In today’s column, the focus is on beta readers and I’ve searched for useful links that will not only tell you where to find beta readers but also the types of questions you need to ask them. Having trusted beta readers is a great way to ensure that your novel works, there are no plot holes, and that your characters are believable. A few good beta readers before you start your submission journey can make all the difference.
- https://medium.com/write-it-forward/what-are-beta-readers-and-where-can-you-find-them-46a8b789ba0d – What Are Beta Readers and Where Can You Find Them?: This first link looks at what beta readers do and don’t do and the importance of knowing the difference between beta reading and reviewing. It also provides some advice on vetting your beta reader and why having multiple beta readers is advised. The article then provides 6 tips on where to find beta readers along with an explanation of each of the tips.
- https://www.ingramspark.com/blog/alpha-and-beta-readers-what-are-they-and-why-bother – Alpha and Beta Readers: What Are They and Why Bother?: This article offers a great explanation on the difference between Alpha and Beta readers and who might need them. It then follows on to discuss where you can actually find these readers followed by a number of questions that you can ask each. These are simple questions without explanation so if you want more, the other links in this column will help.
- https://prowritingaid.com/art/1182/beta-readers%3A-how-to-find-and-work-with-them.aspx – Beta Readers 101: How to Find and Work with Beta Readers: This in depth guide from ProWritingAid has everything you need to know about beta readers including what a beta reader is and isn’t, where to find beta readers, selecting your beta readers, what beta reading involves, and more. There are some links included to different groups where you can find beta readers and some tips on how to ensure the beta readers you select are right for you. There are some great links to questions to ask your beta readers as well.
- https://www.tckpublishing.com/complete-guide-to-beta-readers/ – Complete Guide to Beta Readers: How to Find and Work with Early Reviewers to Improve Your Writing: This article covers everything you need to know about beta readers and what you can expect when you work with them. There is a section on individual and group beta readers and how to find them. There are some great questions answered towards the end of the article too including how many beta readers to use, how to work with them, and the dos and don’ts of working with a beta reader.
- https://blog.reedsy.com/beta-readers/ – What are Beta Readers and How to Find Them: This article has a video as well if you prefer to watch. The article covers what beta readers are, how many you might need, whether beta readers get paid or not, and how to find beta readers. There are some links included to help narrow your search. There’s a section on how to work with beta readers that gives you four steps, and finally, there’s a whole bunch of questions to ask beta readers which are broken down into different areas including pacing, worldbuilding, characters, and general.
- https://writeuppro.com/2020/01/22/6-fundamental-questions-to-ask-your-beta-readers/ – 6 Fundamental Questions to Ask Your Beta Readers: This article begins with a section on choosing good beta readers before giving you six questions they should focus on while reading your book. I loved question 1 which asks if the beta reader was bored or confused in any part of your story. This is an excellent question and will help you spot plot holes. The second question is about the characters, again another really great one. The questions in this article are ones you should definitely add to your beta readers list.
- https://stacyclaflin.com/beta-reader-questionnaire/ – Beta Reader Questionnaire: This is my favourite beta reader questionnaire and it goes through everything. There are three questions to ask about your opening, eight questions about characters, four questions about romance (if you’re not writing romance you can skip these), one question on dialogue, two questions on setting, eight questions on plot/pacing/scenes, four questions on visual, one question on the writing style/tone/voice, two questions about the ending, one on grammar/spelling/punctuation, and two additional questions on the beta readers overall opinion.
- https://awriterlypair.com/2020/06/26/questions-to-ask-your-beta-and-alpha-readers/ – 50 Questions to Ask Your Alpha and Beta Readers: The final link this week is 50 questions to ask your beta readers. I would suggest that you go through the list and pick the ones that you feel are right for you because 50 is an awful lot of questions to expect someone to ask. There are 17 character related questions, 5 dialogue questions, 10 plot related questions, 14 questions relating to the prose, and 4 chapter by chapter questions. At the end you’ll find a video with more advice and a section on questions to avoid asking which is great. Yes no answers should be avoided as well as the very vague what did you think question.
I hope you’ve enjoyed all these links and have a good understanding of the role beta readers can play in helping get your novel ready for publication. There are some fantastic questions in these articles and I recommend that you pick out the ones that you like best and compile them into a document so you have them ready to send to your beta readers.
If there is a topic you’d like to see me cover, all you need to do is get in touch with me via any of my social media links.
(c) Amanda J Evans