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Sarah Daffy

How do I get beta readers?

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I'm working on a new book and I want to get beta readers for it when I'm done. How do I do this?

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10 minutes ago, carolinamtne said:

Go to Jobs and Project Connections and ask for readers. That worked for me.

 

 

How do I give them my book?

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Carolina’s right. You’ve got lots of great potential beta readers right here. Just post your request, PM the ones that grab it to get their emails, and then send them the file of your book.

 

I've found having a list of specific questions for your readers is helpful for both sides.

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Sarah, 

You can certainly send a copy of your book to beta reader via email as Zee suggests, but you can also use Google docs to upload a version that you can then point a beta reader to. The advantage of the google.doc route is you can put some controls on the document so the beta reader(s) can comment, but they can't download your document. So it is a little more secure - they don't get a complete copy of your work.

 

I'm sure piracy would not be an issue for any of the regulars on this site, but if you have outside beta readers it might be safer.

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A bit different note re. beta readers:
Do you want people to read/review your book as a "regular" reader would?
Or do you want someone to critique your book as an acquisitions editor would?
Both kinds of input are valuable, but people get into issues with beta readers if they expect one thing then get another. One is the view from 10,000 feet (overall impressions); the other is ground-level nitty-gritty (what it'll take to make the book publishable). Clarifying expectations up front really helps you get the kind of feedback you need.

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I've done limited beta reading (I'm working on getting better at it).  I try to read as a "regular reader" as Lana said, and I try to limit the tendency to proof-read, as that should come later.   

Please do give a synopsis of the book, genre, length of book, estimated time you want comments. 

(Sell the concept: If it's not the type of book I would enjoy reading, I don't volunteer- one of the bennies of doing beta.)

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Over the years, I have swapped books with others on this site and benefited greatly. Just make sure you work out an equitable swap. There are different levels and degreees of feedback, and the effort required varies greatly. On occasion, a gracious person will offer to read and ask for nothing in return besides the pleasure of reading and offering a little advice. 

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Yes, @paulchernoch, you're so right about the different degrees of feedback. Beta reading is not necessarily the same as critiquing. Those lines can be fuzzy. But in my mind, the first is reading like a reader would read and offering first impressions. The second is reading like an acquisitions editor would read (a critique that points out plot holes, pacing, other things that would cause an agent or editor to round-file a manuscript). I've done both, and both are time-consuming. Because both are time-consuming, I try to make it as simple for beta readers to provide feedback. When they finish my manuscript. I send them a list of questions. Most require only yes/no responses, with the option to elaborate.  The last few questions are open-ended. And I always offer some sort of compensation--even if it's just a gift card to their favorite coffee shop. (Some people have declined even that.) 
But, back to the original Q of where to get beta readers: I've found my best betas in private Facebook writing groups (e.g., programs we've jointly gone through together, like Jerry Jenkins Novel Blueprint). I've also paid for a couple industry heavyweights to critique the first 5 chapters of my manuscript. That's both cost-effective and gives you a general idea of the kinds of hiccups you'll likely repeat throughout the book. I didn't know about christianwriters.com when I was looking for beta readers, but I'd sure utilize it in the future!

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