Thursday, June 9, 2011

What's the Optimal Number of Beta Readers?

This is why:
1.       My beta readers always say the same things. I don’t need multiple people giving me the same advice.
2.      It’s difficult to find a good beta reader, so if I have three to choose from, I’ll save one for the next round. Otherwise, I’ll waste valuable resources.
3.      Beta reading is a lot of work. When I get comments back, I spend a significant amount of time trying to incorporate all the advice. I keep a list of all their comments and read through them every now and then so I don’t forget them. I already feel overwhelmed with just two!
4.      You also have to beta read the other people’s books. Right now I’m juggling three books – theirs and my own – and I can’t do more.
5.      It’s essential to have more than one. Many times I’ve read a suggestion that didn’t make sense to me and thought, “Well, that’s just you opinion.” Then I heard the same thing from someone else and thought, “Huh, maybe she was right.” I probably wouldn’t take half of their suggestions if I didn’t have two betas.

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  1. Oddly enough, I've never really thought about this before. Then again, I'm still looking for my FIRST beta. Thanks for the insight though!

  2. I agree that more than one is essential. Beyond that, I really think it depends on the kind of beta readers you've got. I have two really great readers.

  3. I agree it depends on the readers. It helps to have readers who focus on different things...plot driven readers, language driven readers, etc. Of course, finding that awesome variety is hard.

    Personally, I prefer two alphas and five or six betas.

    My alphas also read a second time in addition to the five or six "new" betas.

  4. So true! I do have 2, but I hadn't really thought about the number before. I think you're right - it's a perfect number!


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