Novel Marketing

Novel Marketing

180 How to Find and Work with Beta Readers

March 11, 2019

In this episode we’re going to talk how to find and use Beta readers to massively improve your book.


Beta readers are SO important! But most authors I talk to don’t use them. Why?

So let’s dive into finding them, and maximizing their power.

What is a Beta Reader?

* Term comes from the software development world. A beta tester is someone who uses an unfinished version of a program to find the bugs.* We had a beta period for MyBookTable where we got lots of feedback on how to make the plugin better. * They give you feedback on your story … early!

Why Beta Readers?

* Fresh eyes, you’re not objective. Neither are most spouses.* Beta readers help you see your story from another set of eyeballs.* Test audiences for films. Pretty Woman

Not all BRs are created equal.

Determine Your Perfect Beta Reader/Develop a Profile

* Age?* Gender?* Why do they read? (Why do you write? We’ve talked about this.)* What type of stories do they gravitate toward in books, movies, TV shows?* Do they like giving reviews on Amazon, Rotten Tomatoes, etc? Are they someone who can easily express how they felt about a book or show?* Fans of your genre

Finding & Choosing Beta Readers

* Facebook, Twitter, your email list. LinkedIn.* Be careful, you might end up saying no to a lot of folks.* Go to the social media sites where they hang out.* Ask your super fans.* Goodreads  * Sometimes friends and family are great, sometimes people who aren’t emotionally invested in you are better.* Kickstarter backers! People who pay extra for early access can be great beta readers. * Can they be honest?* If they’re not a friend, and a writer, offer to swap reads* Be careful using other writers though …* Start following people you think fit your profile. Set up at least 25, then cull them down to your top 15. * Pick people who read in your genre.* Pick people who DON’T read in your genre.* Google Docs or Word?

How Many?

* It depends. Somewhere between three and thirty* 5 Alphas * 30 Betas * Why? Some won’t finish. A larger sample size.* Jim’s Alpha readers* Reminder, They’re Not Editors


The Tax and Business Guide for Authors

In this course you will learn how to qualify for tax deductions for your writing-related expenses (not all writers qualify) and about 19 tax deductions authors can take advantage of.  Our very own Thomas and his dad Tom Umstattd a CPA who has over 35 years of experience working with authors.

Learn more at

Patrons save 50%!

Once You Have Them

* What do you want them to do?* Theme? Pacing? Character feedback? Story arc? * Continuity (especially for epic fantasy) * Let them choose.* Also …* Develop a simple one sheet where you ask them specific questions. * How many pages did you read in your first sitting?* Give them a deadline.* Whatever They Say, Accept it Graciously, and DON’T ARGUE!* If three or more say the same things … listen!* But don’t listen to everything, in the end it’s YOUR book.* Thick skin time. They’re there to help.* You don’t have to use them again, but don’t risk losing a potential friend.