept all the changes or suggestions offered, but if you are an emerging writer, it's probably a good idea to accept them. Beta readers know what they are doing and know what your future readers will want, so don't be precious about your writing, it can always be improved.
So where do you find a beta reader? The ones I have used I found on Twitter, but a simple Google search will bring up many suggestions.
For more information, there are websites such as -
Organisations such as Beta Readers Australia can help you with finding beta readers, what to send them, and why you need to hire one.
This is a short story and I didn't hire a beta reader for this book,
but I'm sure it would have been improved if I did.
There are many ways to spend money to improve your stories and one I recommend is investing in a beta reader, I have found them useful.
Maria P Frino