Can beta readers steal your work?

Jun 17, 20208 comments

Hello there!

Gayathri loves reading, recommending books and talking about bookish things in real life. Her blog is just an extension of that habit. When she is not reading books or creating online content, she freelances as a beta reader. She lives currently in Dubai.Head over to meet me

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One of the major concerns for indie authors when hiring a beta reader is about the safety of their manuscript. Can the beta readers can steal my work? Will they publish my manuscript as theirs? Will they rip my beloved characters off me? These questions must plague your mind, and for right reasons. 

One of the major concerns for indie authors when hiring a beta reader is about the safety of their manuscript. Can the beta readers can steal my work? Click To Tweet

As someone who is producing digital content on multiple channels every single day, I understand your concerns. I worry on similar lines every night about my posts and graphics.

I get it.

How can you just hand over your manuscript that you have spent weeks and months on to some random stranger off the internet?

As someone who attempted fiction and poetry writing many moons ago and struggled at it, I have a great respect towards you all.

To come up with a plot and an outline is hard. But to sit down and pour the words on a paper (or screen?) is just mind blowing. You don’t deserve getting your hard work stolen/misused by anyone.

So if you are worried if the beta readers whom you entrust your manuscript with, can steal your work, I am here to put your concerns to rest.

The answer is no!

Professional beta readers do not steal your work because their job is dependent on their integrity and trustworthiness.

Things to do to avoid your work getting stolen

That being said, one can never be too cautious right? So here are some things you can do put your fear of getting your work stolen by your beta reader

Get to know them

Getting to know your beta reader would be a great way to start a relationship with them.

Evaluate their reviewing and feedback style and ensure they fit your needs.

Go through the testimonials of their previous clients. 

Have a conversation via mail or through call. Meet them over a coffee, if that is something you are both comfortable with.

Get someone who is not an author

Another way to minimize the risk of your work stolen by the beta reader is to avoid sharing your manuscript with a writer who is writing in the similar genre as you, or just avoid peer authors altogether.

I know this sounds a little too extreme but one can never be too careful when it comes to the internet right?

You can still get feedback from friends and family members who read or hire a professional beta readers

Get a contract

Many professional beta readers are willing to sign a contract and a Non Disclosure Agreement before they even receive their advance and your manuscript. I sign up these NDA, too

The contract binds them legally from discussing or sharing your manuscript, plot or anything from your work with anyone else or using your plot, character or words for any other purpose. 

It explicitly states that the manuscript is for their eyes only. 

Get a professional beta reader

Many a times, authors share their manuscript with other authors and the members of writing community for a feedback in exchange for feedback on of theirs. 

Well, the system works.

But is it the most safe and effective method? That is arguable. 

On the other hand, a professional beta reader is someone who has been doing this for a while and they have a track record. This automatically improves their chances of not being professional aka they don’t have to steal your art/product. 

I can’t insist more on the importance of reading the testimonials from the past and present clients, if they are available. 

In conclusion

Despite all these precautions, it is true that someone else can steal your work or misuse your manuscript and call them their own. But the chances are quite low. 

I am sure you will find someone whom you can trust to get a relevant and honest feedback from.

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Let’s chat

Do you use a professional beta reader? Are you worried about someone else stealing your idea or work? Who is your go to beta reader? Let us talk. 

8 Comments

  1. Bianca

    These tips are great, thank you!

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Thank you.

      Reply
  2. Nadene

    Great post.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Thank you.

      Reply
  3. Jenn @Bound to Writing

    Wonderful post! It’s always a worry that someone is going to steal your work before publication. Thank you for these tips! 🙂

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I am glad you liked it Jenn!

      Reply
    • Gayathri

      Thank you.

      Reply

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