This week, we’ve been discussing reader groups. On Monday, we discussed the importance of building a reader group and its benefits. Today, we’re going to discuss where to find potential readers for your reader group. We’ll start at the widest end of the funnel and work our way down to the bottom, where you’ll find the best readers possible.
At the wide end, we have social media. You can always go onto your social media and post, “Hey, I’m looking for beta readers,” or “Hey, I’m looking for ARC readers,” or “Hey, I’m looking for people to give me feedback.” Generally, this will net you the lowest quality readers for your group. You’ll find people who are just interested in getting something to read, people who want to be writers but aren’t taking the necessary steps, and people who are genuinely helpful. However, you have no idea who the person is if you’re just blasting the call out into the wilderness. While you can do this, I wouldn’t highly recommend it, but if you don’t have anyone in your reader group or don’t have access to any other avenues that I’ll discuss later in this video, social media might be your best option.
Your next option is genre communities or writers’ groups. These are places where like-minded writers or readers gather. If you’re a strong member of the community, you can put out a call and say, “Hey, I’ve got these chapters or this manuscript, and I’m looking for people to read and give me feedback.” Here, you’ll find a better selection of people because, in a writers’ group, they’re practiced at what you’re trying to do, and in a genre group, they’re fans of what you’re trying to create. However, you have to be cautious if you don’t know the person. If they’re a total stranger and you haven’t vetted them, you have to be careful about taking their advice wholesale. But, these are two great places to find people for your reader teams.
Now, where do you find these groups? Most likely on social media. You might find local groups, but they can be fraught. Often, if you’re engaging with other writers, there’s going to be some sort of equivalent exchange. If you want someone to read your stuff, you have to read their stuff. This isn’t feasible if you’re trying to produce at a high level; you won’t have time to read everyone’s work. So, you might want to try a genre group to target readers specifically.
The third and best way to find readers is in groups that you own. These would be groups built around you as an author or your worlds. These people are invested in you and what you create. They’re going to be the most excited, the most engaged, and the most likely to say yes when you ask them to beta read for you. You can find these people in any community that you own, whether that’s on Patreon, Discord, Facebook, or your email list.
One of the most important things you can do as an author is engage with your reader base. What better way to engage than by giving them content ahead of time and getting feedback on it? This can be difficult if you don’t have a thick skin, but developing a thick skin as an author is a must. This is a great way to practice. Fan groups, specifically your fan groups, are undoubtedly the best place to find beta readers.
If you don’t have a community of your own, that’s okay. You can step up to the next level of looking in genre groups or author groups. If you don’t have access to either of those or aren’t members of those communities, you can put out a general shout on social media. But, I hope you can see how this funnels down from the widest net to the most specific, but highest value net.
As I mentioned, I run a reader group of my own to beta read things for me, and I get most of the people who join it from my Discord. That’s where I’ve chosen to concentrate as much of my effort as possible. I do put some requirements around it. I require them to be part of the Patreon if they want to read advanced content, which I think is fair. So, it’s not like you just have to let everyone in. But, the more people, the wider the range of feedback you’re going to get, and the better able you will be to correct any mistakes you have.
YouTube Video Link: https://youtu.be/kKkmkBcjMxI
Thanks for reading and watching.
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