Beta Readers


Sep 12, 2011
Mordor (Oldham)
Good afternoon, it's been quite a while since I was last here!

So, after many years and many discarded ideas, I've finally completed a first draft novel! Now all that remains for me is to give it some time and then take it round the back of the house and beat some sense into it! But while i'm doing that (and starting on the next book), I got to thinking about beta readers. Obviously with it still only being in first draft form I'm not looking for anyone besides me to read through it just yet, well except for the odd few passages. But I do have a couple of questions.

How exactly do you go about looking for someone to beta read your work?


How many drafts do you write before you submit it to somebody else's eyes for critique?



Delusions of Grammar
Aug 3, 2014
Ballynahinch, County Down
I initially found beta readers by chatting to people who read similar books to the ones I’ve written and then asking nicely (but only if they were a) sensible and b) not scared to be honest). In the early days I had issues with not really getting feedback from many readers. Looking back, I think it’s because I just wasn’t very good and they either didn’t want to say that or because it was so bad they couldn’t get to the end!

These days I have a pool of reliable readers I’ve built up and they tend to chase me for the next book instead of me needing to chase them to finish. This is a good place to start your search.

In terms of number of drafts, I don’t think there’s an easy answer. I don’t usually ask anyone to read mine until I believe they’re ready to be submitted. I try to give them something that reaches the standard I’d expect in a bought book from a bookshop. That includes sending in e.g. kindle format direct to their device so it’s easier to read and feels more like a book than a WIP.

Jo Zebedee

Aliens vs Belfast.
Oct 5, 2011
blah - flags. So many flags.
Bah to not to have read Kerry‘s crime yet - but looking forward to release :( ;) - most of my beta readers come from here and we just got to know each other here. These days I use less because I’m more confident about what I want to do (and have editors working with me) and I’m more inclined to work away on my own until things are reasonably tidy.
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Steve Harrison

Well-Known Member
Dec 9, 2014
Sydney, Australia
Beta readers who are in tune with you and your writing are hard to find. I have had several over the years, mainly contacts made via writing groups, but these days I have a lot more confidence and use only two. My wife, who is thorough and brutally honest, is my main reader, and the other is a professional novelist friend in the US. I direct him to check specific aspects of my novels, and he does the same with me. We trust each other fully. (My wife is the scarier of the two, though!)

I don't let them read until the point I feel I am finished (which is always wishful thinking). I don't think in terms of drafts, as I work on one manuscript, editing as I go, with a major edit at each quarter stage and several edits at the end.

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