How to Self-Edit Your Novel: Beta Readers

Updated: Apr 24, 2020

Have you thought about having Beta Readers for your manuscript? I was really happy I had some friends read my book, to give some honest, "average reader" feedback. Today's post will show you how to get the most from your Beta Readers.


As I've mentioned before, I'm not an editor. These tips are gathered from books and tips scattered across the internet. I found them helpful, so I'm sharing them with you!


This is the fourth post in the series!

I have covered a lot of editing tips

in my last three posts:

How to Self-Edit Your Novel: First Draft

How to Self-Edit Your Novel: Characters

How to Self-Edit Your Novel: Style


What is a Beta Reader?


A Beta Reader reads your manuscript before publication and gives feedback. They are generally unpaid, book-loving readers, who have hopefully read other books in the same genre. They can be family, friends, or volunteers from your website mailing list


When and how to use Beta Readers so you're both happy



Have you thought about having Beta Readers for your manuscript? I was really happy I had some friends read my book, to give some honest, "average reader" feedback. Today's post will show you how to get the most from your Beta Readers., with ten questions to ask them! Photo credit to Alexis Brown on Unsplash

As I've mentioned before: Do not edit until you are done your first draft.

Nothing stifles creativity quite as much as self-doubt and nit-picking. Sit down and write your book paragraph by paragraph and don't look back.


The same goes for Beta Readers. Don't let people read your first draft as you go.

When you're done your first draft, take a break, then go back and do your First Draft Edits (See above post for some tips!)


After I had cleaned up the story, I asked for two people (You can ask for more, but probably not more than five people.) to read the book at this point and be my beta readers. It's a little scary to do, because your book will still be pretty rough. I liked getting some input at this time to see how the story was working out.


I find readers are faster reading a hard copy, rather than a digital.


I don't know why, but that was my experience. I printed it off in fast draft to save ink and put it in a binder for them. I did this for them because I want to make the process as pain-free as possible for them. (They are volunteers, after all!)


Remind them that the book is confidential, and not to be shared in part or whole with anyone or anywhere.

Give them questions and things to look for ahead of reading


Allow them to pencil on the manuscript to make it easier on both of you. Ask them to ignore grammar and spelling errors. This isn't the time to fix them.


1. Have them mark the place where they first put the book down. (Check and make sure this wasn't because the reader was feeling bored.)