28 Essential Questions to Ask Beta Readers

To clarify, a beta reader is someone who provides feedback on a WIP (work in progress), helping an author refine and improve the story or flow of the message.

Beta readers can be invaluable in helping authors to identify holes, typos, and other issues that can be difficult to spot from the author’s own perspective. They can also provide valuable insight into how readers may react to the content, allowing authors to make changes before publishing. 

When looking for beta readers, it is important to find people who are willing to provide honest feedback, and who are, ideally, the target reader for your book. After all, if your book is about how to feel less anxious day-to-day but you ask someone who has never felt a tinge of anxiety to be a beta reader, she likely won't be terribly interested in the content or able to provide the most valuable feedback. 

I typically recommend having no more than 4 beta readers. Too many cooks in the kitchen can create quite a bit in a hurry as an author struggles to determine which beta reader's advice and thoughts are "right."

I also recommend giving your beta readers a deadline by which to provide their feedback. I have found that 2-4 weeks is the sweet spot; anything less than 2 weeks is often rushed while anything longer makes the deadline seem so far away that the reader puts it off (or outright forgets!).

In order not to get hampered by a wide array of opinions, it's extremely helpful for both you as the author and the beta reader to provide the reader with a clear set of questions.  

As a thank you for providing their insights, many authors provide beta readers with a free copy of the book once it comes out! And, keep in mind, many beta readers will jump at the chance to read your book before anyone else. Getting that privilege in and of itself is its own gift to many beta readers out there. It's the entire reason that ARCs (Advance Review Copies) are still coveted in the traditional publishing world! 

Remember, in the end, YOU get to decide what stays, goes, and is changed. If a beta reader's suggestions feels right, go with it! If it doesn't, let that help you feel ever more confident about owning what you've written and the way you've written it, and keep it exactly as it is!


Questions to ask beta readers to ensure that you get clear responses that help take your book from great to un-put-downable. 




  • What are 3 things you loved about this chapter?
  • What is one paragraph/story/discussion point you didn't feel was necessary?
  • What portion of this chapter do you feel could be expanded upon?
  • Where did you feel most "seen" in this chapter?
  • Where (if anywhere) did you feel confused?
  • How could I add to this chapter to make it more complete?
  • Were the next steps clear, useful, and practical? (If applicable)
  • Does the chapter title align with the content that follows?



  • Do the first 5 pages make you want to keep reading? If not, why did you lose interest?
  • Which chapter was your favorite and why?
  • Which chapter was your least favorite and why? (If applicable)
  • Did the meditations or exercises make sense as written? (if applicable)
  • Were they easy to follow? Did you feel yourself losing interest at any point?
  • Did any part of the book feel unnecessarily repetitive?
  • How would you describe this book to someone else?




*Mark each time you put the book down specifically because you lost interest (not because dinner was ready or it was 3am and you were bleary-eyed). This will help me know when the pacing may be off.

  • What did you take away as the main theme of the book?
  • Did the plot make sense to you? Which part of the book made you not want to put it down?
  • Where (if anywhere) did you feel the transition from one chapter to the next was too "jarring" (leaving you feeling as though you may have missed something)?
  • Do the first 5 pages make you want to keep reading? If not, why did you lose interest?
  • Did you feel yourself losing interest at any point?
  • Who was your favorite character?
  • Is there a relationship or situation you would like for me to have explored more in depth?
  • Was the dialogue believable?
  • Was there any point where it wasn't believable or required more than average focus to read through (this is relevant particularly if the author is attempting to write in a dialect)?
  • Did you notice any discrepancies in time, places, characters, or other details?
  • What do you think are the weakest two chapters? What do they seem to be missing?
  • Did you find the ending emotionally fulfilling?
  • How would you describe this book to someone else?



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