What’s a Beta reader?

It’s someone who reads a draft of a book and gives constructive feedback to the writer.

There are no qualifications except you must be able to read.

They never get paid. The task is its own reward. Hopefully.

What sort of feedback should they give?
  1. Did you like the book?
  2. What did you like most about it?
  3. Was there anything you didn’t like?

Try to say something about:

  1. the story
  2. the characters
  3. the language
  4. the descriptions
How should you reply?

You can use e-mail, comments on this blog, the contact form on my website or even the Royal Mail. Write to:

Geoffrey Monmouth, Warrington Business Centre, 67 Bewsey Street, Warrington, Cheshire WA2 7JQ

A quill pen. Beta readers can reply by any means they like.

A quill pen. Beta readers can reply by any means they like.

What should they not comment on?

They are not editors. They shouldn’t waste time on grammar, punctuation, layout or other details. It’s the big story that counts. Don’t try to be an expert. Think like an ordinary person reading a book. Professional editors may be used later, when the overall story has been sorted out.

Why are they called Beta readers?

Beta is the second letter of the Greek alphabet. That’s about as much Greek as I know. I don’t know why they call them Beta readers. If you know, feel free to tell me.