Monday, June 11, 2012

The Journey of Self-Publishing #2: Beta Readers

Thoughts At One In The Morning is proud to present a blog post series for unpublished writers on the self-publishing world. I have asked four indie authors to share with you the different steps they have taken on their journey. They will discuss the writing process itself, the steps in between, and publishing itself. Please join us every week for a new topic on the journey to becoming an indie author!

Our Indie Author panel:

Marie Landry, author of Blue Sky Days
You can find her on her blog Ramblings Of A Daydreamer.

A.M. Hargrove, author of The Guardians Of The Vesteron series
You can find her on her blog A.M. Hargrove.

Avery Sawyer, author of Notes To Self
You can find her on her website The Teashop Girls.

Michelle Flick, author of The Owens Legacy: Revelations
You can find her on her blog Oh! For the LOVE of BOOKS!.


This week on The Journey of Self-Publishing:

~Beta Readers~

How do I go about getting beta readers?

A.M. Hargrove: As I mentioned earlier, join Goodreads. There are tons of bloggers there who beta read and you NEED beta readers.

Avery Sawyer: It’s not easy getting beta readers you trust, but it’s important. Take a writing class, attend book clubs and chat people and other writers up. You have to find out if you both have the same tastes and level of seriousness for the craft. You don’t want a beta reader who just says, “it was great!”

Marie Landry: Your first instinct might be to get friends to read it, but I wouldn’t recommend that unless they’re avid readers or writers themselves. Friends want to read it just to read it, and probably won’t have any constructive criticism or useful feedback, which is what you need. If you do have friends who are writers and you know they’d look at it objectively, ask them if they’d be interested. There are also some book bloggers who will beta read, so look around at blogs and check for ads that offer beta reading services.

Michelle Flick: Networking - but often people who are interested in writing are right under your nose - former teachers, teachers, avid readers - nerds secretly disguised as normal people. :)

How many beta readers did you have? Did they help?

A.M. Hargrove: I use 3 to 4 now. I use beta readers that both like and dislike my work. I do this because I need to see the various ideas and critiques. It's amazing how smart and savvy these people are and how much they can help.

Avery Sawyer: I had five. And yes, they helped.

Marie Landry: I had three.They helped immensely. They told me what they liked, what they didn’t like, what they didn’t think really worked, what needed clarification, and what needed expanding or explaining.

Michelle Flick: I had three that read my novel multiple times.

Is there anything you would do differently?

Avery Sawyer: I have one friend who is a particularly awesome editor. I’ll probably just get her feedback next time and rely on the others as “back-up.” In other words, her opinions will get more weight.

Marie Landry: I would have more beta readers. At the time, I didn’t know who else to ask, but now I wish I’d had one or two more people who would have looked at it and told me what they thought.


Thank you for the great advice on beta readers!

Join us next week when our Indie Author panel will discuss in more detail Professional Editors and the importance of getting one for your novel.


  1. It's so difficult to know how many beta readers is too many or too few isn't it? I always make the mistake of putting out a general call (because I can't believe anyone would want to read my book!) and then end up to 10 responses. I've only just realised that many of the opinions will cross over and then when I do my second round of edits, I won't have anyone to look at my book with fresh eyes! Thus, I've had to break my readers down into two lots. Hopefully that works out!

    1. I know, I wasn't even positive exactly how many to use myself. I hope it all works out for you too Lan! With that many readers you're bound to have a very polished manuscript by the time you're done. :D

  2. I was wondering how many beta readers to line up, thankfully I have made a lot of friends over the years who are avid readers and writers who would be willing to help. I like Lan's idea of having first round and second round (and maybe even a third round) of beta readers, maybe have the most reliable or trusted read each time to see if they like the changes being made.

    Gosh it makes everything so much more real when you start thinking about beta readers and professional editors, like maybe this dream will finally be achieved!

    1. It's nice to have friends willing to take a look over your novel. It does make it real, it's kind of freaking me out to think about it all. We'll both be able to achieve it, just you wait! ;)


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