Working with Beta Readers

Getting our writing critiqued is a vital learning process for writers. Through feedback, authors can mould their novel into a piece of work that’s coherent and has marketable appeal. Beta Reader’s response can help to judge which part of your book will work for your audience and those that may not.

I’ve wanted a Beta Reader for quite some time, but had no idea of how to go about it. Can we rely on our family and friends to be honest? Probably not, I tend to sugar coat things for those I care about.

How do we find Beta Readers?

Blogger Ari Meghlem recently asked this question on Facebook. Reaching out on social media is a great way of finding Beta Readers. It’s daunting. It requires bravery and a little common sense.

Finding the right reader is a vital first step. There’s no point in asking someone to read your genre if they don’t like it. Their feedback will be less than helpful. Ask questions and build a relationship. Your ideal reader should be similar to your target audience.

Debut Novel NA fantasy Author Lorraine Ambers Beta Reader

Here are my 3 tips for working with your Beta Reader.


Give Guidance

Develop a list of questions that you’d like answered. These might be about plot, pacing, strength of character, or the organisation of the stories concept. Your checklist should meet the specific needs of each book you write. As a great starting point for question inspiration, go check out some of my ideas on these Pinterest boards.

Learnt to love negative feedback

Not everyone will like your work. So you shouldn’t revise your book based entirely on one person’s perspective. Gaining different points of views can help pinpoint the areas that need working on. And as hard as it can be, ask yourself: Will addressing the issues make your book better? Sometimes accepting the truth hurts, but that’s how we grow and learn. So remember to thank your beta readers, and embrace their feedback.

Return the Favour

Offer to work in tandem with your BETA reader. Or consider returning the favour at a later date. By reading someone else’s work you can gain experience at reading with a critical eye. This will be invaluable when editing your own WIP.

I want to say a huge warm thanks to Ari for agreeing to beta read my first novel, her feedback so far has been fantastic. You can read Ari’s previous guest blog post Here.

Thanks for reading my post. Do you have any tips on working with beta readers? If so, please share.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

 © Author Lorraine Ambers and, 2016.


19 thoughts on “Working with Beta Readers

  1. I feel that its actually best to turn to family and friends first, especially when you’re in the earliest stages of writing. Of course ask them to be honest, but their care and encouragement can help encourage you to get opinions from other beta readers.

    I’ve had opinions from beta readers at critique groups and others as mentioned in my post last month, and I’ve learned the importance of being respectful and accepting of their feedback and various opinions. These are some good points, Lorraine. Good luck!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. If you can get help from family and friends, I think that’s a good idea. But not everyone has family/friends that are a) readers, b) like to read what we write c) supportive, unfortunately..

      Most of mine fall in the b and c category so I would not approach them to be beta readers.

      Being respectful is a good point, I’ve seen so many writers lash out at their betas / reviewers etc that it gives writers a bad name and then some people stop beta reading/reviewing.

      A thick skin and a respectful nature are definitely needed 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Great article, I love the line “learn to love negative feedback” it reminds me of a quote I saw from someone who worked with students in a design class – (can’t remember it exactly but it was) the kids that did the best, went the furthest were the ones who asked for critique, learned from criticism of their work and moved forward.

    PS: Thanks for letting me be your Beta reader, I can’t wait to get my own manuscript sorted for you to read it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, this was something that daunted me to no end! I actually have found that the best way to find beta readers is to join writing communities, make friends, and of course critique other writers works. It might take some time to find a place you fit in, or a little work to fit in there, but I firmly believe it will really set you up for a successful future. Not only will you find people who are willing to be brutally honest about your work, and teach you new things, but you’ll also be able to improve your work by critiquing other writers works and learning from their successes/mistakes. I seriously can’t tell you how much this has improved my own writing! As a bonus you make a lot of awesome friends.

    So find a website that interests you, and chances are, there’s a writing community there already. Here are a few links, but I seriously encourage writers to explore, esp. in places dedicated to other passions they might have.,60.0.html (This is actually a site for kindle, but it has a big self-publishing community with lots of valuable information. Got this link from another writer friend) (this is a super popular site for writers)

    Hope this helps someone!


    PS. Thanks for the follow : D

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I agree with Meno. Beta readers from writing communities can definitely help, especially if friends and family aren’t readers or you’ve taken that step and still feel like you need more feedback. (Or if your family just doesn’t read the genre you write.)

    One resource you might be interested in is the Writers Club. Among its many perks, it offers to help its members find beta readers and can be a great way to connect with professionals in the writing field.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I know friends and family will most often tell me what they think I want to hear. I ask for candid feedback but most of the time they are reading from a readers perspective, not with the critical eye of an agent, editor or publisher. My most constructive critiques of work in progress come from my colleagues in my writing group. Once I have a complete first draft I’d love to find a beta panel. You make an excellent point about giving your beta readers direction on what to look for.

    Liked by 2 people

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