Tag Archives: Beta Readers

Why Beta Readers Rock

I met with one of my beta readers yesterday to discuss my book. He helped me see a couple holes I could fill. I knew he was right because he addressed spaces I had seen myself but not known how to fix. By having someone else see them, I could then push myself to do the hard work of figuring it out.

Last night I sat down and tied together these loose ends. Maybe it is not 100% fixed, but it’s better, and that’s the point. I am so grateful to my readers for their honesty. So far, they have spotted typos, cheered me on, and even explained why they could not keep reading.

While the majority finished with a smile, it helps to know exactly why it’s not a story for everyone, something that sounds difficult to bear but was actually quite reassuring. We all know every book has an audience. Getting to ask a reader why they did not finish is a real gift.

And, last but not least, sharing my writing with more people, including acquaintances instead of just close friends/family, is building my confidence. It is no longer such a scary feeling to imagine unfamiliar eyes on my work. Some will like it and some won’t, and that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s really liberating!

So, thank you, thank you, thank you to my beta readers. If you’re still reading, take your time, I’m still working. And, if you’ve written a book without a beta audience, I suggest giving it a shot. By no means do you have to listen to everyone, but you may be surprised by what you learn and how it changes your confidence in your work. I definitely feel a lot stronger and braver for it.

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Launching your book: Could you benefit from a beta audience?

In the past I have talked about beta readers as a way to test my book. Today I came across an article about an author who is publishing his book to a beta audience of 1,000 people before he even makes his work available to the public. While this size sample audience is likely too large for most self-published authors, it does raise an interesting idea.

By releasing a book to a smaller audience, there is an opportunity to build a buzz and a collection of ready-reviews before your book is available for purchase. Admittedly, I am more likely to buy a book with at least some reviews (even mediocre) than one with none at all. Likewise, it provides more opportunity for refinement as readers provide input before the book hits Amazon.

Now, I know many authors question the validity of seeking so many different opinions, but perhaps this method of a larger beta audience (be it 1,000 or 100 or 10) provides the opportunity for a consensus to form. While the opinion of one may not be extremely useful, the overlapped opinions of many start to hold more value, particularly if the audience is picked intentionally. In the article, the author seeks readers in his academic community, not just any old volunteer.

I am curious of your thoughts– do you see advantages to a larger beta audience? Is there some secret to successful marketing in this approach?

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A call for beta readers… Want to read my book?

I have to decide what to do with my novel… I’m leaning toward one last round of queries and then self-publishing, but there is always the option to shelve it as well. I haven’t lost faith, I’ve just hit the point where I’m done working on it and need some fresh perspectives.

That’s where you come in…

If you’re interested in reading, I would ask the following:

1. Be available to begin reading mid-July when I get back from my trip.

2. Read like you downloaded off Amazon for a maximum of $5, (if I self-publish, it will likely be priced lower). When you finish, I want to know if you would feel satisfied if you had paid to read.

3. Note any typos.

4. If you get stuck and lose the momentum to finish, tell me where. If it feels like a chore, I need to know. No obligation to read the whole thing.

5. Be honest, but kind. Everyone has different tastes, (many of the books I read fall in the three star category on Goodreads even though others love them). I won’t be offended if it’s not your favorite book ever, I just need to know if it’s readable.

What you can expect:

1. Think Revolutionary Road meets One Day meets Shopgirl. If you have read any of those titles, might help gauge your interest. Think simple story about a young couple who feels frustrated and leaves everything behind to travel and find themselves, separately. I am looking for readers who read regularly and have an interest in mainstream fiction that crosses over to chick lit.

2. Gratitude. While I can’t pay you, I can thank you a thousand times.

If you’re interested, please either comment below with the title of the last book(s) you read or email me privately. Only volunteer if the premise interests you. I need a few more readers and will resort to names in a hat if necessary. I will contact you privately to let you know and appreciate the support given, even if it’s just a high-five for reaching this point!

Manuscript

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