It is alright to simply enjoy writing and collect your work in your drawer. But maybe you already feel an urge to show your work to someone. Move on. Get a few opinions. Or you’ve been trying to find betas (more about them and other types of readers here) for a long time and you did not succeed. Beta readers and critque partners can help you save a lot of money since the editors will deal with a much more polished manuscript when other people read it for you. Here are some ideas on how to gain readers in the wide and wild online world.
Make it brief and interesting
You need to grab the attention of the audience. Try to write your beta reader/critique partner call effectively. No paragraph-long sentences, cut redundant adjectives and adverbs, use a strong, cheerful, or gloomy tone … anything that fits your work and presents its essence. Be polite and check your grammar. Also, avoid whining or self-praise. Make your work as interesting as possible.
What you should say
Your possible new reader needs to know the following:
The genre, a brief description of the main character/s, what condition your manuscript is in right now, any significant points of interest (such as the clichés you are breaking or using.) Mention also the specifics of your chosen historical period, new sci-fi and fantasy elements, some marginal social group you are writing about… Also, feel free to use comparison and name some well-known published work in case of any similarities.
What you can say
Are you willing to swap works? Don’t worry, this extra reading of someone else’s work will cost you time and energy, but you also secure feedback for yourself this way. And you can learn something new.
Are you also willing to provide a (financial) reward?
Do you have a time limit when you need to have the feedback?
If you have sex described in the book, it would be good to specify the extent.
The same goes for bloody details and violence.
If you need an expert in a specific area, because your character is a veterinarian, a police officer, has asthma… be sure to let potential readers know.
Use an image
It’s a proven marketing strategy. Find a suitable image that captures your work and increases the chances that it will attract a good beta. As a second image, you can also present a print screen from an interesting scene from your story.
Hand on your heart now, do you spend your whole life scrolling writing pages and groups? Hopefully, not. Neither do your potential readers. Many are forced to set aside their hobby for months or weeks. Family problems, school, work, health … Maybe the right person will respond in a few months.
And then there is the active group of users who see and are interested in your post, but have three other feedbacks in progress and simply don’t have a space for yours right now. That can change. Keep reminding people of your presence.
If you don’t get any response at all and you’ve met the points above, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your work is terrible and you have to delete it immediately.
Try repeating the challenge several times a month. Also, regularly look for new places to post that you may have previously missed. Facebook and Goodreads are great places to find supportive writing friends.
Effective reader/writing partner call:
I’m looking for some willing readers for the first three chapters of my detective story. Golden rings are no longer rare, right. But what about a golden ring with an engraved secret code? The owner is dead. And the marks on her throat rule out a natural death. Who killed this old lady? What’s the code for? Dorris, the daughter of a retired detective, is determined to face the perpetrators and uncover the mystery. Only then will she finally get the attention and love of her bitter father. She is also worried about beaten servants in the neighboring household. Her own beloved Indian maid refuses to tell her what the problem is, but she’s obviously scared.
Victorian England is a beautiful setting, but this story is set in colonial India. So there are tigers and heat. In addition to family relationships and the mystery surrounding the murder, I also deal with human rights. It would be appropriate to warn you, there are several descriptions of injuries and dead bodies in the text.
The main heroine is young, suitors revolve around her, but romance is touched only occasionally.
I am absolutely willing to swap chapters, it would be great to find a stable friend for permanent cooperation.
Please contact me here …
Really bad idea (which we, sadly, see often in all kinds of writing places):
So I’m trying it here for the third time. I really don’t know what to do anymore. Please, I need readers. I have five chapters here. Psycho novel, really flying. Better than King, really.