Beta Readers

Beta Readers

How to pick and get beta readers!

Welcome to my chaotic blog <3

I have received lots of questions on my process I had for beta readers and what I did, etc! Here is what I did, and what I wish I did!

Where to find beta readers: 

I found all of my beta readers through TikTok and Instagram. 

  1. When I had beta readers help go over my unpublished book, “Beyond the Crystal Veil”, I had less than 500 followers on TikTok, and posted a few videos looking for beta readers. I did 2 groups of beta readers with those that signed up. I think I had about 100 applicants? It may have even been less. However, out of the few that I selected, I ended up hiring one of them to be my developmental editor for my book Scalebound!!! (Because she found all of the plotholes and helped with my character development SO MUCH). 

  1. When it came to my book, “Scalebound”, I found all of my beta readers through Instagram! I just created a couple of reels and got a lot of signups from random viewers and my followers of those reels! 

  1. On my facebook group, “WRITERS QUEUE”, there have been other writers who have posted needing to find beta readers and have found help from other writers in this group as well. This is always an option! You are welcome to join this group and post that you’re looking for beta readers. Here is the link to that facebook group:

  1. There are also MANY other facebook groups out there with loads of writers and readers that would also LOVE beta reading your book! You could always try inquiring on those and see where it gets you as well. 

  1. I also had my mother and sister help with the early stages of my book as well! However, if you choose to go this route, make sure that your friends and family that you ask are actual fans of the genre that you have written. 

What to have in your application:

Please note that this is what I had in my signup form and what I did! Do whatever feels best for you and your manuscript to include. 

First of all, I used Google forms to receive everyone’s applications. I put this link in my bio and used the app “MILKSHAKE” to host all of my links. I know there are other apps such as Linktree as well! 

What I had on my application: 

  • My book description, tropes, themes, age rating, trigger warnings, and anything else I wanted them to know about my book! 
  • I asked them how long it would take to read my book as well as my expectation with the timeline
  • I asked if they would be able to follow with my expectations for writing notes and for the beta reading of my book (If they would be able to read my document through google docs and leave notes through it)
  • I asked if they would be willing to sign a non-disclosure
  • I asked why they think they would be a good fit for my book 
  • To write a list of other books similar to mine that they enjoyed
  • If they have beta reading experience 
  • I created a list of options for them to click which draft they would be the most comfortable beta reading. These were the options for them to select: 
    • First Draft! I don't care for the grammar or spelling errors! I just want to help get the idea started and out on paper!
    • Second or Third Draft! I dont mind a few grammar or spelling errors or plotholes/character devel issues! I would love to help with the getting started process!
    • Fourth or fifth draft! I would prefer that the story is written and completed, but I dont mind a few grammar or spelling errors, or helping with last minute plot and character developemnt.
    • sixth or seventh draft! I would prefer that the book is completed to the best of your abilities and then I can help from there.
  • I also had a section for them to leave more information about them so that I could get to know them better!

How I personally selected my beta readers: 

Like all of my other advice- this is just what I did- so do what works best for you!! 

  1. Depending on the round that I was selecting from, I chose based on how quickly they would be able to read my book. There were many that mentioned that they would read 3+ books a week and when I was getting closer to reaching my timeline of getting my book to my editor it was nice to have those that were able to read Scalebound quick. 
  2. I always looked for what the applicants put in the section that I asked why they think that they would be a good fit. I was looking for applicants that talked about my book with information that showed that they were interested in what my book had to offer. At the point I accepted beta readers I had posted my first chapter up. Many of the beta readers I selected used my book title in this paragraph that they wrote as well as WHY they thought they would connect with my main character or my book based on the description and the first chapter that they read. To me this showed that they were actually interested in my book and that they were more likely to finish my book as well. 

How long I gave my beta readers: 

I experimented with this a little bit. For my book, “Beyond the Crystal Veil”, I gave my beta readers a month and I didn’t get a lot from this. I didn’t get feedback until the last few days, and only 2-3 people finished the book. I then tried 2 weeks and didn’t see results either. Then after writing Scalebound I tried 3 weeks. This seemed to be the happy medium as I saw better results with 3 weeks. At the end of my rounds I did 2 weeks, but I asked them before I sent the manuscript to make sure that they were still able to read it within this timeline. Then those that responded I sent them the manuscript. 


Not everyone uses non-disclosures and this is totally up to you. I personally wanted to use Non-disclosures because 1. It was another step to weed out those who were actually serious with beta reading my book and 2. I just wanted extra protection on my work for a few reasons. 

I created mine by looking up templates online. 

I wanted my non-disclosure to include that I wasn’t offering any source of payment/compensation for reading my book, that they weren’t allowed to share the contents in my book with others, etc!

When I selected beta readers: 

I did my signups about a month and a half before I actually needed beta readers. I then had about 20 beta readers per round. I personally thought that 20 was a good amount for me as only around 12-15 actually signed the Non-disclosure and then only 7-10 started reading with only 3-5 finishing and giving good critical feedback. 

My second and third round I did closer to 30-40 beta readers per round, and it felt WAYYY too overwhelming. I was getting very very conflicting feedback from everyone and I personally was overwhelmed. This is why I thought 20 was the perfect amount per round and then to only do 2 rounds. Maybe a third round if I really need it (At least this is my plan for future books now). 

When I selected beta readers I sent out an email. The first email said the following with the NDA attached with their name and date. 

Here is what it is broken down:

  • Expectations for the beta read
  • When I needed their NDA signed by 
  • When they would need to finish the document by 
  • And the link to the questionnaire 



Hello!!! You have been selected to be a part of the third beta reader group for SCALEBOUND! You have been selected for the individual beta read, where you will receive your own document to make notes on! Please read through the steps to receive my manuscript and the expectations below!

Please do the following steps before 03/18/24 to be a part of this beta group! If it is sent afterwards I cannot guarantee a spot on the beta group.

Here are the steps to continue with this beta read!

  • Send me your Instagram username!! I should’ve included this on the form! But I will add you to a spoiler free group of the other members for the first beta reader group where you can gather together to share excitement and ideas! I will also add you to a beta reader private story! If you would like to participate in these activities no problem! Please let me know! Or if you ever would like to leave at any point you are very welcome to leave the chats! No hard feelings!
  • Download the following NDA and upload it back and send it to me! You can print it, sign it, then send a photo of it to me, or you can sign it on your phone and send it back to me. Whatever works best for you! Here is a reminder of what the NDA includes:
  • That you can not distribute or share any parts of my work (without permission)
  • That you cannot talk about the ideas from my book on social media (anything I have put on social media already is okay to talk about with others!)
  • That I will have the rights to any comments or suggestions that you have!! (Stating I can legally use them for my book without having to give you credit)
  • Dont take my work for your own! Etc…
  • Once the NDA is signed, send it back to me, and then I will share your copy of the manuscript to your email address through Google Docs! You will have commenting access, and I would love to hear all of the comments!! You will also have until 04/04/2024 to read through it and to fill out the questionnaire link I will provide on this email thread!! While reading my book if you ever get to the point where you are either unable to continue reading as a beta reader because of being busy, or not connecting with the content let me know ASAP so that I can find other beta readers who will be able to provide the comments and feedback that I am looking for!! Absolutely no hard feelings!! I understand that reading is very subjective and I am very aware that my book is not for everyone!
  • My expectations:

  • I am not looking necessarily for help with grammar or spelling. (If a sentence doesn’t make sense I would like help with it), but I will be having an editor go through specifically looking for these mistakes, so I would love your help with the plotline, character development, plot development, world building, plot holes, etc!!!
  • I LOVE critical feedback!!! However, I don’t want feedback where you say, “You need to fix this.” Instead, please give reasoning on why I should fix it and an example or idea of what I should fix it to! Example, “This doesn’t make sense. Maybe consider changing this sentence to this……”
  • The biggest thing that I will get out of this beta read will come from the answers you provide in this questionnaire (linked in this email). I may add or change questions throughout the process as well, but this is where you can help me clarify certain areas of my book that I could strengthen or change as a whole!
  • Thank you sooooo much for your support and feedback!!!! I know how valuable your comments are going to be and Im so excited (and nervous) to get my book out there!!! I love you!!! Thank you!!!!

    Here is the link to the questionnaire: xxx




    When the beta reader signed the NDA:

    After the reader signed the non-disclosure, I would then share their email to their own document. When I shared it with them I would send an email welcoming them and then added a link to where they could also view the document just in case they didn’t see it when I shared it with them. However, when I add them I add them as a “commenter” and not an “editor”. This is personal preference. I also changed the settings on the document so that they weren’t able to download the document or share it with others. This was also personal preference and made me feel secure that they weren’t sending it to others or keeping any copies of it in any form. 

    When the beta reader finished: 

    I had already shared the completed questionnaire with them in their welcome email, however, I had them fill out the form when they completed my book. 

    This form had sections for them to write: 

    -First and last name and email (I forgot to do this at first and had no idea whose comments were whose!)

    -Any plotholes they found

    -Any inconsistencies with character development as well as how I could fix these 

    -Their favorite and least favorite chapter and why 

    -Their top 3 favorite parts as well as their top 3 least favorite parts

    -Anything else they would like to share

    -Their thoughts on the plot and how it could run smoother 

    -Their thoughts on the romance and how it could run smoother 

    -If I was allowed to post their review on my website & social media 

    -Any last thoughts or suggestions that they had 

    I had my beta readers that finished my book, “Scalebound”, also write their review with a rating. I personally don’t think that I will do this for my future books. This is just because I found myself fixating on these “reviews” and “ratings”, when they were seeing my most vulnerable parts of my book. I had my beta readers look over my book after my third draft (which is a lot, but also there were a lot of issues that I needed fixed and I didn’t know how to fix them!!!!). Moral of the story was that my book has changed SOO much since then and the ratings really affected my confidence in my story- when it shouldn’t because of how much it has changed! 

    Something that I also added later into my beta rounds was to allow my beta readers on the completion form to opt to read an ARC copy of my book so that they could have the opportunity to read the final product when they helped shape my book to what it was! I would do this for future books as well, and plan to give these beta readers that completed my book and opted in to be an ARC reader priority access to becoming an ARC reader. 

    Something that I didn’t do, but plan to add on my future completion forms is for them to opt in to beta read future books of mine. I got great feedback from most of my beta readers that completed my book and would love their help on my future books!! I wished that I added this on my form so that I would know who would be interested in reading my future books as beta readers as well. 


    When I used beta reader advice and not / How to handle negative beta readers: 

    This was a question I got that I wanted to address as well. Each beta reader was a hit or miss on what I was looking for/what I needed for my manuscripts. And sometimes I needed different things during my different rounds of beta readers.

    When it came to beta readers and using their advice - if it didn't make sense then I didn't apply it. What I mean by this is that if I didn't LOVE their advice or if it didn't make sense to change it, then I let it go. You absolutely don't have to apply everything and I didn't. I took what I wanted and appreciated any and all advice whether I took it or not. Something I also learned was to take ANY and ALL advice with a grain of salt. I had many beta readers that would either highlight a certain section or in their completion form would state that they didn't like something or thought that this aspect should be changed, when I had another group of beta readers that would actually state that they LOVED those scenes/aspects of my book. Something you have to realize is that everyone has their own opinion so only change something if you agree that it should also be changed. 

    Something I looked out for was if there was a certain scene or aspect that had more than 3 comments that it needed to be fixed then I did consider changing it. I would ask these beta readers their advice on how I could best fix this and then apply their thoughts that I liked! This was also good to know to hand to my developmental editor so she could also look at these issues with my manuscript as well to get another set of eyes on those issues specifically. 

    When it comes to negative beta readers- oof. My biggest concern I had was when beta readers would say "this sounds cringe" or "I hate this" but without any advice on how to better it or fix it. If you have any that are saying rude comments about your manuscript then you have the right to remove them from your manuscript. Your mental health is important and if they aren't providing FEEDBACK on how to better your book then their comments aren't worth reading. 

    When it comes to beta readers that complete your book and have a "negative review"- these are also hard. But, as easy as it is to say to not let it affect you- just remind yourself that your manuscript is not yet completed and that your book won't be for everyone! And that's okay. I like to keep a folder on my phone with all of the positive comments and "reviews" that I have received to read for when I received these "reviews" that still were hurtful even when they were being honest to help me.  


    What beta readers can do that editors can't and if it is worth having beta readers:

    The purpose of beta readers is to get overview feedback from your ideal audience. With this being said, it's important to select beta readers that are from your ideal audience and that actually like your genre of book. Beta readers are meant to look at the overall of your book and to provide feedback on how they think your book could better the plot and character development. 

    Line and copy editors look at the structure of sentences/grammar/spelling/etc, whereas developmental editors look at the overall book with plotholes, the plot, and character development. I personally think that it is worth having beta readers before you have a developmental editor look at your book. This is because beta readers can help find a lot of the plotholes as well as give you the time to find any other issues you may have with the flow of the plot and character development. It also gave me time to have others look over my book as I continued to fix things that I wanted to in my book. My beta readers gave me a lot of great advice and ideas and it took a lot of time to implement them. This way your book can already have had multiple sets of eyes on it before a developmental editor goes through it. Also, developmental editors will look over your book 2-3x and then give you their sheet of advice and thoughts. Then usually you will apply what you would like and then send them the updated copy where they will review it one last time. However, by going through the process of beta readers, your manuscript is better looking by the time it goes to your dev editor so that you can get more out of your dev edit. 




    Have any other questions on beta readers??? Ask them in the comment section and I would be happy to add the answers I have to the end of this blogpost and to include a Q&A. 

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