Beta readers are an invaluable resource to indie authors. As our Laurie Boris writes, “This is someone who very nicely agrees to read your manuscript and to give you feedback so you can make improvements before you unleash your work into the hostile murky depths of cyberspace.”
Using beta readers before your manuscript goes to an editor can reduce the amount of editing needed, thereby reducing an author’s editing costs. Want to learn more about beta readers? Check out these articles before venturing out into beta reader country.
The Difference Between Alpha, Beta, and ARC Readers
The Basics of Beta Readers
Getting the Most from Beta Readers
Open Letter to Beta Readers
Six Ways to Drive Beta Readers Crazy
Finding Beta Readers
A Fresh Set of Eyes
Here is a list of sites where authors can find beta readers. This list is provided as a convenience to our readers, and Indies Unlimited has not vetted and does not endorse any specific site. Make certain to read each site’s submissions requirements before eagerly barreling into them. And remember, beta readers should do what they do for FREE. Feel free to gift them a print copy or eBook, but you should never be required to pay them. There are services which do charge for beta reading, but that is not the norm.
Goodreads Beta Reader Group
Goodreads Beta / Proof Readers Group
Goldenlake Beta Reader Directory
Beta Fish Tank
DeviantArt Beta Readers
AbsoluteWrite Beta Readers
Yeah Write Workshoppers
Beta Readers – Facebook group
Creepy Pasta Beta Readers
Beta Readers and critique partners – Facebook group
10 Minute Novelists Group – Facebook group
Find Beta Readers
Beta Readers & Critiques– Facebook group
Free beta readers, free critiques, and paid editors– Facebook group
BetaReader Connect– Facebook group
Beta Readers Association – Facebook group
Fantasy ARC and Beta Readers -Facebook group
Indies Unlimited is pleased to provide this Beta Reader information for the convenience of our readers. We do not, however, endorse these sites. Authors should always research a site prior to providing any of their work.
20 thoughts on “Author Resource: Beta Readers”
This is such a great resource. I have never had a beta reader. I mean, a real beta reader. Wish I knew about these sites earlier. Could have saved me a lot of uninvited typos.
Thanks! Will hold onto this page! Wow. 🙂
You are very welcome, m’dear. Thanks for the compliments. 🙂
A beta reader should do more than spot typos, Brenda. That’s an editor’s job. And the author should do all he can to minimise them anyway. Two good ways are: 1.to read your book on an eReader – you’ll spot problems more than you would reading hard copy; and 2, read each sentence separately starting from the end of each chapter. That way you don’t get caught up in the story, the text of which you probably have indelibly printed in your head. I find that this method makes you clinically examine sentence by sentence, It does take some getting used to as it forces you to stand back from your own writing.
Getting a good beta reader is difficult. I write non-fiction: Thai lifestyle and culture. Beta readers need to understand a genre of course but many can’t change their western mindset to appreciate an eastern culture. I now have what I refer to as my “focus group”. Thais who can constructively criticise my writings. It’s more like a debating society on a cultural Thai topic.
We’ve got some great self-editing tips in this article: https://indiesunlimited.com/2012/06/08/eds-casual-friday-do-not-self-edit-but-when-you-do/
I’ll certainly read that. Thanks for the link. What’s your view on my experience of editing and use of focus groups.
Everyone has to do what works for them. Everyone has a different process. Have you taken the process survey? https://indiesunlimited.com/2015/01/23/whats-your-book-production-process-and-how-is-it-working/
Good article. I particularly thought this useful.
6.) When you’re really rolling, slow down. Say you’re reading the part with the big car chase / gunfight / stolen plutonium recovery, and you are just cranking right through, thinking, “Wow, I really wrote this part tight and solid.” You probably didn’t.
My focus group is great for picking up on things like this and they do it in a conversational and debating way. After all we are both trying to understand each other’s cultures. They often throw a different light o a topic; and they benefit by seeing the western point of view.
I’ve had three editors and one beta reader, (coincidentally all American) The beta reader was completely at sea and it was embarrassing discussing some of his comments with my focus group. Two of the editors live in Thailand. One spent most of her time with other westerners and never got to grips with the text but came up with some good general tips and ideas. The other editor was a breath of fresh and understood the concept that peoples have different worldviews.
IU can be a great resource if free debate is allowed and we challenge our preconceived ideas and are willing to learn.
Thanks again for the link..
What is a b eta reader?
Is there a charge?
Can one choose and or find out the background of the reader?
Is the reader published?
Do we read others’ works in exchange?
Do those in proximity meet?
How can one trust a stranger not to use one’s material?
Is thee some form of protection from others using your work as t heir own? Thanks for reply.
Dear Gilda, the first article listed on this page, https://indiesunlimited.com/2012/11/20/the-basics-of-beta-readers/ should answer most of your questions. If you have more, please feel free to shoot us an email. Thanks.
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