I’ve heard horror stories of people receiving snarky and offensive beta reports on their manuscripts — the kind of thing that can crush your soul. I’ve also known of beta reports that were so fluffy and insubstantial that they were a waste of everyone’s time.
Beta readers are those superheroes who read the manuscript for our novel, memoir or non-fiction book, and give targeted feedback to help us improve it. (Check out my beta reader series for more.)
Some beta readers are just a bad match to a particular writer or book. But often, that’s not the cause of those disappointing beta reports.
What’s the secret to getting a beta report you can actually use? I’ve found that the key is in the briefing. A thoroughly briefed beta reader, even one who is inexperienced or lacks confidence, can often give useful tips, if they know exactly what you want.