Some Thoughts On Beta-Readers

Every indie writer needs a good set of beta readers.  However, the choosing of beta readers is a task not to be taken lightly, and it is the writer’s responsibility to help the beta readers do their job efficiently.

I’ve chosen beta readers in the past who have been excellent at their job, and some of them unfortunately have not given the proper feedback to help me write a better novel.  I do not blame these beta readers for not providing the critique I needed, as I didn’t really give them the tools they needed to be successful beta readers.

The most important thing you can do when selecting beta readers is that you should select people who read often, who read the genre of fiction you are writing, and who are generally good communicators at least in writing.  You should also either pay them or reward them somehow for helping you make your book a success.

My beta readers are awesome, but I’ve spent much time selecting them and they are people I trust to be honest about my work.  From now on, however, I am going to follow through with the second step below.

Give your beta readers some guidelines to go by.  Below I have provided a couple of pictures of beta reading guidelines that help anyone become a good beta reader.  They are not mine.  I didn’t create them, but they are excellent starting points for your beta readers to get their footing.  Your beta readers might be avid readers, and love your genre, but they may not know what to articulate about your novel to make it better.

These will do the job:


Courtesy Jami Gold @

Published by Roger Colby, Novelist, Editor

Roger Colby is a novelist and teacher who has taught English for nearly two decades. He is also an avid reader of science fiction who feels, like many other sci-fi readers, that he has read everything. He writes science fiction for the reader who is looking for the next best thing, something to excite them into reading again. This blog is his journey as a writer and his musings about writing. He also edits manuscripts for a fee and is an expert at helping you reach your full potential as a writer.

5 thoughts on “Some Thoughts On Beta-Readers

  1. This is when you know you’re into serious beta reading. Not just “can you read this work for me,” but “Here’s a long questionnaire that will help me identify what works and what doesn’t.” I suppose that this will mean you need to consider your betas carefully, as someone who’d be willing to do that second list there, rather than the “Wow mom wow” commenters with zero feedback, good or bad.

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