Lessons Learned From a Beta-Read Round

Tips for sending a manuscript to beta readers

Sarah-Marie
E³ — Entertain Enlighten Empower

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Hands in a sweater hover over a typed piece of paper with edit marks on it all over a light wooden surface. The left hand points at a line while the right hand holds a pen.
Beta reader feedback can run smoother and be more helpful with some easy steps. “Editing and Writing on Paper” image by Wokingham Libraries from Pixabay, free for use.

The time is finally here! You’ve gone through a few (or many) drafts of your manuscripts and you are just about ready to send it out to publishers, but there’s one more step to consider.

Beta readers

Beta readers help you learn what potential readers will think of your work. This helps you know if what you want to do works as it is written. It’s your chance to get outside thoughts about your work before you send it off to someone as scary and perfection-seeking as a publisher or agent.

While you can pay for beta readers, you don’t have to and these tips are primarily focused on the latter situation.

Let’s go over some lessons learned from my first beta reader round.

1. Pick your beta readers carefully

You want a mix of your ideal audience (genre, demographics, etc.) and people outside of it. The former will know what to expect and how your work fits in with standard tropes and standards for the genre and audience. The latter may have a harder time buying in, but they may be better able to spot points of confusion or contention, especially for readers who may not be in your exact target demo, but may try to pick up your book.

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Sarah-Marie
E³ — Entertain Enlighten Empower

Author & Writer | Querying my YA Fantasy novel |Top Writer in Space | A little bit of everything: Science, personal development, fiction, hobbies, and art