Get an early, honest opinion of your manuscript.
Defining Beta Readers
Whether you’re an avid reader or an author, you’ve probably heard the term “beta reader” before. But what exactly is a beta reader, and why should you have some? (Yeah, you read that right, you probably need several.)
A beta reader can be compared to beta testers, a term used in software or game development. These testers get early access to a “beta version” of the end-product and take it for a spin, trying it out to see how it works and find bugs for the programmers to fix before it is widely distributed to the public. This means that your beta readers will read your book ahead of publication and give you an opinion of the work, preferably one that’s objective and unbiased.
This is your chance to gauge whether your book will soar like an eagle or go splat on the ground, leaving an unsightly mess in imaginary e-bookstore aisles. In some cases, authors hire me to do an alpha reading, though we never really call it that.
In addition to beta reading, authors can now opt to upgrade to a sensitivity reading, which will identify potential sensitive issues that come up in the manuscript.
Where to Find Beta Readers
Relevant forum communities are a good place to look. You can also ask friends, family, and fellow authors to beta read for you. You can recruit beta readers on social media platforms or ask your fans if they’re interested. Beta readers are most commonly free.
In short, beta readers can be found everywhere, but perhaps a better question is: Where do you find good beta readers? No author wants to send their book out to betas and get back feedback like, “Yeah, it was good” or “Didn’t like” or just not hear back at all. I can provide you with feedback on your manuscript with my beta reading service.
Why I Charge for Beta Reading
If beta readers are usually free, then you’re probably wondering why you should bother paying someone like me to beta read your manuscript. It’s probably more accurate to say that I offer an early review than a beta read. And while some authors are able to find good, reliable beta readers for free, some find themselves with an entire group of betas who don’t follow through.
My work hours are reserved for editing work, making beta reading something I do during my free time. If I don’t have a monetary obligation to beta read, it tends to fall off my list of things to do, getting lost among other tasks I also do for free such as laundry for a family of five, cooking, and this really fun thing called sleeping.
What I Provide with Beta Reading
Should you hire me to beta read your manuscript, I will provide you with a feedback letter covering the following:
- Readability of your manuscript. In other words, how quickly did I read your book, how much did I enjoy it, and where did it drag?
- Reader’s opinion. As a reader, what did I think of your plot, your characters, and your writing style?
- Positives and negatives. What about your book did I love or hate?
- Questions. As a reader, what questions did I have about the story? It’s up to you to decide whether this is what you want readers to be asking themselves when reading.
- Editorial evaluation. What do I, as an editor, think your manuscript needs in the way of further editorial services?
- Email discussion of your manuscript. Limited to broad question and answer format.
Feedback will be provided in the form of a PDF. You are welcome to submit a list of questions as a guide, but they will not be reviewed until after the reading and after my letter is written.
Types of manuscripts accepted for beta reading:
- Short stories
Unfortunately, I do not beta read nonfiction at this time.
Please note that with my current schedule, I tend to be more selective about beta reading projects that I accept. If you are seeking immediate feedback, I am most likely not the best fit for you as a beta reader.
Here’s the short version of what my beta reading service includes:
Did I like it? Was it boring? Would I buy it? A theoretical star reading will be provided.
How fast did I read your book? What parts dragged and what parts were un-put-downable?
Who did I love? Who did I hate? Who was forgettable? I give brief character opinions.
Pros and Cons
Learn what I think are the good and bad parts about your book.
A list of questions about the book will be provided. I can also answer a short list of your own questions for me as a reader.
My beta reading service does not include the following:
Q&A is limited to opinion questions.
Typos and/or missing words will not be pointed out.
Punctuation and formatting errors will not be pointed out.