Beta Reading Service
What is Beta Reading?
Beta reading provides an author or writer the opportunity to have their manuscript read by someone else as a reader, and not as an editor or proofreader. The beta reader provides feedback the author can incorporate as they polish their work before it goes to publication or to a professional editor.
Some people volunteer to beta read. This is great and within the writing community, I support volunteer beta reading as a way to give back and support other writers, especially indie authors. A common complaint among writers: "My beta readers don't give me any feedback or return my emails / messages." That won't happen with me unless I'm dead or on my deathbed. If I accept your manuscript for beta reading, I will provide a completed report or I will return your money with an explanation. Guaranteed.
Beta Reading Will Not Include:
- Line editing, copy editing, fact checking, or proofreading. No editing at all. I won’t tell you what to edit, though I may give examples. Editors edit, readers read.
- Any suggestion to change your author voice or your character's voice.
- A rewrite of your story. This is a different service.
- Reviewing your book on a sales platform (Amazon, etc.)
- Paid reviews are against the Amazon TOS and could get a book or the author banned.
While Beta Reading, I will not proofread your manuscript for spelling, grammar, correct facts, or edit anything. I may give examples of obvious errors, or point out an erroneous fact if I happen to spot it.
Beta Reading means I won't make any changes to your manuscript at all. Instead, you get a detailed report of anything that I think you need to know. I’m glad to address any concerns that you want me to include in the report. Please present your questions or desired focal points at the start of the process, not the end.
My report and comments are for private communication between myself and you, the author and not meant for publication. If you want to share praise with friends and family, by all means, but don’t post anything I wrote in my report as part of a review on Amazon or other platform.
Beta Reading Includes:
A complete read of your manuscript from the perspective of a reader.
- Provide honest, objective, and respectful feedback in the form of a report to help you polish the manuscript. The report includes what I found great, not so great, and just as importantly, what I felt was awful. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Without all three, any report is useless.
- Offer constructive criticism and advice about your characters, the story arc, dialog, pacing, plausibility, and plot holes or inconsistencies.
- Give respectful and thoughtful comments on your writing including common style issues, general construction, and story line.
- Point out structural issues that detract from the reading experience.
- Determine readability from a reader’s point of view.
- Do you have a great hook?
- Ease of reading.
- What did I think of your plot, characters, and style?
- What did I like, dislike, hate, or love?
- Did you leave me with questions or wanting more?
- Most memorable moment.
Nearly always, I read manuscripts with Amazon's Kindle App on my Android tablet, Android phone, or desktop computer. I may keep notes as I read, but most of the report is written after I finish.
Beta Reading Process:
It starts with your manuscript in the final stages before publication. You wrote the entire story and then edited it. After it sat for a short period, you edited again. You should not ask any beta reader, including volunteers, to read an unedited manuscript. Asking me to read an unedited manuscript is the most common reason I reject a manuscript for beta reading. Volunteer beta readers abandon manuscripts for the same reason.
At the very least you have:
- used an online grammar checker and did your best to resolve differences between actual problems and the imperfect algorithms that any grammar checker must employ. The English language thrives on inconsistencies. I often suggest that writers use two grammar checkers. Check a chapter in one, then the other, and compare.
- employed a spell checker. Try to remember that a spell checker can’t spot a correctly spelled word used incorrectly. “Its not always obvious.”
- whittled conversations down to dialogue.
- no inappropriate tense changes.
Your book fits a genre that I can look at objectively as a reader.
Accepted Fiction Genres in Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult: Dystopia, Apocalypse, Science Fiction, Thriller, High Fantasy, Fantasy, Crime, Romance, and Mystery.
Also accepting memoirs of Pioneering and Homesteading or similar stories of personal achievement.
Send your completed and self-edited manuscript in .epub .doc .docx .odt or .rtf. You can share a link to a Google Doc if that is your writing platform. Include any particular aspect of the manuscript or questions you want me to give special attention. I will review a random chapter or two and decide whether or not to take the project and dive in. If I do, you’ll receive an invoice for 50% of the total fee via Paypal or other billing service. Payment means you agree to the terms enclosed with the invoice.
In most cases, I will complete the report within three weeks. Usually less, but count on three weeks. I will read your book from beginning to end and write my report (view a sample report.) At completion, I will send you an invoice for the second payment. After payment, you will receive my report.
Please remember, I am a professional freelance writer who relies on reputation to make a living. I don't do that by ripping people off, but you would be amazed at how many people try to talk me into performing services without payment.
I’ll answer general questions via email. I read 2-3 books a week for my own pleasure, and try to beta read at least one book every two to three weeks. Writing professionally also requires a considerable amount of reading. After a week, answering anything but the most general of questions becomes difficult.
Fees are non-refundable unless for some reason I am unable to complete the work. You are asking for my opinion. I will give it as honestly and respectfully as possible. We are all different and cannot always agree. Just because I include some aspect of your manuscript in my report as possibly needing change, doesn’t mean you must change it. I'm looking at your manuscript as a reader, you look at it as a writer. Two very different perspectives.
Basic Beta Reading Fee includes a complete report about your book and starts at USD $10.00 per 10,000 words, rounded up, $50.00 Minimum. For example, an 83,000-word MS and an 87,000-word MS both cost USD $90.00. A 30,000 word manuscript costs $50.00 to meet the minimum cost.
Basic Beta Reading includes a standard turnaround of three weeks from date of payment.
Addon Services for Additional Cost
Rush Service: 1-week turnaround. USD 60.00
Super Rush: 3-day turnaround. USD 120.00
Skype Report for Additional Cost
After you receive your written report, we can discuss via Skype using screen share to examine the manuscript or the report, or both.
30-minute Skype Report – USD 30.00
60-minute Skype Report – USD 60.00