Good morning everyone!
I'm coming out of my deadline "kave" to talk about beta readers because, basically, I will need some soon myself :-)
That got me thinking about when to use a beta reader.
So I decided to start at the beginning. Who are beta readers? Well, a beta reader is someone who looks at your work with an objective eye and "hopefully" points out any problems they see. Some people use fellow published authors while others use fans of the genre.
To me a beta reader is not a critique partner. A CP is a writer who can point out plot problems as well as help you clean up editorial polishing problems like grammar and spelling, etc. I like to use beta readers who are not writers, but fans of the genre. Not your mother or sister or best friend, but someone you might know who is a huge fan of the genre. They know the genre and know what they like and what they don't like.
So my plan is to start with my CP's first. Change any plot problems and polish the book the best I can. Then send to beta readers to catch anything my CP's might have missed, especially because my CP's know my story so well. My CP's rock at brainstorming :-) But you'd be amazed at what even they can miss because they already know what's coming.
Sometimes I wonder if I should wait and use my beta readers after I get my edits from my editor. Make all the changes and then use the beta readers as a final pair of eyes before the book is accepted and goes to print. Or maybe the answer is to have several readers. Start with CP's, then a couple first round beta readers. Then edits from the editor and then final round "new" beta readers. I truly think once someone has read the story they are no longer objective enough.
So then the questions becomes how many beta readers do you use and where do you find them?
What do you all do?
Enquiring minds need to know :-)