Over the course of the last couple years, I’ve learned a lot about having those awesome people called beta readers. They are a wonderful group of people who help make my stories all they can be by providing valuable feedback before publication.
One of the first things I noticed with my first round of beta readers was that I wasn’t getting the specific feedback that I was looking for from some of them. The problem was that I hadn’t given them enough direction, giving them the questions I wanted answered. With my first book especially, I wasn’t even sure what those questions were.
I’ve done some digging and incorporated questions from various authors who have well worded questionnaires. I can’t recall all of the sources, but one was author Dannika Dark.
Now I have my own questionnaire, and I’ve had a lot of requests to see and use it. Rather than giving it to each author individually, I’m posting it here for anyone who would like to use it.
Authors, feel free to take all or part of the questionnaire as it applies to your stories. Horror authors, for example, will have some questions that aren’t asked here. Those without romance in their books will want to remove those questions.
Beta Reader Questionnaire
Thank you for taking the time to read my story! Please read the questions before starting the story, so they’ll be in the back of your mind as you’re reading.
Were the first paragraphs and first page compelling? Did they make you want to keep reading? If not, what was the problem?
Did you get oriented fairly quickly at the beginning as to whose story it is, what’s going on, and where and when it’s taking place? If not, what were you confused about at the beginning?
Did the story continue to hold your interest through the first few chapters? Or is there a point where your interest started to lag?
Were there characters that needed development or focus?
Could you relate to the main character? Did you feel her/his pain, joy, fears, worry, excitement?
Which characters did you connect to and like? (Or love to hate?)
Are there any characters you think could be made more interesting or more likable?
Could the bad guy(s) be nastier or more interesting? How?
Did you get confused about who’s who in the characters? Are there too many characters to keep track of? Are any of the names or characters too similar?
Did the main characters have chemistry and did their relationship make sense?
Which side characters are you curious to know more about after reading this installment?
Did you have to reread any part of the romantic scenes or interactions to figure out what was going on?
Did any of the romantic dialogue or interactions make you cringe?
Did anything make you feel uncomfortable? What and how?
How well did you think the relationship developed between the couple and how did it serve the story?
Did the dialogue sound natural to you? If not, whose dialogue did you think sounded artificial?
Were you able to visualize where and when the story is taking place?
Did the setting pull you in, and did the descriptions seem vivid and real to you?
Plot, Pacing, Scenes:
Was the story interesting to you? Did it drag in parts? Where?
Which scenes/paragraphs/lines did you really like?
Which parts were exciting and should be elaborated on, with more details?
Which parts bored you and should be compressed or even deleted? What parts did you dislike or not like as much?
Was there anything that confused, frustrated, or annoyed you?
What parts resonated with you and/or moved you emotionally?
Did you understand every phrase / term I used? If not, which ones?
Did you notice any discrepancies or inconsistencies in time sequences, places, character details, plot, etc.?
Can you SEE every action clearly?
If you went there in real life, would you recognize the places? If not, elaborate.
Did you have to reread any part of the ACTION SEQUENCES to understand who was doing what? List any issues lines/paragraphs that didn’t make sense and required a re-read.
Could you SEE what the characters looked like clearly? If not, who?
Do you think the writing style fits the story and genre? If not, why not?
Was the ending satisfying?
Was the ending believable?
Grammar, spelling, punctuation:
While you were reading, did you notice any obvious, repeating grammatical, spelling, punctuation or capitalization errors?
In your opinion, what are the main strengths of the story? The main weaknesses of the story?
Anything additional you want to add?
Image by alaina.buzas