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 It is not the job of a Beta Reader to pass judgement on whether the manuscript should or should not be published.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.