Beta & Arc Readers


Teddy bears + reading book

Are you an avid reader? Do you like having your say on forthcoming literary works? If so, this could be the perfect opportunity for you.

We are building a reliable team of beta and ARC readers. If interested, read on.

What is a beta reader?

“A beta reader is a test reader of an unreleased work of literature or other writing giving feedback with the angle of an average reader to the author about remaining issues. They are a non-professional reader so that an unbiased opinion of an average reader can be obtained.”

Authors choosing to self-publish, or publishing companies who use beta readers can engage their services at one of two stages:

  • On completion of a manuscript and self-edit; or
  • When the manuscript is ready for publication

There are no rules. The decision lies with the author or publishing company concerned.

When do Whisper Publishing engage beta readers? How do readers help?

The extent of a beta reader’s input varies. We are not the authority on the subject. This post highlights our requirements.

We prefer to engage beta readers following submission. Our in-house team read the author’s self-edited manuscript then choose suitable candidates. We pick genre-specific beta readers and ask for valued feedback on various details including:

  • Plot
  • Characters
  • Strengths/weaknesses
  • Flow
  • Unworkable scenes

Observations on glaring mistakes are welcome. Beta readers can use Track Changes in Microsoft Word or simple on-screen techniques. We neither request nor expect the skilled, meticulous editing/proofreading of a professional. Our own talented crew handle this job and, at the helm, The Nitpicker.

When submitting a manuscript to we include a critique questionnaire for completion. This helps us address any issues raised before the editing and proofing stage.

The following points include points we ask our beta readers to consider:

  • What did you like/dislike about the protagonist?
  • Does the book flow?
  • Would you recognise the setting if you visited?
  • Does the dialogue sound right for the genre?
  • Were there any parts of the book that confused you?
  • Which character(s) did you especially love and why?
  • Did you dislike any character or find them annoying?
  • Did the book make you experience emotions? For instance, did a horror novel scare you; comedy make you laugh?
  • Were you bored at any point?
  • Is the book aimed at a niche audience or mass market?
  • If a mystery or thriller, were there enough/too many twists and turns?
  • Were you happy, unhappy, or neutral with the ending?
  • Any other perceptions

What we look for

You need to be a fervent reader, fluent in English, and have good grammar and punctuation. We also ask you to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to protect the author’s work.

We look for honesty from beta readers. If you didn’t like certain elements that’s fine, but we want to know why the story didn’t work for you. Alternatively, we want to know why it did. Fantastic, amazing, not bad, or rubbish isn’t enough! Specifics, please!

We don’t have silly expectations and allow plenty of time to read what we send. However, you must respect deadlines. If you tell us you will read and critique a manuscript in four weeks, please, stick to it. We ask that you let us know as soon as possible if you are unable to assist. If you don’t have time, please decline.

K W Weiland has written a great article on Beta Reader etiquette which you can find here.

ARC Readers

As well as beta readers, we need ARC readers. The role here is to read an edited book (shortly after publication but before release) for review. Genuine reviews are priceless. We look for candidates to take on advance copies of upcoming titles then leave a review on various sites. Amazon and Goodreads are at the forefront.

Beta and ARC readers are volunteers. We do not offer financial reimbursement, however, there are benefits set out below. We appreciate the time devoted to helping us and our authors and gratitude runs deep.

Benefits of being a beta and/or ARC reader for Whisper Publishing:

  • Advance copies of books
  • Giving your feedback on new titles
  • Valuable experience
  • Giveaways and rewards (when offered)

As a beta and/or ARC reader you can see all new releases before they go on sale. If this sounds appealing, contact us here. When leaving your details, please identify the role of interest. (Beta reader, ARC reader, or both). Please also confirm your preferred genre(s) and whether you use UK or US English, or both. Finally, include social media/blog details (at least one).

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