Friday, March 28, 2014

How Many Beta Readers Do You Have?

I guess the real question I'm asking is: how many beta readers do you need?

I recently finished a read with a beta reader who did a fantastic job on my manuscript. Fixed plot holes, typos, etc. But now, I'm wondering how many more beta readers I need to call my manuscript 'done'.

How many beta readers or critique partners do you guys have? Do some of you rely more on your own critiquing skills or do you need unbiased observers?

For me, I think the trick is to do betas one-by-one, even though it takes longer (I know, I don't like waiting much either). But it helps. If you get four betas all on the same version of the manuscript, they'll all pick up on basically the same things. While this can help (it's useful to know if a critique is something that'll be shared by most readers or only a rare few), it's not as efficient. Fix the manuscript, send to the next beta. Rinse and repeat. That's what I might do until I get a beta who says it's basically good to go.

Sigh. Writing is tiring. BUT I'M SO CLOSE!!!!!!! Argh.

How do you guys go about the whole beta-reading process? How many steps do you have until you call your manuscript 'done'?


  1. This is hard. I have a lot of CPs. I have a TON of betas. What I find is that there is a certain amount of polishing that needs to happen before the CPs and the betas see it. I don't know that there is a right number (I know people who have had novels that never saw a beta or CP before landing them an agent!!). Still, I don't know the right number. I certainly don't have the patience for one beta at a time. Though, I do have different betas for different parts of the process (some really early, some really late).

    I guess I just blew 150 words saying, I don't know.

  2. I send out two at a time, but I have beta's who I know see different things, so that helps. I've had a total of six betas for my current WIP.

  3. I think it helps having more betas at a time so you know if more than one person says the same thing, it's valid.

  4. I send to betas first, correct, then to CPs. But I love the idea of sending to 1 CP at a time. Makes a lot of sense.