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What is a beta reader?

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Before an author publishes a book, it goes through a rigorous editing & revision process that includes a team of beta readers. What is a beta reader? To first answer that, let me try to explain a touch about the writing process.

Development

When done writing their book and an author has revised and polished it to the best of their abilities on their own, they get outside eyes to make sure the story makes sense. These first people read through the manuscript (the draft of the book) to point out plot holes, make assessments about the pacing of the book (whether it is slow and boring, goes too fast, or seems just right, for instance), and bring attention to any inconsistencies (“His eyes were brown in Chapter 1, but blue in Chapter 6?!”).

These are alpha readers.

For additional developmental help or to forego alpha readers altogether, an author can also use the services of a professional editor at this point in the writing process.

After developmental feedback, the author will revise the manuscript, considering all relevant suggestions. It's the author's work, so it is up to them to choose which advice to take and which to ignore (if any).

Proofreading.

Once there are (hopefully!) no developmental issues left in a manuscript, an author needs extra eyes again. This time, it is for a last “polish” of the book. Here is where beta readers come in.

What is a beta reader?

what is a beta reader, reta jayne

Beta readers go through the manuscript and point out any punctuation or clarity issues, typos found, or developmental holes that were missed in the earlier stages. Authors might also ask beta readers for social proof (feelings about different scenes, reviews written, etc.), but a separate group can also sometimes provide that kind of feedback.

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Social Proof.

Social proof is when a group of people validates a work in a way that makes it enticing to other people. This is when an author activates a street team.

A street team reads a finished book and gives feedback about how it made them feel. The author asks their street team to write and publish reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, & other sites based on how they enjoyed the book.

The street team can also promote the book on social media, particularly on the day the book launches.

Combining beta readers and street team.

Many authors choose to combine beta readers and street team by asking beta readers to fill out a quick questionnaire designed to give feedback about typos and clarity in the manuscript. The questionnaire's purpose is to make feedback easier to give so that beta readers can spend a little time also writing a review for the book (on Amazon & Goodreads &/or wherever else directed by the author) on or around the book's launch date.

Reta Jayne's writing process currently combines beta readers and street team as described above.

Her goal is to make it as easy as possible to give last-minute feedback and publish reviews as social proof.

Reta Jayne's beta readers get a digital copy of her book (in an ePub or .mobi file compatible with e-readers or an app). In exchange, those beta readers agree to:

  • Keep Reta Jayne's work confidential,
  • Read the book within two to four weeks of receipt,
  • Fill out a provided questionnaire, &
  • Write and publish at least one review online (in a provided location).
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To be considered as a beta reader for Reta Jayne's next book, click here or simply sign up below.

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