If you've ever tried to get honest, objective feedback on your writing, you know it's easier said than done. Even if you're lucky enough to have writing partners willing to read your entire manuscript, the chances are slim that they're avid readers in your genre. And the more questions you have about your work in progress, the less likely you are to put your relationships on the line.
We've been helping writers find qualified amateur readers for several years now (since May of 2015, to be exact). Our list of 287 wild beta readers consists entirely of volunteers who signed up of their own free will. They request only the manuscripts that sound intriguing to them -- and they only finish the questionnaires about half the time.
We think that silence speaks volumes, and we try to get them to tell us why they didn't finish the book. About half of the time, they tell us. (When they don't, we consider cutting them from the list. Nobody likes a ghost.) Knowing why someone put down the book -- after going out of their way to seek it out -- is invaluable information, and it's hard to get from people who care about you.
Our civilized betas are a cut above the feral crew. Civilized betas are not only in your target audience, but they're also professional readers who provide honest, useful, informed, constructive criticism. They're anonymous to our authors, too; it's better that way.
Anyway, we crunched the numbers from our last six wild beta campaigns and blogged about it the other day. Take a look at the first one, which is out with readers right now, then follow the link to read the rest of the post:
A Goddess Among Men (fiction)
- 286 recipients
- 41.5% of recipients opened the email
- 19 recipients requested the novel
- Questionnaires are due May 23
If you're interested in testing your market without waiting for agents or Amazon reviews, you can read more about beta readers here.