What is a beta reader? It’s someone who gives you feedback on your story and its literary elements, such as plot, characterization, conflict, etc. They don’t edit your work or rewrite weak sentences.
So, if you are considering hiring a beta reader, here are some aspects you should be aware of.
Cheaper than traditional editors
Many book editors, especially those who have worked with big-name best-selling authors (like Stephen King), can charge lots of money for their services. They can range from hundreds to even thousands of dollars.
There are people with that kind of money. But unless you are one of them, start off with a beta reader.
Can return work more quickly
Depending on the editor and the work, it can take at least a week or month to have the project returned to the client. From my experience, though, beta readers may take less time before they give the customers feedback. This can vary, however, depending on the reader and other factors.
Might not necessarily answer the writer’s specific questions
With my last beta reader experience, I sent a bunch of questions to the person that concerned specific issues in my manuscript. The beta reader clarified that she was not an editor, so I said that she could answer the questions she felt were relevant. Sadly, she didn’t answer any.
Can be tough
Despite working on my manuscript for nearly 5 years, the beta reader said it needed a ton of work. Other beta readers bashed my projects, too. However, when I showed them to editors, the stories pleased them. For my current WIP, an editor said that it was strong and only needed minor editing.
I don’t know how typical it is for beta readers to be super-tough, but I am giving my manuscript to other beta readers as well as a developmental editor.
Remember to do what you think will work for you.