Beta Reader Program



What Are Beta Readers?

Beta readers are authors’ darlings: regular people who offer to read an unpublished manuscript and provide honest feedback. They don’t have to be pros, writers, teachers, students, or, God forbid, grammarians. They just have to want to read that particular book for fun.

Our Beta Readers

The 500+ volunteers in our beta reader program are unpaid, untrained, and come with no guarantees. They may or may not finish your book. They may or may not meet their deadline. They may or may not fill out our questionnaire, or fill it out completely.

Sounds like a great investment, doesn’t it?

It is. Because knowing whether someone DOESN’T finish your book is at least as valuable as getting their review after they’ve finished it. These are readers who were drawn to your book by everything a book buyer would see: your title, your tagline, your book description, your bio. They’re the browsers who might pick it up off the shelf, buy it online, or borrow it from the library. Don’t you want to see their reviews before the book is published? After all, Amazon is forever.

Beta readers can provide a gut check, a yes or no answer to the question of whether this draft is ready for publication or submission to agents. If your betas tell you your book is amazing, then go forth and seek publication. If you hear from your betas that no, this draft is not ready for publication, you’ll want to figure out what to do with the feedback they’ve given to you.

Although betas are good at letting you know something’s not quite working, they’re less helpful when it comes to figuring out how to fix it. Luckily, that’s our area of expertise. We’ll help you interpret their critique and decide how to move forward. We’ll make recommendations for development and point you toward our favorite resources for your particular needs.

How Our Beta Reader Program Works

When you sign up for our beta program, we’ll help you write a brief description of your book, customize our questionnaire for your readers, and set a deadline for them. We’ll send your book description to the 500+ readers who have opted in to our designated mailing list. When requests come in for your book, we’ll send it to all takers in digital format. We’ll stay in touch with your readers over the next few weeks as their deadline approaches. If a reader gets stuck or doesn’t finish the book, we’ll try to find out where they put the book down — and why. We’ll get as many responses to your customized questionnaire as we can, compile them for you in a report, and invite you to a strategy session to interpret the results. After your strategy session, we’ll send you our recommendations for development so you’ll have a plan for your next steps with this project.

The whole thing takes about five weeks from start to finish. Why not start today?

  • Initial consultation to discuss your goals and process for this book
  • Submission of your book description to our list of 500+ volunteer readers
  • Engagement with your readers throughout the reading period
  • A compilation of your beta readers’ feedback in a written report
  • 30-minute strategy session to discuss your next steps

Read More about Beta Readers

On this site: Wild Beta Readers by the Numbers
From Author Magazine: To Beta or Not to Beta?
From Carolyn Haley at American Editor: The Value (or Not) of Beta Readers
From Paula Munier at Career Authors: The Pros and Cons of Beta Readers