A beta reader is someone who reads your manuscript and provides feedback on what they liked and didn’t like about the story elements. There is some debate about when, during the various editing stages, a beta read should be done. In my opinion, it should be done either before your developmental edit (if you’re not sure that your story is solid enough yet) or just before your copyedit (if you’re confident that your story doesn’t need heavy changes). It’s best to not wait until after your copyedit, because if your beta reader suggests a lot of changes, your copyeditor won’t see those changes, and that may hinder the error-detection rate for your proofreader.
Most authors find beta readers who offer feedback for free. If you are one of the lucky ones, then you should absolutely stick with your free beta readers! Many authors have trouble finding them, however, and sometimes complain that they either never hear back from them or the feedback is too vague. My fee for beta reading is low, but it serves to guarantee that you will a.) secure a slot on my editorial calendar, b.) get the feedback you need, and c.) that the feedback will be thorough. Please note: Beta reading does not include fixing errors in your manuscript. It is reader feedback at the overall story level.
Beta Read 1.0
For this service, you will receive a Beta Reader Report that addresses the topics below. No comments will be added to your manuscript.
- Chapter One: did it capture my attention?
- Reading Notes: anything that jumps out at me while reading.
- Writing Style: does the writing flow well?
- Story World: does it feel real? can I “see” it?
- Plot: does it make sense and is it plot-hole-free?
- Characters: are they interesting? did I enjoy them?
- Dialogue: does it sound natural to my ear?
- Ending: did I feel a catharsis after the ending?
- Additional Notes
- Editorial Recommendation
Beta Read 2.0
This service includes the Beta Reader Report from Beta Read 1.0, plus the reader will add comments throughout your Word document. Comments will resemble:
- Great opening! This chapter makes me want to know more about [this thing].
- Things are starting to drag here. Consider [suggestion].
- I love this [scene, dialogue, other]!
- This seems out of character for [character]. Why did s/he do/say this?
- I [did/didn’t] see this [twist/plot point] coming.
- I can’t follow what’s happening in this [fight scene, conversation, other].
- This ending left me feeling [satisfaction level].
$0.0015 – $0.0025
I use “per word” pricing, since this is the easiest to calculate, and it leaves little room for misunderstanding. Costs for beta reading vary, depending on which option you choose. Use the calculator on the right to calculate your price based on which service you’d like.