When to send to beta readers?


I’ve just finished my first round of editing my novel.  I’m wondering when would be the best time to send it out to beta readers (who I’ve yet to find!)?

Do I go over it myself as many times as possible before I get to that point?  Or is it better to send it out now and get the feedback I so desperately need as soon as possible?

There’s a certain element to my novel I’m not sure about.  Not going to say what it is but I definitely need some guidance.

So I’m asking all of you who’ve written a book (admittedly this is my second novel but I’m still unsure about this) what you’ve found to be the best time to send your novel out to be beta read and get those all important second opinions?

I must confess I’m not great at making decisions.  Also, if you all tell me a million different things, that’s going to be even more confusing!  But I’m willing to take the risk with this cos I really need to know.  And even if you don’t have a definitive answer, I’d be interested to hear your stories about editing and how it all went for you.

It’s definitely an exciting time for me having the publication of my second book on the horizon less than a year after the first one was published. 🙂

I’ll keep you all posted on my progress.  Book number three is in the planning stages… (BTW it’s not a series!!)




22 thoughts on “When to send to beta readers?

  1. I haven’t got around to putting mine on sale yet (I’m planning on self-publishing), but I find the best time I give my manuscripts to beta-readers is when I have gone through it enough times that I no longer see mistakes, by that time I am about ready to be done with it and not look at it for a while 😀 But only you can tell when it’s right for you, you got to find a comfortable time when you really think your manuscript is as good as you can make it.

    Not much help, sorry, but good luck! 🙂


  2. I think perhaps I’m fairly liberal with sending my writing out. I had a few people read AMCF after the very first draft, and then the feedback from that resulted in an additional 15000 words, which I then also sent out to people and got lots of awesome comments on. While people had the second one, I was also going over it and doing my own edits as well.

    So I guess my answer to your question is “Whenever you feel comfortable!” or something to that effect. But I haven’t published any books yet, so I don’t know, maybe I’m doing it all wrong.


    1. I think your method sounds good Emily. It can’t be a bad thing getting a lot of feedback from various people. But everyone’s different. As you say I’ve got to find what works for me. 🙂


  3. https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/50920-beta-reader-group
    In case you’re looking for a place to connect with them.

    As everyone has been saying, “Do it when you feel comfortable.” I’d suggest going over the draft at least once before sending it out. By the time I sent my draft out I’d gone through it probably 4-5 times, and then I went “Ok this is it… let’s do this.” My sugggestion is when you do post for beta-reading, always give a bit of a heads up about the stage you are at to the reader. Are you done the editing stage, is this your first draft, etc.


  4. I would send it out when I’ve done as much as I can do with it. This way you’d know if they thought the element worked in a novel you were satisfied with rather than one that you haven’t edited much yourself. Having said this, there really Isn’t any right or wrong answer on this, but, for me, I wouldn’t want betas telling me things that I know I would have changed anyway. For me, it’s best to do it when you can’t find anything wrong with it yourself. Good Luck and keep us posted.


  5. I think it depends on what you’re looking for from your beta. Are you looking for structural advice on characters/plot/setting/ stuff like that? If so, then I would send it out fairly early and tell them what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for someone to help you polish the MS–look for details, typos, etc–then I would wait until you’ve already edited it to within an inch of its life. Or maybe you want both? Then send it out early, edit it with the advice in mind, and sent it out again. No matter what, I’ve found that it’s really really important to make sure your beta knows exactly what you’re looking for from them, that way no one wastes their time and energy.


  6. I tend to do beta readers in rounds. My sister and boyfriend get the first round after my first set of edits. Then some close friends. Then I like to start a critiquing process chapter by chapter on Scribophile. Though I have to say my agent isn’t crazy about me posting there because she’s afraid I’ll run into some bad advice. But I have met a few people whose writing I love, and whose opinions I value.

    Hope that helps!


  7. I have a couple levels of readers (who occasionally overlap). When I get something done to a point where I know there are still problems, yet I’m fairly comfortable with it and want another set of eyes on it to see if they spot the problems as well, I’ll send it off to first readers. Their job is not to nit-pick grammar, structure, etc, but to beat up the story, plot, characters, flow, any obvious mistakes. After that, I go through, tighten it up, fix it, then get it to the betas.


  8. I pretty much agree with what everyone else has said. I send mine out when I have pretty much exhausted what I feel that I can do with it at that time. The beta’s can then feedback on whichever element they wish to although most of them commented on the storyline. That then gives you the opportunity to make any changes that you think without having already spent hours changing it without knowing what the reader wants. Good luck with it all Elaine! 😀


  9. You’ve been given some very good advice here, Elaine. I popped over after your comment on my blog. If you return to my blog, I have some posts on beta readers and how the process works which might be helpful. Love your blog!


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