How To Find Beta Readers

Getting feedback from beta readers is an exercise I regret not starting sooner. I was so nervous about receiving negative feedback that I hit publish without anyone (besides my publisher) reading my first book. Honestly, as a first-time author, that’s what it took to get my manuscript out into the world. Getting negative feedback would have crushed my spirit, and perhaps I wouldn’t be the accomplished self-published author I am today. However, by my second book (Affording Travel), I was ready and open to it all, even criticism. Eager to improve my writing, I reached out to a few people who I knew followed my blog closely. They shared their thoughts, and I considered what suggestions I would implement. Today, before I publish any book, I ask a small group of trusted beta readers to read it first. If you’re wondering how to find beta readers for non-fiction books, here’s where to start.

Who are beta readers?

I consider beta readers my super fans. They are the people who are invested in my work and want to be involved in shaping the final product. In exchange for a book draft, beta readers are willing to read and provide feedback before I send the semi-final draft for editing.

Best Practices: Establish reasonable deadlines which allow your beta readers ample time to read and share their thoughts without comprising your timeline and workflow.

Ideally, my beta readers are interested in the book topic, but they do not have to be an expert. The less experience they have, the better because they can pinpoint areas where I may have lost them along the way. On the other hand, more experienced beta readers may suggest insights I may not have included in the book.

While writing Traveling With A Full-Time Job, I got critical feedback from one of my beta readers. Specifically, I asked if there were sections where she felt bored. When she mentioned a few chapters, I decided to remove them altogether. I repurposed them into articles featured on this blog, like tips for business travel, so nothing goes to waste!

I share this because I trust my beta readers. They are my ideal readers, so I want them to be on board with what I’m doing. Overall, beta readers can be instrumental in helping you create the best version of your book.

Do beta readers get paid?

Most beta readers do not get paid, but as a courtesy, I recommend sending volunteer beta readers a free copy of your finished book. Consider praising them in your acknowledgments and sending them a signed copy.

Should you ask your significant other or family members to read drafts of your book?

It depends. I know many people who share their books with their loved ones. But they are likely subjective. At this point, you need an objective take on your book. Your family loves you, and unfortunately, they may not tell you how it is. I encourage you to look for beta readers outside your inner circle who want to see you succeed and encourage them to candidly share ways you can improve.

Where to find beta readers?

I recommend finding beta readers while you’re writing your non-fiction book.

I start the recruiting process as soon I have a book cover (visuals are everything). As I’m generating excitement and buzz around the book, I ask if anyone would be interested in reading a draft and providing honest opinions.

Follow me on Instagram @thedanielledesir — let me know you read this blog post!

How many beta readers do you need?

I recommend recruiting more than one but no more than three so you do not get overwhelmed with suggestions and comments.

Strategies For Finding Beta Readers

Build an Author Platform

Create an author website dedicated to your author brand.

I recommend hosting with SiteGround.

This website is my author platform. Here, I share free chapters of my books and author tips and resources. On my website, there are also several places where readers can join my newsletter (scroll to the bottom of this post to enter mine). Remember, take every opportunity to collect email addresses so you can reach out later. Don’t be afraid to ask for emails. Creating a newsletter allows you to contact people directly as often as you like with offers, updates, announcements, and more. Without collecting email addresses, this would not be possible.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories is my favorite place to share the behind-the-scenes of my book writing process. While I’m writing a book, I ask my audience if anyone would be interested in joining my small team of beta readers. I add a ‘Questions’ sticker to a story, and those interested respond with their email addresses. It’s that simple.

Create an Email List

As indie authors, growing your email list is essentials at all stages of your journey. Always be list building!

After you’ve gathered emails, send your beta readers dedicated emails. Keep them up to date with what you’re working on and how they can help.

I recommend an email service provider like Convertkit or Mailerlite.

For example, I recently shared with my team a book cover design. I wasn’t 100% sold on it. I asked for their honest thoughts. While I only received one response, it was all I needed. I took their feedback and went back to the drawing board. Now, I have a book cover design that I love (see image on the left).

Read Next: Best Tools For Indie Authors

Overall, beta readers have been instrumental to my growth as a self-published author. Since many of my beta readers have read most of my books, I’m confident they know me, my intentions, and my no-fluff writing style. I sincerely trust their feedback, and I’m sure they will point me in the right direction. Although I may not take all of their advice, I will strongly consider it.

After reading this blog post, listen to the accompanying podcast episode where I share more writing tips.

Follow The Thought Card Podcast and listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.


Self-Publishing Tips I Learned At Podfest Master Class

When I heard that Podfest Multimedia Expo, the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ holder for Largest Attendance for a Virtual Podcasting Conference in One Week, was featuring a brand-new self-publishing track for authors at the Podfest Master Class Online Summit, I couldn’t wait to attend all of the sessions.

As I build my author brand, learning about creative ways to write, promote, and make money from my books is important. While I don’t want to give it all away, here are three things I learned about self-publishing after attending the four sessions at Podfest. By the way, I highly recommend upgrading your ticket so you can get lifetime access to the recordings. Although I missed the live sessions, watching the replays on my own time has been invaluable.

Grab your tickets to attend Podfest Master Class here.

3 Self-Publishing Tips From Podfest Master Class Online Summit

1. Use free books as marketing

Michael Stawicki, CEO of Resurrecting Books shared that offering a book for free on Amazon is a great way for you to attract an entirely new audience. This audience perhaps did not know about you or maybe they were on the fence about buying your books. If they fall in love with your free books, they may be more inclined to purchase your paid books.

Use free books as an entry point to your sales funnel. However, don’t cut corners. Treat the production of this book like you would any other book. Get a cover designed and hire a professional editor.

Also, if your book is underperforming, consider running a campaign where you list it for free for a limited-time or permanently. This will help you get new reviews and based on the steady traffic, Amazon may even promote it to a wider audience. This is something I had never considered before.

Helpful Tip: You can’t price your book for free on Amazon. Watch the Podfest session “Free Traffic With Free Books” to learn how.

2. Add these promotional sections to your book

Within the first few minutes of S.A. Grant’s presentation, he mentioned including promotional sections to your book. These sections will appear in the Table of Contents which is one of the first things potential readers will see when they preview your book. This can serve as free promotion for your other books, blog, or podcast.

Here are some of the new sections I will include in my books:

  • More About the Author (links to my podcast, blog, and other books).
  • Connect With Author (social media, blog, podcast, etc).
  • About the Podcast (podcast cover art, description, and link).

Don’t miss this Podfest session, “Podcast Marketing Through Kindle eBook & Audiobook Publishing”. The presenter, S.A. Grant is the founder of Boss Uncaged Podcast.

Read Next: My Favorite Tools For Authors

3. Books are an income generator

Lastly, in Mario Fachini’s session, he empowered attendees to commit to writing their books in eight weeks. He also mentioned something that stood out to me. Your non-fiction business book is an asset, a profit-generating, and lead generating asset. Mario Fachini is the host of EA Interviews.

Found these tips helpful, grab your tickets to Podfest Master Class here!

Did you know that I have a podcast? The Thought Card Podcast is an affordable travel and personal finance podcast empowering financially savvy travelers to make more informed financial decisions – travel more, pay off debt, and build wealth.

Press play to listen to this episode where I share tips for new authors.