Where Do You Find Your Beta Readers?

A friend of mine was recently rooting around for beta readers. I’ve been a beta reader for a few friends, and have had friends be my beta readers as well. But it seems as if finding fresh beta reader eyes (in case I haven’t mentioned beta reader often enough in this post) is difficult to do. In part because I want an experienced writer to look over my work. I want someone who can ask the important questions and pull out even the mildest inconsistencies. I don’t want someone to tell me they like it because they’re afraid of hurting my feelings, but I also don’t want someone to rip it to shreds because they want to feel like the Voice of Literature Authority. The beta reader in question must understand the genre in which I write. They must enjoy that genre and read it often. They must be able to have the time to read the entire manuscript over the course of a few weeks.

I’m curious, does anyone else feel this way? Where do you find your beta readers? What do you want from them, and what would you be willing to give back? (A friend once gave me chocolates as a thank you. Very touching.) I’d love to hear everyone’s answers!


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4 responses to “Where Do You Find Your Beta Readers?

  1. Well, Kim, I can truthfully say I feel your pain! I’m not interested in a beta reader as much as I am an educated (in terms of reading, writing, and critiquing) critiquer(s). Plural is better. I think something I’ve been working on–i.e., spilling my blood and guts over–and that will have more than one editor scrutinize it before a publisher accepts it should have more than one really good critiquer. Often, even among a group of excellent writers, different people discover different weaknesses in a work. Using more than one person to go over the ms, I think, covers all the bases, if I may use a cliched metaphor.

    I think the Rochester community has many good writers. Finding the right ones for your personal writing goals and then their availability is quite another thing. Perhaps we (and anyone else interested) could at least sit down and talk about it.

  2. I’ve found some of mine in online communities (absolutewrite was one website, and the kindleboards is another.) Half of my betas are people I’ve never met, but it’s worked out well. Usually, I beta for them in return. I sent chocolate to one gal who’s a reader but not a writer. It is hard to find the right match. Good betas are gold!

  3. K.L. Gore

    Definitely! I recently had a beta reader give me some very good advice. 😉

  4. Pingback: Happy Beta Reader Day and Happy Mother’s Day | J. Keller Ford, Young Adult Author

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