Before you distribute your book, you’ll want it read by lots of people including friends, family and a plethora of complete strangers. These readers are an essential part of your pre-publishing process, ensuring quality, improving story, and spreading the word. Before you self publish, make sure your book is read by the following 20 people (it’s easier than it sounds ;).
Beta Readers (3-5 people)
Beta readers consist of friends and family who can read your book and give a little feedback, catch typos (or in my case homophones), and can serve as a source to bounce ideas off.
3-5 beta readers should do it. Remember to take their praise, advice, and criticism with a grain of salt, because they care about you and your feelings. If a beta reader stops reading midway through your book, don’t pester them, but be sure to ask where they stopped. Around that point you can assume the story has some weak points, likely pacing issues.
Editors (1-2 people)
Editors ensure the overall quality of your book. They are often the major factor deciding between what makes a quality indie book and what makes an error ridden, forgettable pass me over.
Unfortunately, many new writers find it daunting to pay thousands of dollars to edit their manuscript. If you can’t afford a professional, don’t take out a loan or use a high interest credit card. It’s not worth it to go in debt for your book!
Instead, penny pinchers should place an add on craigslist in search of out of work English majors. While the quality of work might not be as high as that of a professional, you can get something resembling professional editing at a fraction of the price.
Generally you’ll want two editors, a copy editor and a line editor (or proof reader). If your pinching pennies, have a grammar savvy friend or craigslist studen do the proof reading.
Book Gladiators (20-30 readers)
Your last batch of readers I call “book gladiators” (because it sounds cool). Place another add on craigslist looking advertising that you are looking for people to read your book and simply share with your their opinion, good or bad. Offer them somewhere in the ballpark of $20 a piece.
Book gladiators serve 2 purposes. First, they act as a test group. Their opinion is a preview of your amazon reviews, so if they are giving your book 3 or less stars, its time to go back and rewrite.
Book Gladiators also serve a second purpose, which is how they earn their name. You’ll find that these readers will be major champions of your book, spreading word of mouth, writing online reviews, and taking pride in being part of the process. Want a low cost marketing team? These are your people.