Beta Reader

What is a Beta Reader? This can be confusing to some readers. You aren’t reading a polished manuscript, because, typically, you are reading a manuscript after a second edit, which makes it close to a final manuscript. At the point that an author has done a second edit — or it could be even a third or fourth edit — so they are ready to see what an objective reader will find.

Beta Readers are those objective readers. It is not the job of a Beta Reader to pass judgement on whether the manuscript should or should not be published. It is always my position that any manuscript can be published, it is just a matter of how much work needs to be done. At any rate, Beta Readers are helpful in providing some constructive criticism for their book. I might emphasize that “constructive” part, because the idea of a Beta Reader is to help the author make their manuscript better.

As a Beta Reader, here are the common items that authors need to know:

  • Feedback on the Story/Content.
  • What takes you out of the story/manuscript?
  • What do you want to know more about?
  • What did you find too much of?
  • What's missing?

Beta Readers are not copyeditors, and since the manuscript will be professionally copy edited after all edits are done, you don't have to make notes about typos, punctuation, or grammar.

Book Marketing – of the Virtual Kind!

Book Marketing used to mean packing the car with lots of books and driving all over the country to do book signings and possibly read an excerpt of your book. Now, with fewer brick and mortar book stores, taking your tour online not only makes it more affordable and doable but smarter.

So what does that mean? The virtual book tour is straightforward: you travel to blogs, podcasts, teleseminars, and internet radio stations. All of the voice options are done via conference services that you call into, so you don’t have to even leave your home. On blogs, you will be offering “guest blogs” that must match what the blog is about.

There are many angles that you can take on any topic, so even if the blog has your intended audience but doesn’t match the topic exactly, you can still get in front of your audience. Simply, write a guest blog to fit the blog you’ve chosen and have gotten permission to appear as a guest. The promotion of your book will be in your bio on all the blogs for which you guest blog. Guest blogging is just as much about getting your name out as much as promoting your book.

The bio (biography) should be short 100-125 words and include at most two links (one to your website and the other to the book). Don’t be afraid to write on your topic and post articles on article sites, such as Be sure to add you bio with your link(s)!

The hardest part of the virtual tour is researching places to guest blog or get interviewed. Don’t underestimate the interviewing, because it is not a lot of work on your part. You need a bio, so you’ve already got that done. Make sure you have a good headshot, preferably a professional one. The last piece is to write 10-12 questions that you want someone to ask you about the topic of your book. You may have to write up slightly different questions for some interviews, depending on the type of podcast, teleseminar or internet radio show for which you are being interviewed. For example, I ran a teleseminar series last year where I interviewed authors on their author journey, which included their recent book promotion. I currently am starting a podcast that will be all about writing and will include author journey interviews.