For this episode of our author interview series, we poked freelance writer Shannon Evans to get to know her a little better. She is currently testing her story Let the Light In on, so make sure to sign up to read it before she publishes!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you typically write?

– I’ve always loved to write, but I started writing my first novel when on maternity leave, as I needed more of a mental challenge. I’m in the editing stage now. It’s probably classed as contemporary women’s fiction with romance elements. If I write another novel, I’d probably stick with realistic fiction/women’s fiction, as that’s what I most love to read.

How important would you say that beta readers are for your books?

– Hugely important! You get so mired in your own work that you can’t see it objectively anymore. Some of my readers have brought up issues or made comments that were really useful but that I’d never even thought of.

How many beta readers do you typically draft for a project? 

– This is my first project and I haven’t gotten my ideal number yet, but I can see at least 10 being ideal. Everyone has their own opinions and reads a story differently. They come at it with their own experiences, pasts, prejudices, likes and dislikes, so I can’t take on everyone’s advice (especially as a lot of opinions are conflicting). But if a lot of people are giving the same sort of comments, it’s worth paying attention.

What kind of feedback or information do you look for when running a beta?

– By the time I showed my novel to betas, I had already gone through the book a few times, so I was mostly looking for feedback on plot inconsistencies, things that were unrealistic, things that could be easily cut from the story without taking away from it, and underdeveloped characters.

Has your test on rendered any insights that made you tweak your story? 

– Yes, it’s been very helpful so far, especially because it’s allowed strangers to read my book, which in this case was better than friends reading it – strangers can often be more honest!

What are your best tips for other authors who are thinking about starting to work with beta readers? 

– Make sure you’ve already gone through your book a few times and done some self-editing. Beta readers are different to Alpha readers. Betas generally want to help you out with the bigger picture stuff, not fixing typos.

Shannon Evans author image

Originally from Florida, Shannon Evans writes from the UK where she lives with her husband and young son. Read more from Shannon Evans on her website: