In 2012, I asked one of my Facebook (FB) friends if she needed another beta reader to look at her police procedural novel. That’s how I got started as a beta reader. A couple of years later, I got an editing gig that didn’t end well. (I found it through Craigslist. Do not recommend.) I got discouraged and decided to give up beta reading/editing indefinitely, maybe forever. And then, in 2016, I posted on FB that I was bored and needed something to do. A friend asked me if I would like to beta read her cozy mystery, and I’ve been beta reading (or alpha reading) ever since.
If you are an author or an aspiring author who hasn’t used beta readers, but is interested in finding a few, I have posted some information below that might be helpful to you.
FB has many groups where authors can post a request for beta readers, including: Beta Readers & Critiques; Beta Readers and Critique Partners; Free Beta Readers, Critiques, and Editors; and Beta Readers Writers Club. You must be a member of those groups in order to post your request. There also are a lot of sites on the Internet with information about beta reading. Those sites are too numerous to mention here, but they can be found by googling How do I find a beta reader. Some of them allow authors to request beta readers. Again, you usually have to be a member in order to do so. And yes, some of those sites are paid member sites.
The number of beta readers you request is up to you. If possible, it’s probably best to accept a few more than you think you need. Sadly, it isn’t uncommon for beta readers to accept a read and then never follow through. Although most beta readers read for free, some of them do charge fees. Again, it’s up to you if you think using a paid beta reader would be worth spending the money. If you do decide that a paid reader is the way to go, it might be a good idea to ask for references.
When requesting beta readers, be sure to include: Genre, if writing fiction; word count; and a brief description of your WIP. Also let prospective readers know if you’re mostly looking for comments about a particular element; e.g., plot, characters, or pacing. Conversely, let them know if there are any elements that you don’t want them to critique. And always let readers know what your deadline is for receiving their comments.