Are you an avid reader? Would you like to have your say on new books? If so, we have the perfect opportunity for you.
We are are always looking for beta and ARC readers to join our team. If you are interested, read on.
What is a beta reader?
A beta reader is a test reader of works of fiction, providing feedback on various elements of the story. Beta readers are non-professional and give an unbiased opinion of the average reader. Publishing companies, or authors choosing to self-publish can engage the services of beta readers 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 publishing company or author.
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 team read the author’s self-edited manuscript then choose genre-specific beta readers to comment on several elements including:
- 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 of a professional. Our own talented crew handle this job.
When submitting a manuscript to a beta reader, we include a questionnaire for completion. This helps us address any issues raised before editing.
We ask beta readers to consider the following:
- 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 a sound knowledge of grammar, spelling, and punctuation. If chosen, we ask you to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to protect the author’s work.
We look for honesty. If you don’t like certain parts, 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 a beta 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, keep your promise. We ask that you let us know as soon as possible if you are unable to assist. Should you not have time, please decline.
K W Weiland has written a brilliant article on beta reader etiquette which you can find here.
As well as beta readers, we engage ARC readers whose role is to read an edited book (shortly after publication but before release) for review. Genuine reviews are priceless. We look for candidates to read advance copies of upcoming titles then leave a review on Amazon.
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 our authors.
Benefits of being a beta and/or ARC reader for Whisper Publishing:
- Advance copies of books (ARC readers)
- 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 launch. If this sounds appealing, contact us here. When leaving your details, please identify which role you are interested in. (Beta reader, ARC reader, or both). Please also confirm your preferred genre(s) and whether you use UK/US English, or both. Finally, include social media/blog details (at least one).