Beta readers are an important link into the process of writing, editing and publishing your book. Knowing where to find beta readers isn’t always as straight forward and easy as you may think. Not everyone is fit to be the beta reader of your book and not everyone will be as invested in reading your book as you would like. Then there’s the fact that you should play on numbers : for every 5 beta readers you send your book, only 2 will come back with feedback (3 if you are lucky). So where do you find beta readers and especially : good beta readers? Let me give you a small overview.
Friends and Family
Although a lot of people warn yo against letting your manuscript being read by friends or family, it’s not always as bad as you think. Yes, some friends and family will nevertheless say “it is their favourite book ever” although it is the biggest pile of horse shit you have put down in words in some time. It is very important to choose the family and friends you want to beta read your book, well. When I look to my circle of friends, I know who will be critical and who will try to spare my feelings. Go for the critical person because no writer has ever became a bestseller through people “wanting to spare his or her feelings”.
That being said : try to send out a call for beta readers in your newsletter. Most people that subscribed to your newsletter are interested in your books. They will be very happy to do a beta reading of your book.
There are a lot of groups on Facebook that help ans support writers, give them tips and tricks to write and publish their novel. I love these groups since they are a great source for inspiration and support. Whenever you are part of one of these groups, you can always post a call for beta readers. Be careful though : you want people that you can trust, people that are into your genre and people that you know will follow through. I once gave my manuscript ( of a now stalled manuscript) to a couple of beta readers. My manuscript was young adult / chicklit and my beta readers came from a completely different background. Although some of them followed through and although they made some good points, most of the information they gave me was useless. Be sure to send out your manuscript to the right beta readers and be sure to give them a list of 10 questions to fill in so you can maximize on their efforts.
Another awesome place to find beta readers is Goodreads. When you look up where to find beta readers, Goodreads is the first place that pops up. For people that do not know the website : Goodreads is a social platform for writers and readers. People track the books and pages they read, they can connect with authors and friends, they make book collections and get recommendations via these lists… it’s book heaven in a website.
On Goodreads you can also make groups. There is one group with no less than 8000 members, filled with people that all want to be beta readers. Here again : watch out that you don’t send your book to people with the wrong background because it will waste both of your time.
Local Writer’s groups
I don’t know how deep you are involved into local writers groups, but they can help you a lot when it comes to beta readers. Not only can they recommend their own beta readers to you, they can also BE your beta reader. Yes, authors are often very hard on other authors, but that is what you need. If you don’t know if there’s a local writer’s or author’s group near you ( there most definitely will be ), google will be your friend. If you google “writer’s group mycity” there will be quite some hits coming up. Aren’t you finding anything in your area? Try to use the website meetup. Meetup is a website for groups to meet up ( for instance, literary club, boardgame groups and writer’s groups etc ) in your area.