15 Places to Find Your Next Beta Reader

15 Places to Find Your Next Beta Reader

15 Places to Find Your Next Beta ReaderWhere can I find a beta reader or critique partner? Without doubt, that’s the second most frequent question I receive from writers (right after where do I find a good editor?).

This can be a tough question to answer for the simple reason that a beta reader or critique partner isn’t someone you simply vet and hire, like you would a freelance editor. Rather, this is (ideally) a relationship you build, just as you would build any important friendship.

7 Things to Look for in a Beta Reader

There are several keys to finding the right beta reader (and it is important to find the right one). You want someone who:

1. Enjoys your genre.

2. Understands your intentions for your stories.

3. Likes your stories, in general.

4. Isn’t afraid to tell you what isn’t working.

5. Is an experienced reader and/or writer (both bring important insights to the table).

6. Is reliable and trustworthy.

7. You like–and who likes you in return.

In short, when you’re looking for beta readers, what you’re really looking for is “your kind of people.”

How to Find a Great Beta Reader

Where do you look for these peeps? Local writing groups sometimes offer possibilities. But the Internet is by far your greatest beta reader resource.

Honestly, my best advice is to simply go where writers go (Twitter, Facebook, writing blogs, writing forums) and start making connections. When you find someone who you feel will be a good fit, offer to trade critiques. Eventually, the right person or people will rise to the top (and when they do, make sure you treat them right).

Still, that’s not the kind of answer most writers want. It is, after all, kinda vague–and there’s a lot of time and a little bit of luck involved. So I decided to take this whole game up a notch. I conducted an informal poll (via my daily Writing Question of the Day–#WQOTD–on Facebook and Twitter)

Following is the list of responses I received, in alphabetical order.

Top Recommended Beta Reader and Critique Groups for Writers

10 Minute Novelists (Facebook Group)

Absolute Write

Agent Query Connect

Beta Readers and Critiques (Facebook Group)

Christian Woman Critique Partners and Beta Readers (Facebook Group)

Christian Writers

Critique Circle

Critters Workshop (for Speculative Authors)

Indie Author Group (Facebook Group)

KidLit 411

Lit Reactor

My Writers Circle

Writer’s Carnival

The Writer’s Workshop

Writing.com

Now What Do You Do?

The only one of these sites with which I have any personal experience is Christian Writers, and that was many years ago. You’ll need to do some research (aka, poking around) to discover which site is the right fit for you. Some of the Facebook groups are invitation-only, so if they interest you, you’ll need to submit your application for approval.

Remember, finding a good beta reader is often as much about being a good beta reader yourself as it is anything else. Be prepared to give generously, use wisdom in selecting appropriate groups and partners, and take advantage of this resource to help you polish your writing to the next level.

Wordplayers, tell me your opinion! Do you have a beta reader? If so, where did you find him? Tell me in the comments!

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the IPPY and NIEA Award-winning and internationally published author of the Amazon bestsellers Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel. She writes historical and speculative fiction from her home in western Nebraska and mentors authors on her award-winning website.

Comments

  1. Kim Daniels says:

    Thank you for sharing your resources on Beta Readers. I’m a relatively new Beta Reader at the age of 50 and got involved after noticing a Beta Reading Group on Goodreads. One of the moderators who is an author provides a Beta Reading Worksheet as an aid for providing detailed and useful information to the writer. It’s available free on her website. I’ve found it be a wonderful tool.

    I appreciate websites such as yours that offer guidiance and past experiences from writers. I recently got my adult son into Beta Reading and it was such a pleasure to see how mutually beneficial it turned out for both him and his writer.

    • Dave Pettegrew says:

      Could you send me an idea of what you would have a beta reader read? I am very new at the idea and have never heard of it before.

    • Robert Plowman says:

      Hi Kim,
      I am looking for a beta reader for my WIP. Are you still interested?
      Robert

      • Kim Daniels says:

        Hi Robert,

        I’d be happy to beta read for you. I have 2 I’m working on right now. I primarily stay with writers I’ve read for before and wouldn’t be ready for about 3 weeks. If that works for you let me know.

        Thanks,
        Kim

        • Robert Plowman says:

          Hi Kim,
          Thank you for your offer and prompt reply. The end of August is fine for me, no rush at all. My email address is:
          [email protected]. Email me when you’re free, and we can chat some more.

          Thank you, Robert

  2. Nice list of seven. I was wondering, too, if perhaps , when looking for a beta reader, it might be beneficial to look out for someone who would really fit your ideal reader persona; someone who represents well the intended audience you write for.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      Definitely. These are the betas who will be able to give you the most accurate feedback. However, it’s also useful to throw in a reader or two who aren’t as in sync with what you’re doing, since they can provide valuable perspectives as well.

  3. Thanks for the list. I wish I had found it a few weeks ago when I was looking for beta readers.

  4. It has been SO long since I’ve BETA read and I miss it a lot. I took a break around a year ago to concentrate on publishing my first novel. The only problem is, is that all of my beta reading was very freelance and so I don’t have any credible references. Most of these people, I can’t even get in contact with anymore. So whenever a website asks for credentials I feel like I’m starting from scratch but I’m really not.

  5. I found this post, I think, through one of your tweets. I’m currently, slowly, looking for critique partners / beta-readers for a story I’m writing. I hope to have it finished by the end of NaNoWriMo’s April Camp. I read somewhere that the best critique partner would be someone who’s not in your genre, for several reasons (I hope you don’t mind me quoting another blog here):

    1. There is less chance of affecting each other’s voices.
    2. You’re never in competition with each other.
    3. Writing in different subgenres decreases the probability of unconsciously borrowing from each other’s work.
    4. You probably aren’t as well versed in your partner’s subgenre so you’ll question details another writer or reader in the same market might take for granted. For example, my CP writes historical and sci-fi romances. I’m not much of a historian and I tend to be pragmatic so suspending my disbelief doesn’t come easily. Therefore, when the history begins to take over my CP’s story or her world-building stretches plausibility, I’m the first one to notice it. As a contemporary writer, I’m more likely to question whether a term or phrase is anachronistic.
    From: http://www.rubyslipperedsisterhood.com/the-great-cp-search-is-on-reprisal-from-2011/

    From what I understand from your post, you think finding a beta-reader/critique partner in your own genre is, on the contrary to the above believe, important.
    What is your stand on the above four points?

    Personally I’d like someone to read my story because they like it. Of course, the technical part (plot development, characterization, etc), is something that can be done by anyone from any genre, but knowing if this story will be interesting in your chosen, genre, knowing if it misses these typical fantasy things, for example, is something someone from a modern day chicklit novel will have a harder time, I can imagine.

    Thanks!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      I definitely think it’s great to get non-genre beta readers for all of the above reasons. However, I would never rely *solely* on non-genre readers. We also need those familiar with our genre to help us make sure we’re fulfilling reader expectations.

  6. I have a question about turning readers down. Some of the people who’ve known for 2.5 years that I’ve been writing a book have been asking when I’m going to let them read it. They’re not big readers, and I don’t know that they’ll provide super helpful feedback (won’t say anything bad). I also know they probably won’t ever read it again afterwards, and I want to give them the best possible reading experience.

    But I don’t know how long it’ll be before the book is ready for the public.

    So do I make them keep waiting until the book is published, or go ahead and let them read it now?

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      Honesty is always the best policy. Tell them the truth, and don’t feel ashamed for enforcing necessary boundaries until you’re truly ready to share your work.

  7. K.E. Mehndiratta says:

    We are a startup located in the Boston area serving writers in the English language all over the world and we are currently seeking the following:

    – Writers with completed, revised, but not necessarily polished novel manuscripts IN ANY GENRE of fiction to utilize our beta reading service up front FOR FREE at this time.

    There is no catch. We are not looking to steal story ideas, but are looking to grow our client base and network by offering a beta reader service up front for free as we grow. We see it as a win-win: helpful feedback on your manuscript while we can serve you. Our beta readers hold bachelors or advanced degrees in English, writing, literature, and communications and have publications of our own. We are dedicated and passionate readers of the written word and want to offer feedback on your manuscript that is both honest and constructive so that you can revise your manuscript and ready it for publication as needed.

    If you are interested in the service we are now offering to ‘beta test’/read your manuscript FOR FREE at this time, will you please contact us at [email protected]?

    Thank you, and looking forward to hearing from you!

    Beta Testing Solutions Boston

Trackbacks

  1. […] 15 Places to Find Your Next Beta Reader […]

  2. […] 15 Places to Find Your Next Beta Reader – Another helpful article from K.M. Weiland. A big part of the reason I joined PNWA was to try and find a critique buddy and I’ll be sure to be implementing many of Weiland’s suggestions as I try to find my beta readers. It’s always nice to have friends and family tell you how wonderful your writing is, but it’s not very helpful. I’ll be checking out some of the groups linked in this post for sure. And I’ve also been reading up on how to be a more helpful, effective beta reader. I’ll link to some resources for that in a future post. […]

  3. […] betas is one thing, there are many fantastic blogs that discuss this including Small Blue Dog or Helping Writers Become Authors, but what I found much less of is advice as to how to handle this period when your book has been […]

  4. […] freelance writer, a published writer and a journalist—do not use your friends or family as beta readers or proofreaders. Why? Because you’re likely to get these […]

  5. […] honest opinion, unclouded by personal relationships. Instead, reach out in online writing forums. This list can help get you started. If you have ARC copies you can send out, use those, but online readers […]

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