Questions For Your Beta Reader

old man

In an earlier post, I wrote about the importance of critique partners/beta readers and how to find them. In this post, I’d like to discuss how to efficiently and effectively obtain feedback from your beta readers.

Recently, I read an article on ways to make critiquing as easy as possible for your beta reader while still getting the feedback you need. The answer was simple. Normally, I give my beta readers verbal questions or ideas on what I want them to keep in mind while reading and then after they finish the novel, I ask a few more questions. According to the article, it would probably be a lot more effective if I gave them a list to fill out during and after reading…. I know. It’s really sad that it took an article to think of composing a list of questions, but yup, it did. So, I’d like to share the list I have composed for my beta readers, which I should have done long, long ago.

Beta Reader Feedback Sheet:

Book Title:

Start Date: (They pick. As long as they have the end date, they’ll know how long it will take them. Don’t be a dictator.)

End Date: (I try to give my readers a flexible date of when I need to hear back from them. I don’t want to be pushy because they are doing me a huge favor in reading my work, but if you give a reasonable date, not “I need you to read this by next Thursday,” it helps keep things on track.)

Did the first few pages grab you? (Hooks are important. Check out this post on the importance of the first chapter.)

Do you like where the story started, if not, which chapter do you think it needs to start? (False beginnings happen all the time. Don’t let it happen to your story. Start off with a boom!)

Is the main character likable?

What do you think of the main conflict in the story?

Is it resolved satisfactorily?

What do you think of the subplot?

Can you tell what the theme of the book is?

What would you have liked to see differently?

Did you skim any parts of the book because it sagged? (To fix any sagging middles, check out this post.)

Do you have a favorite character?

What is your favorite scene?

Please note if a scene made you confused and if so, why and the page number:

Please note which scenes caused an emotional reaction such as crying/gasping/ laughing/cringing: 

 Additional Notes: (Here, the reader can add any extra thoughts they had regarding your work…or maybe some positive feedback haha, which is always nice to hear after a thorough critique.)

After you get your sheet back, be sure to thank your reader for all of their time and effort they have put into giving you essential feedback. Next week, I will write about how to handle the feedback given to you by your beta readers.

I hope this helps you out and enhances your beta reader feedback experience.

Happy Writing!

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About Grace Hitchcock

Grace Hitchcock's first novella, The Widow of St. Charles Avenue, released in Barbour Publishing’s The Second Chance Brides Collection August 2017. Her second novella will release in Barbour Publishing’s The Southern Belle Brides Collection in 2018. She has a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace is a Louisiana Southerner living in Colorado with her husband, Dakota, and newborn son.

2 thoughts on “Questions For Your Beta Reader

  1. Thanks for this handy list of beta reader questions. I’ll surely use it down the road when my novels are ready for beta reading. In the meantime, I was recently asked to critique another writer’s novel, but she didn’t give me any feedback guidelines, so this gives me a good place to start.

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