Poetry Book Beta Reading Checklist

On Time Typing, Editing and Proofreading‘s Beta Readers read and review your poetry book manuscript then write a Beta Reading Report that addresses the items in the checklist below.

Our Poetry Book Beta Reading Checklist


  1. Preliminary pages (introduction, table of contents etc.) Is there anything missing? Any incorrect information? How can this section be improved?
  2. Grade each poem as follows:  Excellent (does not need editing); Good but needs some editing; or Needs a lot of work (that is, either rewrite/edit the poem, or delete it).
  3. Rate each poem as ‘Like’ or ‘Do not like,’ and the reasons for this.
  4. Are the first and last poems the best poems for those important positions?
  5. Are there any two poems that say the same thing (or are too similar)?
  6. Are there any single poems that would be better separated into two distinct poems?
  7. Are there any poems that detract from the whole and should be deleted?
  8. Is the order of the poems logical and does it keep you engaged? Suggest any improvements to the order and the reasons.
  9. Title: rate as ‘Like’ or ‘Dislike’, the reasons for this, and any suggestions.
  10. Cover (if supplied): Is it engaging? Are there any ways it can be improved?
  11. Are there any other issues? Suggest any improvements.

In conclusion, we may recommend:

  • further self-editing by you, based on our Beta Reading Report
  • a manuscript appraisal by a professional editor who specialises in editing poetry, to give you more detailed guidance for self-editing
  • engagement of a professional editor who specialises in editing poetry, to edit your manuscript
  • improvements to the title or cover by you or your graphic designer
  • (if your manuscript does not need editing or proofreading) proceed to design and/or publication.

This article has been proofread by Dee Sansom from On Time Typing, Editing and Proofreading.

Photo: Sally-Anne Watson Kane.

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