Short Story Package Price: $150
Standard Package Price: $325
As a beta reader I read a work of fiction with a critical eye, with the aim of improving grammar, spelling, characterization, and general style of a story prior to its release to the general public. I offer a higher level of beta reading services that could be compared to editing.
I think people are often confused about the different types of editing – many readers think that editing tends to involve correcting spellings and grammar, but the kind of editing I do is a structural and line edit, where I look at how the book as a whole fits together. Does a key revelation come too early or too late in the book? Do we need to know more of a character’s back story before we can truly understand what motivates them? Does the author have certain words or phrases that they may perhaps over use, and are there alternatives that could work better? Does it seem odd that a young character may use fairly old-fashioned language or is that precisely the point?
I’m excellent with grammar and spelling but also have a more critical eye when it comes to cutting down wordiness and other sentence structure issues.
I’m best at finding better ways to articulate an idea by offering word substitutions. I have strength in imagination, perspective, improvisation and spelling. I can adapt to any story, whether horror, comedy, fantastic, romantic, adventure, etc. I have the ability to adapt a story in a way that seems more coherent and orderly.
I’m not available for reviewing stories about explicit sex in any of its forms and varieties.
I will also write a review for your new publication and post it on Amazon and Goodreads etc.
I do charge a fee for my services as my time is valuable and I provide services closer to that of an editor. I charge a flat rate and I will require up to two weeks to complete a reading with structural and line edit.
Short Story Package Price: $150
Standard Package Price: $325
If you are serious about publishing,
your first readers should be
And just what is a beta reader?
Think of beta readers as superhero partner/readers for your WIP. Correctly employed, your superheroes can save you time and money. How? I’m glad you asked!
Ideally, you want to assemble a team of beta readers. By getting focused, constructive criticism from multiple viewpoints, you’ll be able to identify (and you’ll have the opportunity to address) potential problems with your manuscript before you spend money on professional editing. Then, when you do hire an editor, you’ll get more bang for your buck.
Each one of your superheroes will have a different strength, and no one beta reader will offer the same level of advice in every area. (That’s why you’ll get the most comprehensive feedback from a team.) Some will be generalists, some will be detail-oriented, but they’ll each see your story in a new way, because
Beta readers approach your manuscript from a fresh point of view.
Here are the types of beta readers who make perfect team members:
- The Workhorse: a reader who is very familiar with your genre—perhaps a reviewer of books in your genre who can let you know if the story is entertaining, has a good flow and interesting characters, and where you dropped the ball if something isn’t working.
- The Expert: a writer with an intimate knowledge of both the type of story you’ve written and the craft of storytelling. This reader/writer can be invaluable when it comes to constructive criticism about the way you’ve told your story and can offer useful suggestions for other things to try.
- The Professor: this is the stickler for grammar. Of course, you’ve already run spell-check and grammar-check programs, but this type of proofreading step will save you time and money when you’re ready to hire a professional editor.
- The Bookworm: a reader who is representative of your average reader, perhaps a reviewer, maybe just an avid reader, but someone who can let you know about the experience of reading your book. Do your opening pages create a desire to keep reading? Does the action slow down in the middle of the story? Are the characters fully fleshed out?
Now, how does this team do its magic?
The short answer is: That’s up to you.
You decide what guidance, if any, your beta readers get. Do you want to ask your readers to look for specific things, or do you want to let them read the work and give their natural reactions? If you are concerned about a specific issue, by all means ask your superheroes to zero in on that part of your manuscript. If you prefer to just cut them loose and see what they come up with, you can do that, too. (Hint: most beta readers appreciate some guidance, so feel free to create a list of things that are important to you.) Through trial and error, you’ll learn who provides the type of valuable critique you’re looking for . . . and who doesn’t.
What is the most valuable skill beta readers possess?
It’s the ability to be honest with you.
This point cannot be overstated. Critiquing a manuscript isn’t a popularity contest, so surrounding yourself with people who will tell you how wonderful your story is and what a great writer you are won’t help you. (Your spouse, parent, or BFF probably won’t be as objective as you need a beta reader to be, either.)
I’m not suggesting you take every suggestion to heart and revise your manuscript by committee, but do give careful consideration to each suggestion, and then reject those that really don’t work for you. If three of your four beta readers make the same observation about your tendency to overuse adverbs, for example, you’ll be wise to go through your manuscript one more time to see how many adverbs you can remove.
Your beta readers’ input allows you to go back and do minor (or even major) revising before you spend your hard-earned money on professional editing . . . which means your editor’s time can be spent on helping you polish the remaining rough edges instead of trying to explain why your character’s motivation doesn’t make sense or your middle chapters lack action.