Monday, 12 April 2010

How to find a beta reader - part 2

Well, this is my beta reader results.  It's been not bad, I'd say.

Writing Groups

I asked in the two writing groups I was involved in.  In one I received nothing, no offers.  But this isn't a fair assessment because one of the writers there is my usual beta reader and read an early draft version of my book before I reworked it.

In the other one, I received 1 offer.  Nice.

Crit Partner Match

I have had 0 offers so far from Crit Partner Match.


I asked at Superhero Nation.  I received 1 offer.  Nice.


I didn't ask.  They're not big readers.

 My blog

I received a request for a sample.

So, 2 and 1/2.  Well, 2 chapters.  Not bad, not brilliant.  I'm waiting on them coming back, and then I'll find out if my betas are any good.

In the end, I think the best way to get beta readers is to have a blog or twitter or join a forum.  Make connections.  Make friends.

And ask your friends.

But friendship is a 2 way street, so be ready when they ask you, too.


  1. Yeah, my three proofreaders happen to be a beta reader from my fanfiction days, a soon-to-be librarian I met through my role playing days, and a casual acquaintance I met through a perfume hobby of mine. :) I met my editor through the same perfume hobby, as her past job was once as a technical editor and now she is an English teacher.

    My blog was definitely the cornerstone of finding both my editors and all three of my proofreaders.

  2. Dude, connections are important, but so is timing. For example, I beta all the time, but I am completely swamped this month and cannot take on one more thing (I'm barely going to manage what I already committed to). So my advice is to be sure that you're not hitting people at the last minute. And seriously, I found several of my betas through Twitter. They've absolutely knocked my socks off.

  3. Twitter isn't something I automatically think of, being so new to it.

    It's not so much a case of last minute as I'm hoping to develop critting relationships, if you can call them that. Have people whose opinions I trust and respect, whose work I'll crit, who'll crit mine, etc.

    Besides, I've got a few critters for The Guns of Pleasure and Death; I just decided when I started this blog to document every step on my route to publishing my novel.

    Thanks for the advice, though.

  4. I also think there is a level of what you write. I write m/m erotic romances, and that's not everyone's cup of tea. They might otherwise critique my stuff, or beta read for me, but it's not really their genre.

    For me, I know it's very difficult to be motivated to critique/beta/edit for anyone if they write in a genre I'm not quite interested in. So, that's also a deciding point for a lot of potential beta readers.

  5. Another thing, as someone who's been burned more than once, I ALWAYS read a sample chapter before I commit to something bigger. I said yes to two people who's work was so rough that it bordered on unreadable. One I plowed through, the next one I just couldn't.

    So, basically, my point here is 1) don't be offended if someone offers to do a chapter -- they are probably just testing to make sure your work is something they will enjoy and be able to crit effectively, and 2) you will want to sample their stuff too -- crit partnerships are often reciprocal, make sure you can stand to read their stuff.

    As for Twitter, I had two people jump on my last request for betas. They both provided awesome feedback. With that, I took a big chance (because the feedback could have been useless), but they were both awesome. And I also had one who is a dear friend that I met on Twitter and used to work in the industry, so obviously her feedback was really important. Talk to me over at that other writing group ;-) and I'll tell you all about my mad love for Twitter =)

  6. Yeah, one of my critters took 2 chapters as a sample. He didn't want anymore, but that's cool because from what he said he just didn't understand my story at all.

    For example, he felt he only really connected with 1 character. But in two chapters opening on a fight scene, with only 1 main character present, 2 characters who would appear again near the end, and several characters who were essentially just props, it's fine for him to have only connected with the one character.

    It is, after all, what I was attempting... so, success!

    Feedback from other sources has been much more positive. I didn't write the novel thinking it would appeal to everyone. It's steampunk sword and sorcery. Sword and sorcery fans could well hate the steampunk. Steampunk fans could hate the magic, angels and vampires.

    Twilight fans might hate that my vampires don't sparkle.

    The cool thing about being indie is being true to the story, and not having to worry about how well my premise will sell.

    Of course, the thing with reciprocal relationships... they're not always ready when you are.

    But thanks for the advice, and I'll go find out about your mad love for Twitter.