Monday, June 18, 2012

Marketing Monday - Beta Readers are a Bonus

Writing is a solo act but there comes a time when help is needed. There is no doubt that some of us are superstars at character development or quite possibly we have the gift of grammar. None of us can truly do it all... I know, I know, we think we can but when we've spent hours, days, weeks, and months on this story. We become bias and can no longer see big or even the smallest of issues. Our minds become jaded. We bring in the next experts... our critique partners, but the same thing happens to them.

That's when it's time for the BETA READER (or what I like to call our SUPERSTAR).

How does one choose the genius who gets to hold that masterpiece in your hands?

Easy. Research.

Do you write YA?

Middle school and High school students are your target audience. Don't know any? Not a problem...

1. Social Clubs - Go to a local high school and speak with a writing/reading group. Find an English teacher and ask if her students would be interested in reading a rough draft of your work. You'd be surprised how attentive these teachers will be to the idea. Gives them a chance to liven their students moods for a love of uniqueness.

2. Libraries - You'll have avid readers. Stalk the young adult section and see if there aren't any regulars you bump into. When you create a relationship with one of them they'd be honored to read your work.

3. Parents/Relatives - My number one hot spot is family. Cousins, nieces, and friends children, one of them is bound to be a reader. Talk to the parents to get their approval. You'd be surprise how much support they show.

4. Online - I think most of us use this because it's where we feel most comfortable. Emailing teens that obsessively read are sure to gobble up that story of yours!

I've tried all of these and was successful with each or I wouldn't have suggested them! How about you? Did you ever try to go offline to find yourself a beta reader in your target audience?

13 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

I haven't tried to get a teen beta reader but that's a great idea if you can find one not related to you.

Em-Musing said...

Ah...finding a reader. THat's harder for me than writing, and scarier than pitching to an agent.

Stephsco said...

Interesting thoughts! A mix of writers who know story crafting along with readers who love books to give general feedback is a good idea. You'll get different types of feedback, and you'll need to distinguish what is worth changing in your story. Teen or teachers can serve as a focus group.

Lindsay N. Currie said...

I agree that it can be very hard to find a reader. I've always been lucky to find myself in a good critique group, but it was a challenge getting there.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I have two test readers I've used for the past two years, in addition to two critique partners.

Meredith said...

I tend to rely on friends and family to be beta readers, but these are fabulous ideas! One of my CPs is a high school creative writing teacher (actually, she was MY high school creative writing teacher). I should see if her kids want to read my work. Thanks, Jen!

Liesel K Hill said...

This is a great idea. I have my beta readers, but I like the idea of going outside the box like this, especially the one about stalking the library! :D Thanks for sharing!

lkhill.blogspot.com

Bish Denham said...

A friend of mine (who is a beta reader for me) has two kids and she's going to have them read a story I just sent her. It's right of their alley as far as age and subject matter. So I kind of lucked out.

SA Larsenッ said...

Great ideas and advice. I tend to ask family/close friends on to get a feel of the overall impact of the story. Their hearts can be too close to mine to give an objective opinion. My online betas and CPs are some of the most amazing people and know what they are talking about. So lucky...

Christine Murray said...

I've never done this, but reading it is making me question why I don't...definitely something I'm going to try.

Clare C. Greenstreet said...

Finding a Beta reader who'd get back to me is hard. Not tried to find one in the target audience before. Might have to try and see if I can find one.

Clarissa Draper said...

I just love my Beta readers. They have been so helpful to me.

Jemi Fraser said...

Giving our stories to real live people is scary! But a great idea :)