When working with beta readers, it’s important to set expectations with them or the feedback you get may not be helpful. To guide this effort, ask the same beta reader questions of each person.
Three Key Beta Reader Questions
1. What parts did you like? Your first question will let you know what parts not to change. This is key.
2. What parts confused you? Identifying confusing parts is also important. If even one beta-reader is confused, many more readers will be confused later.
3. What parts bored you? The third question is also insightful. Boring parts will cause readers to stop reading. You might never get them back. Be sure to fix all the boring sections. This may require rewriting, replacing, or deleting them.
If your beta readers answer these three questions, they’ll give you a lot of valuable information.
Beta Reader Strategies
There’s one other item about beta readers.
Some writers send their work to several beta readers at once, while others send it out sequentially, applying feedback from the first reader before sending it to the second one.
The first approach is faster. The second approach will help you craft a better book.
(Check out “7 Things to Look for in a Beta Reader.”)
Discern Beta Reader Feedback
In all this, the important thing is to get feedback. Then discern what feedback to follow and what to disregard. Don’t do everything your beta readers suggest but only what makes sense to you.
Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!