The process of revising long-form fiction or journalism is a lonely one filled with self-doubt and frustration. Beta readers (the people that read your piece prior to pursuit of publication) ease the process and can motivate the author to take the piece to new heights. As with all parts of the writing process, choosing and utilizing beta readers needs to be done carefully. Their comments hold great power over the piece that you may have spent months or years developing.
On her Write & Publish like a Pro blog, Belinda Pollard writes that she considers beta readers the
superheroes of self-publishing as well as great for people pursuing traditional publishing. They’re superheroes because they can truly “save the day” on mistakes that an author might not see.