Tips for Having a Beta Reader Look Through
If you’re self-publishing your book for the very first time, you would be a bit tentative to release it to the public. This is understandable because it is the first time the public will see your book. This is a terrifying time for most writers because there is no way of knowing whether the reading public will accept or reject your book. This is why you should have a beta reader take a look at your work. Beta readers are not professional writers or critics. They are just everyday people who you ask to critic your book. In many ways they symbolize the public, and how they react to your work shows how the reading public may react to your work.
Here is a short guide to working with beta readers.
Choose your beta readers carefully
As it was stated earlier, beta readers should not be professional writers or critics. They should not be connected to the literary industry in any way. Instead, they should be everyday people who don’t have any reason to be biased or conflicted when they read your work.
So it goes without saying that family and friends should not be your beta testers. Due to their relationship with you, they cannot be as honest or critical as they should be. Instead it is better to approach acquaintances or coworkers. They should be people who are trustworthy, but not close enough with you to have them make a biased opinion. They should also be a part of your target audience. For example, you are writing a high fantasy novel. Then the best beta reader should be an acquaintance who is also into the high fantasy genre.
Finding a beta reader can be a bit tricky, but their help is a must if you want to know how your book will perform once you release it.
1. Give them your best work
Before you send them your work, you should make sure that it is in the best condition ever. This means your work should not have any spelling or grammatical errors. Your work should also be well-formatted and as easy to read as possible. You should also ask your beta readers what format they would prefer to read your manuscript. Do they want it in printed form? Or do they want it in digital form. It all depends on them. Remember that you are not paying your beta readers. They are doing this because they want to help you. They are giving you their time and effort, so make sure the whole process is as easy for them as possible.
2. Don’t expect any special treatment
As it was stated earlier, your beta readers should be people that you are not particularly close with. So you should not expect any special treatment from them. If they give your work a bad rating, don’t hold it against them. They read your work and devoted a great deal of their time to finish reading it and give a detailed review. So take their criticism with humility and sincerity. Thank them for their help, and sincerely ask them how you can improve your manuscript.
3. Treat them with respect
When it comes to dealing with your beta readers, respect is key. Remember that they are not getting paid for their effort. They are taking time out of their day to read your work. They are making a sacrifice to help you. So you should never rush them when they are reading your manuscript. Even if their reviews are negative, you should never try to debate with them about their review. Consider their criticism as a way to improve your work, and try to implement their reviews into your manuscript.
4. Give your beta readers proper instructions
If you want to get the best out of your beta readers, it is very important that you give them proper instructions. Remember that your beta readers are doing you a big favor. They are taking the time to read your work, and give you their perceptions of it. Make it a priority to give your beta readers instructions. By doing so, you will show beta readers what is expected of them.
Having a beta reader look through your work can make you feel vulnerable. This makes sense because you are technically baring your soul in your writing. But if you want to know how your book will perform once you release them, it is always a good idea to have a beta reader go through them. That way, once you do release your work to the public you will have done everything in your power to improve your work.