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Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com • Beta Reader Questions/Concerns : Writers' Block Party • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com
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Beta Reader Questions/Concerns

PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:53 pm
by dotk1988
I am almost finished with my manuscript. It has been eighteen years in the making, honestly. I don't know how many revisions/transformations it has gone through, but I've finally gotten it to the point where I'm satisfied and ready to find a literary agent. I'm in the final editing stage (editing it myself I mean). I bought the "Guide to Literary Agents 2017" book and have been steadily reading through all the articles and advice. One major theme seems to be that I should find a few beta readers to go through the story with a fresh pair of eyes.

Now, I'm completely fine with that. I used to write fanfiction and had a beta reader for that. But I have a question and a concern about beta readers for my actual manuscript:

The question is, where do I find a beta reader? The book suggests using writers you know, or someone from your writing group. I don't know any writers, nor am I a part of a writing community. There aren't many available in my area and the ones that are don't seem very active. I could join one online, but there are so many I don't know which ones are reputable and useful. Or, is there a relatively trustworthy website I can go to that has beta readers listed? I know you can do that for fanfiction, but I don't know if original fiction has that, and if they do how credible it is.

Which leads me to my concern. How can I know that I can trust these beta readers not to steal my idea? I understand that the moment I wrote this story it was copyrighted. But that won't necessarily stop someone from taking the idea, the plot, of the story and doing their own thing with it. That's why I haven't sought out a beta reader before now - trust issues.

If anyone can help me in this, give me some advice, I would greatly appreciate it! This is all very new to me and I admit to feeling extremely overwhelmed by it all. Guidance would be extremely helpful.

Thank you!

Re: Beta Reader Questions/Concerns

PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:58 pm
by ostarella
Finding trusted betas is difficult and time-consuming. You may want to look back at your fanfic partners, because you already know them and whether or not you can trust their judgement. Otherwise, you can get to know writers here and on other online forums, find out if you trust their judgement and advice, and see if they're at all interested in being a beta. You can also post short bits here for feedback.

You don't need a beta, of course. Many writers don't use them, or only use them for their first attempts. If you're not sure, I'd wait and see what kind of response you get from the first handful of agents. Most, if not all, have editing assistance after signing, as do publishers.

Re: Beta Reader Questions/Concerns

PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:42 pm
by williamadams

Re: Beta Reader Questions/Concerns

PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:33 pm
by dotk1988
Thank you both for your responses! I really appreciate it and it kind of confirms what I already thought, which is great.

Re: Beta Reader Questions/Concerns

PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:30 pm
by Alice Clay
Ask a librarian? Really. They are plugged into that sort of thing. They host reading clubs, etc. You might find something there.

Re: Beta Reader Questions/Concerns

PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:39 am
by Dreaming Imrryr

Re: Beta Reader Questions/Concerns

PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:31 pm
by nonfictionwriter
The the opening poster: I would probably be willing to beta-read your manuscript and give you some input if you would be willing to beta-read my manuscript once I have completed it. I'm an aspiring non-fiction author and I have absolutely no interest in writing fiction or another aspect of non-fiction outside of my field of expertise. I definitely won't steal your idea.

PM me if you are interested

Re: Beta Reader Questions/Concerns

PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2017 2:53 pm
by Fantasy
How is your search for reliable beta readers coming?

I have some of my friends beta read for me; my brother, a friend from another forum, and my husband. My mother will sometimes beta read too, but I don't get much feedback so she doesn't read for me too often.

Do you have a Writers Group you can join that is open to beta reading a couple chapters?