By now you realize that authors need beta readers. (Beta readers are readers who get a free copy of your completed manuscript book in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review before it’s released to the public.)
If you’re not convinced, feel free to check out these posts:
Belinda Pollard, owner of Write & Publish Like a Pro: “What is a beta reader and why do I need one?”
Mary McKay, guest post writer for The Write Practice ” Why Beta Readers Can Revolutionize Your Writing”
In reviewing these posts, you get the of beta readers. Beta readers help authors get a second opinion about their work.
Beta readers offer more benefits than a second opinion, however. Let’s look into five of those other options.
1. Beta readers can help you land a traditional publishing book deal or a freelancing job
One of the biggest obstacles a prospective author faces with traditional publishers is the proof of concept. Like any other business, publishers want their investment of time and money to pay off. It’s the reason publishers have so many gates to cross to publish a book.
One of the ways you can make it easier for a traditional publisher is to show that your book already has an active and growing fan base. How do you do that? Get beta readers. A couple of authors used this strategy on Wattpad to get a publishing deal. In the same way, you can use feedback from beta readers (reviews, comments, traffic) as part of a proposal for a book deal or a freelancing job in the future.
2. Beta readers help grow your online presence
As an author, building an online presence is crucial to getting more readers. Readers won’t just check out your book. They will check out your website, blog (if you have one), social media, reviews, and whatever else you have online. All this activity forms your author’s brand.
When beta readers post reviews, they are contributing to that brand. Their words influence readers to dig deeper and learn more about your book (or not). If a book has lots of beta readers, it’s a sign that a book of a worthwhile read. The more reviews you have out there, the stronger the message.
3. Beta readers can introduce your book to readers you never thought of
In an era of more books than ever, readers often look for shortcuts and validation. Beta readers provide some of that validation. They also reach customers that are tired of traditional marketing and sales pitches. Beta readers are closer to your readers than you are. They know about communities that you may not the power. They can influence other readers in a way that marketers can’t. Leverage that power by reaching and engaging with bloggers.
4. Beta readers can help you test the market and start your own online launch team
As an author, you might hesitate to release a book or enter a new genre. Instead of diving into a full-time commitment, you can test the waters. Beta readers can help with that too. Their feedback can help you sharpen a book or manuscript before you release it to the public on a larger scale. You can also reconnect with those beta readers when you do launch to help you spread the word. They can be invited to your online book launch team for future marketing. Since they have already invested in your book before, they are more likely to be involved later on.
5. You can create your own focus panel with beta readers
Many authors are content to get a review from beta readers. In some cases, you might be able to get more feedback. Need an example? Goodreads offers a Q and A session where authors discuss book’s content with their readers. You can use this feature in Goodreads, but you can also create your own focus panel using a Facebook group, Google Hangouts, or Wattpad community discussion. Ask questions about your book. Answer questions about your book. Use that feedback to refine your marketing even further.
In summary: Beta readers are awesome
As an author, beta readers can contribute to your author’s brand by
- Providing proof of concept for future projects
- Growing your digital footprint
- Exposing your book to new readers, reading groups, and communities
- Offer marketing feedback now after you launch your book
- Serving as a focus panel
The professionals in the publishing industry use beta readers (officially called reviewers), so why aren’t you?