You know, until I started my online 6 month writing course I didn’t really know what this term meant…
A beta reader? What, were they meant to make something better… using computers?
Well, kind of 😉
The term ‘beta tester’ comes from the technology/software industry, and means a group of people who try to find problems in computer software before its release.
A beta reader does the same thing… looks for problems.
A beta reader plays the role of the average reader, and is someone a writer goes to before submitting their work to a publishing house, agent or editor.
They are a test reader, and they provide the writer with useful feedback regarding plot, structure, character or anything else of importance in the novel.
Following the beta reader’s feedback it can be assumed the writer will go back to the drawing board, and continue hacking and cutting…
Which is where I am up to now. Last night I submitted my manuscript to my online writing course, and now I have my own beta readers there, about to read my novel and give me feedback on how to make it, better. 😉
Beta readers are generally amateurs which is why they give the everyday person’s point of view… therefore they do not usually charge a fee. Of course, there are those that think they can because they are more ‘professional.’
My advice would be to find someone you trust. You can find beta readers in writing workshops, courses, online forums… even, ask your avid friend and family readers. Having a wide circle of people of varying ages and interests read your story will give it a well-rounded overview.