Beta Reading

One can safely assume that if you are exploring editorial options, you are an avid reader or a writer and you have probably heard the term “beta reader” before. But what is a beta reader, exactly? And why should you seek out several (yes, many)?

A straightforward analogy is to look to beta testers in computer development for things like applications, software, and even video games. These testers are given access to very early developmental stages of the product and encouraged to provide feedback to help the developers fine-tune said product for distribution. So, to extend this analogy into beta reading, your readers will read your book in the early stages, often just after the manuscript is complete and before finding an editor, giving you an opinion of the work.

It is a wonderful opportunity for an author to gauge their work and to begin the editing process before seeking out developmental editing. A beta reader can be found in your group of friends, within your family, people in your local writing community, on forums and online writing communities. Beta readers can be anyone and everyone and are commonly free. So why should you pay for a service that is often given freely?

Why You Should Hire Me

Have you ever asked a friend to check out your latest project or to give you feedback on a piece of writing and were met with comments that are vague-yet-encouraging? Comments like “Oh yeah, that was great!” without any further depth or analysis? It is pretty common for those close to us to resist providing objective feedback; it happily means that those people care about you a great deal. Unfortunately, it can be not such a positive thing for your manuscript.

On the flip-side, what do you do with feedback that simply states, “I didn’t like it” with no further clarification? It is impossible to make changes to your manuscript based on these vague statements and noncommittal reviews. Some authors find favor with the writing gods and find good, reliable beta readers for free. But some are left adrift amid oceans of noncommittal betas who don’t follow through.

I use beta reading as a way to offer an early, in-depth review of your work. I take reading the early stages of a manuscript as a sort of sacred task–it is your labor of love, and I will do my utmost to give you the tools that you need to carry it forward into the next stages of development.

Rates

For beta reading services, I charge $2.25/1000 words with a minimum of $15 per project.

Beta Reading Delivery

So you want me to beta read your manuscript! Excellent! You will receive a feedback letter in PDF format that includes notes on the following:

  • Overall opinion. As a reader, what did I think of your plot, characters, style/tone, etc.?
  • Readability. Were there issues in pacing? How quickly did I read through the book? Where does the narrative drag or catch?
  • Positives and negatives. A detailed list of the things I loved and did not love.
  • Questions. As a reader, these are the questions that came up for me in reading through the story that I feel need resolution. 
  • Email discussion. Q&A format, limited in scope.