My Search for Beta Readers Begins

So, good news, everyone. I finished that book I was writing. Here are some obligatory celebration gifs:

cheer hooray happy excited celebration

excited seinfeld happy dance exciting celebrate

FOX International Channels reaction dancing happy simpsons

celebration will ferrell paul rudd steve carell anchorman

Alright. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to business. What’s the book about, you ask? Well here’s a synopsis I wrote in ninety seconds:


Fifteen year old Rosie is dead, as far as the rest of the world is concerned. She lives in an underground facility with the rest of the discovered mutants. It’s not so bad. She’s made herself a favorite of the man in charge, and hopes to take his place when he retires. Then she’ll be free to come and go whenever she pleases.

Nick Slater’s never heard of mutants. He’s just coasting by in a world with constant surveillance and a strict national curfew. He has no friends or self-confidence or any real aspirations, until a fight with another schoolmate opens up some unexpected opportunities.

Charles Nolan is a killer. A kidnapper, really, but in his case there’s not much of a difference. He gives each of his victims to his boss, and none of them ever make it out alive. When Nick ends up on his list of targets, the lives of these three strangers begin to intertwine. The results are world-changing.


(I’m really trying to figure out another way to end that summary besides, “The results are world-changing.” I almost went with catastrophic, but that doesn’t quite apply.)

A few other things about the book:

  • The Anomalies,” is the current title.
  • It’s the beginning of a trilogy, and I’m afraid it feels like too much of a “part one.” I know you’re generally supposed to pitch a book like this as “a stand-alone with series potential,” but that sounds like a lie in my case. We’ll see how it goes.
  • I’m never really sure what genre to label it as. It’s Young Adult, sure, but I don’t know if it’s Sci-fi or Fantasy, or Urban Fantasy, or a combination of them both. Or if it would be classified as Dystopian. I don’t know. I’ll figure it out some time soon.
  • Of course, I should probably make sure the book’s actually, y’know, good, before I start worrying about trying to get published.
  • It’s currently clocked in at at 81,000 words, which would be about 324 pages in paperback form. 
  • I’m also concerned that my characters aren’t interesting enough. think they’re interesting, but I’m biased. 
  • There is a lesbian character in this novel who wasn’t quite important enough to be mentioned in that synopsis above, but is nevertheless very important. (And only gets more important in the next two books.) So if there’s any LGBTQ+ beta readers out there who’d like to help make sure I don’t mess anything up, that would be great.
  • Edit: in retrospect, I should warn that the level of violence and profanity is kinda pushing it a bit for the YA genre. It’s never gratuitous, (IMO, at least) but yeah, it is there.

As you may have noticed, I’m a bit nervous to start sending a whole manuscript out to people, even though I shouldn’t be. After all, I sent the first three chapters of this out to Destructive Readers, a subreddit designed to mercilessly critique samples of your writing. These people did not hold back, and not once were my feelings hurt or my dreams crushed. I know I can handle criticism. I’ve just never had to deal with it on this large of a scale.

Anyway, I’m looking for beta readers. I’ll plan on looking at other sites for them too, but I figured I’d start here. And if anyone wants to send me their own manuscript, I’d be willing to swap critiques with them, too. (As long as it’s a reasonable length.) If you’re interested, please either comment below, or message me at mboyle988@gmail.com.

(Also, what’s the deal with Wattpad?)

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23 thoughts on “My Search for Beta Readers Begins

  1. I’m interested! (If I could try the first few chapters before fully committing, though, that’d be great.) What kind of feedback are you looking for?

    I have no manuscript to swap currently.

    1. Great! I can send you the first three chapters first, as those are the ones introducing the POV characters. Your email is kenichols@embarqmail.com, right?

      For feedback, I guess my main concern would be characterization and plot. Do the characters feel real and consistent? Any glaring plot holes? And is it always clear what’s going on?

      (I should also warn you that the book contains some violence and profanity that may be pushing it a bit, but then again, I don’t think it’s too much worse than, say, The Raven Cycle.)

      1. Yep, that’s my email!

        (I appreciate the warning, thank you. Profanity doesn’t bug me much but violence could. That’s part of the reason I requested the first bit before committing. ☺)

      2. Do you have a separate gmail account, by any chance? I’m not sure it’ll let you comment otherwise. (I still sent it to your original email, though.)

      3. I do have a separate Gmail account, but the two email are linked so that’s not a problem.

        There is one problem, though. I can’t comment at all from my tablet. Which would not be a problem except that my laptop is down. I hadn’t realized that this was an issue until just now. So I can read the first few chapters but I can’t do anything with them until my laptop is fixed or replaced. I could technically send emails about the chapters if you want but that’s a little bit of a pain for both of us.
        Not saying I can’t beta, just saying that it may be a while. I’m sorry.

        The other thing I just remembered. Do you have MS Word or a way to email me the document and not a link to it? Because I can make comments as I’m reading it on my Kindle (still have to eventually type them out in Google or Word but this gives some time at least, a way to read and make notes). I can’t do this with a PDF, it has to be a document but it would work for now. (Maybe I should read those first few chapters first and then we could resort to this after I decide to continue?)

      4. I could probably send it via microsoft word. It may take a while though, because if I recall, MS word has always been rather confusing when it came to sending docs.

      5. I could probably send it via microsoft word. It may take a while though, because if I recall, MS word has always been rather confusing for me when it came to sending docs.

      6. All you have to do is save the document, then go to your email, click “attachments” (in Gmail it’s a little paper clip icon near the bottom of the new email box), and select the document from My Computer when prompted.

  2. Me me me me me! Sounds intriguing. My Gmail is sm16125bc@gmail.com

    About Wattpad: I used to love it, for both readingb and writing. Anymore, though, it seems more geared toward social media than reading and writing. Also, the recently updated section used to update in real time as long as you refreshed the page, but now it only updates every few hours, which makes it hard to find new readers. Try Scribophile.

    1. Great! Sending you the google doc right now.

      I see what you mean for Wattpad. I think my main problem with it, from my fifteen minute look around, is the lack of good criticism. I remember seeing the first chapter of a story that was littered with typos and cliches, and the comments were like, “Woah, great chapter, man! This is intense.” If I wrote an opening scene that was *that* bad, I would want people to let me know.

      (Am currently looking into Scribophile to see what that’s about, and you’re right, it looks a lot better. I’ll probably sign up and give it a shot.)

  3. Hey I’d love to critique it! My email should be in the comment info I think – I don’t really want to share it publicly. If not, I’ll email you 😊

  4. Ah. The journey of finding BETA readers. I, too, am on that journey, so at least you are not alone. 🙂 Finding a good BETA reader, (i.e. one who will actually leave a review), seems to be near impossible. I don’t always like having friends and family read my pre-published books and give me feedback because…well. They’re bias! (HA)

    I hope that your journey to find BETAS ends with much success!

    Happy Reading & Writing!
    S.E.Isaac

  5. I think you’re right. Editing the synopsis (and technically, it’s a blurb; synopses tell the whole story) would probably be a good thing. But it certainly looks like, from the comments, you’ve been finding plenty of Beta Readers, so I guess it worked. 🙂

    By the way, you might be interested in the Writers Club. It offers editing and free blurb coaching to its members, and even helps authors get connected with beta readers (if you find out you still need feedback for any reason). https://www.patreon.com/AWritersPath

    I hope your beta readers end up as helpful as mine have been. I can’t imagine writing without them!

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