Beta readers are the best!
They are an author’s second readers.
Good writers use beta readers’ opinions to iron out the story’s wrinkles, find out what’s missing and see what the writer doesn’t see. Ideally, a beta reader has some experience in novel writing and can give you educated, thoughtful suggestions as they read along.
You can use beta readers early in your writing journey, say, after the first draft. Or you can wait for several drafts into it and then let trusted people read it. Either way, you may find it helpful to give them specific questions to answer about your manuscript.
1. What were the strengths of the book?
2. Who was your favorite character, why?
3. Did you think that the plot lines were plausible?
4. Did you think anything was missing?
5. Where you ever tempted to put it down and not pick it up? Why or why not?
6. Did you find the setting fully described?
7. Did you find the characters to be distinctive?
8. Did you understand the goals of each of the characters?
9. Did you “see it coming” or were you surprised by the progress of the story?
10. Do you wish that other things had happened to the characters that didn’t?
Once youu get your answers, handle them gracefully. You don’t need to follow every suggestion. Just use them for what they are: another helpful tool in your novel-sculpting.
Where do you find beta readers? The best place is on the 10 Minute Novelists Facebook Group. Every Tuesday is Buddy Day! On that day, we have a special thread just for requesting help. Join us and follow along. Not only would you find a beta reader, you may make a friend!