How to treat beta readers. [32/52]

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Last week, we talked about beta readers, what they do, and how to find them. This week, we’re talking about how to treat them once they’ve signed up.

Step 1: Make signing up easy.

I make a page on my website that has a form to sign up to beta read. I only ask for their name and email, and I only use their information to communicate about the beta reading process.

I can share this link with people who are interested, and it automatically collects the data for me.

Step 2: Set expectations.

Before I ask anyone to sign up, I tell them what the book is about, how many words it is, and when I would like feedback. When they know all of this up front, they can look at their schedules and see if it fits in.

Step 3: Deliver a quality product.

I always send out digital versions (both as a PDF and a .mobi file for Kindle) AND a paperback version.

I publish through Amazon and they make it very easy to order printed proof copies. They only cost a couple of bucks and then your beta readers get an ultra-unique keepsake.


The front and back spread of the cover for a recent beta reader paperback edition.


Step 4: Collecting feedback

When I send out the initial email thanking everyone for signing up, I try to include the digital files, an estimated date when the print books will be in, and a link to the form I’d like for them to complete.

Again, I use my website to host a form that gets emailed directly to my inbox, so I have immediate access to the feedback once it comes in.

Then, you take the feedback and accept or reject their changes and you’re one step closer to publishing!

One other thing to note: odds are, not everyone who signed up to be a beta reader will finish the book and provide feedback in a timely manner (or at all). It’s okay. Be prepared for it.

Don’t badger them about it and risk damaging the relationship. The ongoing relationship is more important than the feedback for this one book.

Jump. Build, Fly.
F.C. Shultz