How helpful are beta readers?
Enormously. It’s all very well knowing what you want to say and how you want to say it, but even the best writers need some new perspectives sometimes, to point out what you might have missed – those small plot points you had in your head but forgot to mention on the page, or even vital steps of explanation. Sometimes characters will be underdeveloped in early drafts, because a writer may already feel he or she knows these characters so well in their head. Beta readers aren’t just helpful, they’re vital. They keep writers honest; they hold our feet to the fire, and the finished book is always better as a result of their input.