4 Reasons Beta Readers Can Help an Indie Author Fine-Tune Their Novel
by Brad Graber
Ever think of using beta readers for that new book that you’re about to self-publish? Beta testing is a “best-practice” approach in many industries, whereby a sampling of the intended audience tries the product out ahead of widespread adoption. It is no different with a book.
Why should you think about beta readers?
You’ve worked hard with a professional literary service to edit your book. They’ve counseled you on structure, point-of-view, character development, and plot-line. You’ve reworked and reworked the manuscript. Spent hours and hours of writing and rewriting to get to “done.”
But how will your book be received by your intended audience? Is it an engaging read? Will there be core objections you should be aware of before publication? Are there opportunities to tweak the work?
Enter beta readers.
It makes good sense to have someone other than yourself, your spouse, or your best friend read through the final manuscript.
Beta readers can:
- Offer an independent perspective on the story from the reader’s point-of-view; highlight where the story needs to be strengthened; point out weak scene transitions; and cite inconsistent tone and pace.
- Provide input on the cover design and contents of the book jacket.
- Confirm your decision to hire a professional proofreader to catch typos, errors in layout, and other nasty mistakes that you’re simply unable to find on your own.
- Help you refine your marketing campaign by clarifying the themes in the book that resonate; help you uncover the “hooks” so you can best pitch the story to media outlets.
Who should be a beta reader?
- Someone who represents your demographic audience
- Someone who is an active reader; is perhaps a member of a book club; enjoys your genre.
- Someone who doesn’t suffer fools and will tell you the honest truth.
Bottom-line: Beta readers will confirm that your book is indeed “reader-ready.”
Brad Graber was born and raised in New York City. He obtained a B.A. in Biology from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and an M.H.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, Miss. Brad is formerly a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a Certified Medical Executive through Medical Group Management Association. He no longer works in healthcare, though he does actively volunteer with local nonprofits. The Intersect is Brad’s first novel and will be released on Amazon in August 2016. You can reach Brad at Jefbra@sbcglobal.net or bradgraber.com.