Find betas who…
You can trust.
Love to read.
Are familiar with your specific genre.
Can work within your schedule and meet deadlines.
Look for betas who can relate to your characters/story. For example, if writing YA/NA, find teenagers or young adults to read your book.
Let betas know your expectations in advance.
Use pre-editor and post-editor betas…
For pre-editor betas, request general feedback with emphasis on plot holes, inconsistencies, character development, and “huh?” moments. For example, “I don’t think your character would say that or do that here,” or “I would really like more from this character in this instance.”
For post-editor betas, request feedback on timeline, formatting, grammar, typos, or anything in general. Post-editor betas should catch any glaring last-minute issues before Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) are sent out and before publishing.
Before sending manuscript to betas…
IMPORTANT: Send betas an NDA to sign and return before you provide the manuscript.
- Include “Confidential” and “Copyright by Author Name” in the header of the file.
- Use page numbers, so betas can reference pages easily as they are writing notes or giving recommendations.
- Save and send the manuscript in PDF format. (If you have a full version of Adobe, you can enable the PDF for commenting if betas are using the Reader version. Clients: If you don’t have the full version, send it to me, and I can enable it for your betas.)
- Put a light watermark (“Confidential” or “Do Not Copy”) on each page.
Betas, you are the reader, so there are no right or wrong opinions.
- Honest feedback is crucial to make the story the best version it can be.
- Give as much advice as you can to help the author understand why something should be added or changed.
- Provide any praise or concerns from a reader’s point of view.
- Help promote the author by writing a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and so on.
Include comments on…
- Your reaction to the overall story/content.
- Anything that could make the story better (for example, something that didn’t make sense or needed additional information).
- Pivotal moments that gripped you (for example, scenes that made you laugh or made you sad).
- Typos or grammar errors (not necessary but helpful).
Keep in mind…
- Does the sentence structure make sense?
- Is the dialogue believable, not forced, matches character persona, or makes sense overall?
- Are the characters realistic? Consider character development throughout the story.
- Is the timeline accurate?
- Are there any consistency issues?
- Are there any plot holes?
- Did you feel a loss in connection to any characters or scenes?
- Overall, how does the story flow?