Beta Reading

Beta Reading

Beta readers provide feedback on your book before it is published. The term is a spinoff of the “beta testers” who test new computer software (the beta version) before it is released for sale. Having a beta read can help the author improve the book. It can also give the author confidence to move forward with publishing.

Beta readers can be friends and family members, members of your writing group, or even connections you’ve made online. Many writers swap beta reading services. These beta readers can provide valuable feedback.

Professional Beta Read

The reasons why you might also be interested in hiring a professional editor for a beta read are the following:

  • Sometimes friends and family don’t follow through; I will
  • Sometimes friends and family offer limited feedback (“I loved it!” or “Not for me.”); I’ll provide detail
  • Sometimes friends and family have trouble being objective or critical; I’ll be honest (but kind!)

A beta read of your manuscript includes feedback on the following, which I will send in a letter:

  • Overall thoughts: Did I enjoy the story and characters? Does the plot seem logical and complete? Do I see any problems? For nonfiction, is the material complete and well organized?
  • Impressions: What did I like? What did I dislike? What questions and impressions did the book give me or make on me?
  • Readability: Was the book easy to read or did it drag in some places? Was it confusing?
  • Editorial evaluation: What do I recommend for further editorial services (such as copyediting)?

If you have specific concerns, I welcome you to send me a list before I start. A rate estimate is $0.0025 per word; I will quote an actual rate after reading a few pages. After receiving my letter following the beta read, you can send a follow up email with any questions you have.

Professional Beta Read Plus

A beta read is a low-cost way to get overall feedback about your book. If you’d like, I can also leave comments throughout the manuscript, pointing out specific words or sentences that popped out as problematic. This can include places where the action drags or skips ahead, places where the narrative slips into “telling” the reader something instead of showing it to the reader, and places where the writing is confusing. This “beta read plus” takes longer and therefore costs more. A rate estimate is $0.02 per word. I will quote an actual rate after editing a few pages; I will send you the sample edit so that you can see if the feedback seems helpful.

Types of manuscripts

I am open to beta reading many types of manuscripts. These include the following:

  • General nonfiction
  • General adult fiction
  • Young adult and new adult fiction
  • Romance

I do not read horror or manuscripts with graphic violence.

Please contact me to discuss your manuscript and if I am a good fit as a beta reader.