I’ve been on this journey looking for a beta reading team for my novella with a very specific target audience. Having done this blog for a bit I’ve also noticed a lot of writers have trouble finding a beta reader let alone a team.
The biggest thing I hear though is why can’t I find a good beta reader?
Where to Look
There are sites out there where you can buy a focus group or a team of beta readers.
Sometimes, you can find some great ones for free. But where to find them?
My reader team took a little bit to build. My team:
-People I’ve Beta Read For
-One on Goodreads, One on Twitter
-A couple from critique sites
-Two from the community where my target audience is… in this case some people that would have knowledge about my subject matter: paganism.
-Two family members: one to stroke my bruised ego and one to tell me the truth
There isn’t a magical place where all the betas hangout. (I wish I could be that for the writing community universe!) Mostly, it’s a process and they are discovered all over the place. It won’t happen overnight… unless you are really lucky or have beta-attracting superpowers.
Some of my readers are very reliable. Some aren’t. But they all come from different corners of my internet and personal life.
What To Do
If you are looking for readers online or in real life, the process is very similar.
It’s important to build a relationship. Make sure your reader is interested in what you’re writing. A few of the betas I have, I’ve developed great relationships with and we enjoy each other’s opinions.
Another way to go about it is to do a swap. There are plenty of communities on the internet that are groups of writers looking to swap with each other. Local communities also usually have writing circles which make for great socializing and camaraderie.
It’s important to note, finding all your beta readers in one place isn’t usually easy unless you are willing to pay for the service. Otherwise, you have to get creative in finding them. Personally, I’m glad for the way I’ve done it. I’ve read a lot of interesting and fun works in the process. And met awesome people from the community I’m writing for.
Building A Foundation
Most people are more willing to read your work if they know you. My understanding is most writers aren’t very extroverted. I tend to look at it like I just want to make friends with a bunch of writers going through the same things I am.
It’s great to make friends. The people you choose to read your manuscript will have a lot of bearing on your book. Choosing the right people for the job is extremely important. Taking your time to do so is also very important.
Before swapping manuscripts or sending your work over, I recommend you take the time to talk to the person you’re sending it to first. I’m not saying you can really gauge how helpful or reliable they will be but if you can’t communicate well, it won’t work.