The Power of Beta Readers: Why Self-Publishers should use Beta Readers.
You’re probably thinking; what the heck is a Beta reader? Well, they are a super useful tool to help you test your book. Think of it as something of a taste test.
Why do I need them?
A Beta Reader is someone who simply reads your book and gives you feedback on it. They look at the big picture. It’s not the same as an editor - these reader’s aren’t finding spelling mistakes, they’re reading for tone, entertainment, to feel how your story ‘hits’. It’s another set of eyeballs to look over your narrative and ensure that, well, it’s interesting! It’s hard to have the emotional distance one needs to truly be critical with their work. Sometimes we get so used to our own words we can’t spot the change of POVs, or the same repetitive sentence structures. Beta readers are non-attached humans to give you the feedback you need to hear. They can be used in the creation or editing phase or you can use Beta Readers to help market your book!
The Editing Phase
Professional ghostwriting services will have in-house Beta Readers on their team. It may be included in your package, or it can be a service you request separately. Even if you didn’t use a ghostwriting service to help you write your book, you may want to research putting your work through a Beta test before you send it out into the world. Beta’s are just normal everyday folk that read your book, answer a google form about it and tell you what they think. This can be super useful before you publish. Maybe they find a plot hole! You might find out that a certain audience prefers your book and, ta-da, now you know where you need to focus your marketing. Editing phase Beta Reader’s are signed under contract and aren’t legally allowed to speak about your book. This is an opportunity to test out your work and see if you want to make any last changes.
The Marketing Phase
Marketing Betas are very different to editing Betas. You want marketing Betas to read and speak about your book as much as possible. A marketing Beta is someone you allow to read your book for free. We know it's counterintuitive, right? The thing is, you want the reviews and the reach. Marketing Beta readers can be bloggers or google reviewers or, even better, BookTubers. They need to be someone with a following who will be prepared to talk about your work! This will help channel other people who may be interested in reading your book.
When should I use them?
Many writers have different approaches here, some use Betas after the first draft. Some after the 5th! Our general rule is to use them after the first round of editing, so that they can see the story as a whole and not still in development. But we’re one of the best romance ghostwriting services and know what works for our genre and audiences. We work closely with editors and writers every step of the way, so Beta’s really are the last toe dip in the water before our authors jump into publishing. This can be a different process, depending on what you’re writing for or about.
Having open communication with your Beta readers can really help you grow as a writer and be a very motivating experience. It can help you change your focus or reiterate your strengths. If you need any advice on Beta Readers, reach out to us. We’ve got a team ready to help you and plenty of experience if you’re feeling lost.