Categories Users Search
Help
Sign Up Sign In
Q&A

How do I get beta readers?

5

I wouldn't feel comfortable asking friends and family to read my work and getting their feedback. And I don't have an online platform to ask strangers.

What are my other options?

history · edit · permalink · close · delete · flag
Why should this post be closed?

This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/q/48842. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

0 comments

4 answers

6

What you want in a beta reader is someone who you trust to tell you the truth in the spirit of helping you improve, without attempting either to stroke or destroy your ego.

You can't trust friends and family to do this (for the most part). They are more interested in preserving their relationship with your than in improving your craft. They won't tell you the truth. Also, they don't know enough about the craft to offer a useful critique. All they can tell you is if they liked it or not, and if they like it, it is probably because you wrote it and they are interested in you. This tells you nothing about the reaction of strangers.

You can't trust people you meet on the internet. For any purpose. Ever. End of story. Except me. You should believe everything I say, implicitly.

To find reliable beta readers, join a critique group or a writing class. Get to know the people in those groups and classes as professional colleagues. Figure out which of them has taste that matches your own, is smart enough and honest enough to tell you the truth, and humble enough not to want to tear you down if you are better than they are. This will take a while. It will take several rounds of critiquing smaller pieces of work together before you understand their taste and style and character. Rome was not built in a day.

And notice that this is but the extension of a general principle: the only meaningful critique of any professional work comes from professional colleagues and mentors.

history · edit · permalink · delete · flag

0 comments

1

Family and friends are not ideal beta readers, not only because they are more interested in preserving their relationship with you personally, but also because they are not necessarily your target group and likely not professionals that know what to look out for.

You need people that know what they to look for in order to get feedback that helps you improve your style. It's not useful if someone who reads a lot but has no idea about the craft of writing tells you that they are "not feeling" the characters for example. You need to know the why in order to improve the situation.

Furthermore you need people that are interested in your specific genre. Different genres have different styles and different things that are usual or unusual. The more someone knows about your specific genre the more detailed and specific their advice is, which again helps you get to the core of problems that arise when someone reads your writing.

Therefore you need to find people that are:

  • not too close to you ; ideally in a professional relationship with you so that they are honest but still considerate enough to not metaphorically rip your writing apart
  • interested enough in your genre that they know about genre conventions
  • available so that they can actually help you in a timely manner

You find people like this in writing groups. Look around near you. Search on the internet whether there are writing and critique groups near where you are living that you could join. Or look on internet forums that specialize in these sorts of things.

Be aware that this will take time and practice to get right, too. You don't know exactly who you can trust and who actually knows what they are talking about. Get feedback from a couple people a couple times and see who fits the bill. With some people and their critique style you will get along better than with others, just be sure not to cheat yourself by only going to people that tell your everything is perfect or that everything is garbage. The truth is likely somewhere in between where there are things that are already nice and, especially in the beginning, a lot of specific areas that need improvement.

history · edit · permalink · delete · flag

0 comments

0

I presume that the social networks can be a good starting point Subscribe to some niche Facebook groups that match your book genre and ask openly. Some might be happy to help

You can also call on Twitter on some hashtags (maybe on #WritingCommunity)

And if you have a budget for that, you will always find people if you pay. Maybe a freelance editor on a site like Upwork or else.

Good luck with your book !

history · edit · permalink · delete · flag

This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/a/48857. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

0 comments

0

If you are not inclined to share with friends and family, how about work colleagues, your students or associates. Also submit to an Editor of a publication or Publishing house. That way you can get free technical review at no cost even if the work is rejected. You also won't have worries of your ideas being stolen, as may happen with some beta readers Good luck.

history · edit · permalink · delete · flag

This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/a/48869. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

0 comments