We’re continuing with our beta reader series and today we’re focusing on beta reader recruitment. I’ve seen countless people ask how to find beta readers, and I’m here to lay it all out for you.
Paid vs Volunteer Beta Readers
First off, there are two types of beta readers – paid and volunteer. I have worked with both, but heavily lean toward volunteer beta readers. There is no right or wrong option, it’s simply a matter of preference and opportunity.
Most beta readers out there are volunteers, however, if you are struggling to build your team, you don’t want to put in the time to search, or there’s some other barrier to you finding volunteers, you could look into paid beta readers. The one occasion that I worked with a paid beta reader, I found them on Fiverr. They did an excellent job and provided useful feedback, but my preference going forward was building my team of volunteers. The quality of paid beta readers is obviously going to vary person to person, just like with anything else, but if someone is offering paid beta readership it’s likely they have at least some experience with the process and may be more helpful to newbies who are also learning how everything works. That being said, please do your research. I do not advocate for one version over another.
If you’re looking to build your team of volunteer beta readers, the simplest way to start is to ask. Take to social media and put up posts requesting betas.
Valuable information to include in your recruitment is:
What genre and sub-genre is the story?
Who is your target audience? If you’re writing spicy books you want to be clear that you are only looking for readers that are 18+.
How long is the story and what is your deadline? Providing a word count and timeline of completion will let people decide if that’s something they can take on. After all, 50k in a month is pretty doable, but 50k in a week is going to shrink your pool of potential readers by quite a lot.
Be sure to also tell them what the story is about? Tell them about fun tropes, the gist of the main plot, and relevant content warnings so people can decide if the story is something they’ll enjoy.
If you have unrealistic timelines or fail to provide relevant information then the chances of a beta reader ghosting you is significantly higher.
Please be aware that making a recruitment post is likely to mean that the pay-to-read people and the beta exchange people will find you. The pay-to-read betas that approach you are not necessarily of the same calibre as those who offer beta reading as a service, so again, please do you research into anyone you’re giving money to. While beta exchanges (ie. I’ll read your manuscript if you read mine) aren’t inherently bad, you have to be mindful of your time. If you take on reading a dozen manuscripts just to get beta readers then you’re not going to have much time to write.
But, what if you’re not comfortable making a public request? How can you still find beta readers?
Writer friends are a skilled option, but do keep in mind that their schedules are likely to be pretty packed with their own book work. It’s totally okay to ask, but they shouldn’t be your only source of readers.
Some people use friends (non-writer ones) and family (I don’t recommend this and neither do most of the people I’ve conferred with in the past), but you definitely want to get the opinions of people who read your genre and strangers are more likely to be honest since they’re less worried about maintaining a relationship with you.
You can also ask writer friends if they have any beta readers they’d recommend. If you’re a newbie that doesn’t have a writing community yet it can be a frustrating experience. Find useful hashtags and look for opportunities to build your community. Join discord servers and facebook groups relevant to what you write and read. Make friends and communities will open up to you.
How do you keep good beta readers that you find?
If you provide a positive beta reading experience then people are much more likely to stay on board and be willing to read future projects for you. This is how you build up your team. Take note of the betas who read in a timely manner and provide constructive feedback, and when the process is complete, ask them if they’re interested in working with you again on other stories.
Some beta readers will want to, and some won’t. It might depend on timing, on the topics and tropes in future stories, or any number of things. Plus, even if you already have a dedicated team of beta readers it’s a good idea to add fresh eyes once in a while. Just because you have willing readers on board doesn’t mean their schedules will align with a project, so you’re likely to have to add to the ranks on occasion.
That’s all for now. You can find all of my books and platforms in below. If you have questions or suggestions for future episodes, please do let me know. Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you soon for another episode!
First Heat Series – m/f, 3rd person POV
First Heat: https://books2read.com/FirstHeat
First Heat: Second Chances: https://books2read.com/FHSC
First Heat: Tying The Knot: https://books2read.com/FirstHeatTTK
Heat Play Love – m/m/m, 3rd person POV https://books2read.com/HeatPlayLove
Conference Confidential – m/f, 3rd person POV https://books2read.com/ConferenceConfidential
2021 Omegaverse Collection – contains First Heat, First Heat: Second Chances, Heat Play Love, Conference Confidential, and 2 bonus shorts https://books2read.com/OV2021
Nicky and the Night Owls: Part One – polyamorous (m/f/nb/f/nb/m), multi 1st person POV https://books2read.com/NickyNightOwls
Nicky and the Night Owls: Part Two – polyamorous (m/f/nb/f/nb/m), multi 1st person POV – currently on preorder https://books2read.com/NickyNightOwls2
Knotty or Nice Christmas Anthology – (my story is based on Nicky and the Pack) – currently on preorder https://books2read.com/knotty-or-nice
Salacious Salvation – m/f, 3rd person POV https://books2read.com/SalaciousSalvation
Playtime with Professor – m/f, 3rd person POV https://books2read.com/PlaytimeWithProfessor
PARANORMAL Into The Depths – f/nb, 3rd person POV https://books2read.com/intothedepths
SIERRA’S SOCIAL MEDIA!
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/432541855131522