Yesterday at a Twitter chat, I mentioned that I had some great beta readers that I could trust, and another poster said that he wished he had some trustworthy beta readers as well. I realized that I’m pretty lucky to have a group of book nerds as personal friends, and that many people may not be able to say the same. Beta readers are essential for any writer who wants to get some feedback for their work before they send it out to agents or editors. And that feedback can be invaluable because when you’re creating a piece it’s really difficult to take a step back and see all its flaws and goodness. If you can’t see those, rewriting and editing is rough. So if you’re not lucky enough to have friends who gather around their computer screens awaiting the announcement of book awards, what do you do?
1. Join a writing group.
Some writers love writing groups. They swear by them and wouldn’t know what to do without their group. I am not one of those writers. Mainly it’s because I worry that if I don’t like someone’s writing I won’t be able to contribute without either lying or hurting their feelings. But don’t go by me. I’m weird.
2. Befriend your local librarian.
It’s no shocker that librarians love books. They also love talking about books. And they like people who write books. So they’re your go-to people for beta readers if you make them your buddies. I practically live at my local library and the librarians are always happy to give my work a read.
3. Corral your online peeps.
You meet in the same Twitter chats and review similar books at Goodreads. You like the same Facebook book/author/publisher pages and get excited about new releases. So next time you go to a writing conference, or other book-ish gathering, let your online peeps know so that you can hook up. If your personalities are a match, they may be your next source for beta reading.
See? You’ll have trustworthy beta readers in no time.