So get prepared for your —
Yes, you read that right. Plural, you’ll need more than one.
Why? Because beta readers are different from editors or critique partners. They are readers. But they are an invaluable tool for a writer.
That’s why I’m passing on a great post by Jo Robinson as well as a couple of other great posts on the subject. Check out the links below.
Although, a beta reader can and should point out glaring typos and comma splices, that’s not their primary purpose.
No, the primary purpose of a beta reader is to give you a reader’s perspective of your book, what they might see and think.
With that in mind, I’d like to add my two cents.
Make sure you are clear on what you expect from the beta reader. Make a list of questions you’d like answered, but don’t make it too long. You don’t want it to look like a college assignment. There are a few basics every writer wants to know, but maybe you are looking for a particular reaction. If so make sure you ask a question that would reflect it.
Here are a few questions to get you started.
- Did the story hook you?
- How far into the story before you were hooked? 1st paragraph, 1st page, 1st chapter?
- How quickly were you anchored in the story? Or did you get lost in a maze?
- Did you relate, understand the characters?
- Which character stood out the most?
- Could you envision the characters and settings?
- Any discrepancies or inconsistencies of details? Descriptions, sequences, places, details? (House on wrong side of road, hair color changed along the way)
- Does the story and writing style fit the genre or age group aimed?
- Did you skip ahead through any parts? Where?
- Did you savor any passages? Where? Why?
Have you ever used Beta Readers?
What was your experience?
Want more questions? Go to the bottom of this post for a link to 15 more.
BETA READERS by JoRobinson
What the Heck is a Beta Reader? Do I Need One? by SHEILA M. GOOD