Beta readers: Who are you? Where are you?

I have a confession to make. All of you agents to whom I’ve already sent queries, please turn the other way for a moment. I’ll tell you when you can begin reading again.

I haven’t beta-tested my manuscripts yet. It flat-out didn’t occur to me. I’m naive, remember? And I’m not really sure how to find good beta readers, or whom they should be. Or what to ask of them. I somehow overlooked all the cautions from many agents that they want the manuscript beta tested before the query arrives. I’ve had a couple of family members alpha test it — that is, read a chapter here or there while I was actually writing, and give me feedback.

But no one’s gotten the whole manuscript with the instructions, read it, tell me what you think, be brutally honest, please. It seems to me that’s a lot to ask of someone, and I just didn’t bother.

OK agents with my queries in hand, you may resume reading again here. Thanks.

There’s a lot of advice out there on finding good beta readers, and what they are, but there doesn’t seem to be a consensus.

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