Kayla Hicks - Author Kayla Hicks - Author

Incorporating Reader Feedback Into the Writing Process

4 min read

Authors who provide readers with targeted questions and divide their feedback into phases will have a stronger book

A crucial part of any story’s success is the feedback that writers gather from their early readers.

Why? Because we writers are constantly reading and rereading our writing. And we become so invested in our work that it’s easy for us to miss the mistakes that could be staring us straight in the face.

To make an impact on the story with the reader’s feedback, writers need to provide targeted questions and divide their feedback into phases.

Target Questions

When creating these questions, keep in mind what areas you are unsure of first of all.

I base the first few questions on areas of concern that I have. This helps me clear my head knowing that I got those concerns out of the way. After these, I try to focus the rest of the questions on the reader to get their opinion.

I ask them:

  • What did you like the best about the book?

  • What areas did you feel need more work?

  • What didn’t you like about the book or characters? (It’s okay to tell me, it makes the book better!)

  • Any other comments you would like to add?

By adding these questions, I am allowing the reader the be completely honest.

In reality, when I am gaining feedback from alpha and beta readers, I try to have a wide selection of feedback. This means for each book, I have 4 or 5 readers who can give me this kind of feedback. Each person is going to give me different perspectives and feedback that will enhance the book.

This also means I need to take the time to see what feedback comes back across the board.

Oftentimes, a problem that every reader has is a larger problem that needs fixing. Sometimes if one of your four readers finds a discrepancy, that means it’s worth looking into but if you choose to not change it, it may not bother most readers. That being said, however, if people are taking the time to read and give you feedback, you need to be willing to look into that feedback.

This means, that even if you don’t like the feedback you receive, it’s worth considering if it makes the book better.

For more information on alpha and beta readers, check out Authors need three types of readers to ensure a polished published book.

Dividing Feedback Into Phases

This means that during every step of the process, a specific reader with a specific task is going to read it before it’s published. Because during these steps, your book is going to take on the most transformation. Then, when this end-result reader gets their hands on it, it will be glorious.

An important remember is gathering your feedback in phases will help your story come out stronger.

For example, if you get your grammatical edits and early plot flaws looked at with the help of your early readers (alpha readers), then the beta readers, later on, can focus on the remaining story flaws.

Divide the feedback you gather in waves to help the overall picture come to life.

Types of readers that fill these waves of feedback:

Alpha Reader

An alpha reader is going to read your book after the first draft is complete. This means they are going to provide editing feedback and developmental feedback. By having this reader, you are going to have much less work for the editor down the road. And you are going to want to use this reader for the second draft as well.


This person is considered a reader because they are looking at your work from a different perspective. They are giving you feedback from an editor’s eye on what is going to improve the book. This should be the round of professional editing you receive and should pay for.

Beta Reader

Beta readers are the most commonly misunderstood readers. This is because many authors/ writers mistake them for completing the Alpha Readers job. However, the beta reader is the last set of eyes who should be seeing your work before you submit your book to be published. They catch the things everyone else can’t.

When writers incorporate their reader’s feedback into their process, the chances of their story coming out stronger than before are only stronger because of it.