The seed to BetaReader.io was sown when Jonas worked on his second novel and was trying the story out with his umpteenth round of beta readers. He had send the manuscript, a roughly 80K words sci-fi story, to around 20 people, and sat on his chamber, keenly awaiting their feedback. Problem was, it never came. Or, it did come, but not in the structured way that he had hoped for. Some of the readers finished the story within a couple of weeks, others within a couple of months, and a few, not at all. As for the feedback, some sent it as requested after each chapter, others waited until they were finished, and others forgot to send it at all. And it came in all shapes and forms. One would use an email conversation, another one would send a page full of notes with references to the text, and another one would send an annotated PDF.
On top of that, he realized that the feedback that he could get out of a traditional beta reading process would only ever give him half of the picture. It would let him know what the readers said about the story, but not how they actually read it. If he could lurk behind their shoulders while they read, he could catch their reactions as they progressed through the story, and understand if his carefully crafted words had the desired effects. But as much as he wanted, he couldn’t lurk over their shoulders. That would be awkward.
“There must be a better way,” Jonas thought, and started searching the Internet.
But, it turned out, there wasn’t. He couldn’t find any tool or platform that let him easily share his manuscript to a large amount of readers, collect their feedback in a streamlined way, keep track of where they were and how fast they read, and analyze their reading patterns to understand if he was on the right track.
Luckily, aside from writing prose, Jonas knew how to write code. So he rolled up his sleeves, procrastinated away from the book, and started crafting BetaReader.io. Other authors signed up to try it out. Alfred Ruth, entrepreneur and author of the Fermi’s Filter trilogy, caught wind of the project and offered to invest in it in exchange for becoming an early adopter. Jonas quit his job, drafted Axel from Spotify, and here we are!
We hope that you’ll get as much joy out of BetaReader.io as we get from building it.