Finding your ideal beta reader might seem to be daunting task, especially if it were your first time using the services of a professional beta reader. Let us talk about some of the qualities that you might want to look while you choose the ideal beta reader for your next manuscript.
Choose the ideal beta reader
While it is true that finding a good beta reader is important, the success of the partnership largely depends on finding someone who is the best fit for you and your manuscript. Here are a few qualities that may seem vital in choosing your next beta reader for your MS.
Do they belong to your target audience?
Ideally your beta reader should fall into the demographic of your target audience in terms of age, gender, interest etc. Or someone who is capable of putting themselves in those specific shoes for you, hypothetically.
For example, if you are writing a middle grader story with a strong female, your best beta reader should be a female, middle grader or someone who is capable of responding from the point of view of a middle grader.
If your book is about a special field (say a sci-fi about volcano and geothermal stuff) or set in an exotic location, you may have to narrow your search to that. It would be great to have two beta readers – one a specialist and a non specialist.
Are they regular readers themselves?
It goes without saying that a good beta reader should be a voracious reader of different genres. And even if they don’t specifically enjoy reading the genre you are writing in, they should be able to appreciate it.
If it is possible take look at some of the book they have reviewed in the past on their blog or on Goodreads and make sure their style will suit your needs.
Are they publishing savvy?
Your next beta reader should be savvy enough to know what makes a well written book great in terms of writing, credibility and marketability.
They should have both good instincts and knowledge of the present publishing scene to suggest relevant changes for your manuscript. They should know what appeals to the mass market and your target readers alike.
To ensure your beta reader hits all these notes, it is probably a safe bet to find out your next beta reader through recommendations and referrals. At least go through the testimonials from the past and present clientele.
Do they know what is expected of them?
A good beta reader should know what type of suggestions and opinions would matter to you, aka an author. They should be honest and opinionated but at the same time they should ensure those criticisms/opinions are valid and relevant.
While catching typos and grammatical errors maybe helpful, that is not their job nor it is vital at this stage. For example, they should be telling you if the narrative voice was interesting enough, but not about the high school grammar.
Do you prefer they were writers themselves?
I know many authors use their peers to get their manuscripts beta read, and that is wonderful. But I would suggest looking for strangers, who are not writers themselves or a professional beta reader.
A fresh set of eyes would always bring in newer perspective to your manuscript . Also you need not worry about them using your unique ideas themselves or them attempting to help you by “fixing” your book.
A professional beta reader would at best tear open the book for plot holes and weaknesses and would help you rebuild them, as a reader. Not as a writer, which would still be you.
Are they too close to you?
Your ideal beta reader should preferably not be someone who is too close to you – like your partner, mother or a close friend, for many a reasons.
Are they regular readers who are publishing savvy? Are they bringing in a fresh pair of eyes or have they read your other writing and have an idea about your style already? Would they be brutally honest about their reading experience? And would you and your relationship be alright, if they tear your book apart and criticize it?
Were you able to think of two or three specific people who would tick off these boxes? Then you have got your dream team of beta readers. And if you still have a spot left on your team, you can take a look at hiring me as your beta reader.
And here are some testimonials from past and present clientele to tell you how I can be your ideal beta reader.
Here are some more posts on the topic
- 35+ Questions To Ask Beta Readers
- Can Beta Readers Steal Your Work?
- Beta Readers: Who, What, Why and How?
- Hire me as your next beta reader
Let us chat
What do you think as the qualities of a good beta reader? How do you choose the ideal beta reader for your manuscript? And readers, let me know if you have the qualities of an idea beta reader? Let’s talk.