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DivaLeanne
07-31-2009, 12:33 PM
Hey everyone!

I have a strange question. What is the difference between and Editor and a Beta Reader? Does one get paid, the other one doesn't?

I hope I am not making myself look like a fool, asking such a silly question...but I have no idea what the difference is ...:Shrug:

Mumut
07-31-2009, 02:02 PM
A beta reader is someone who reads your finished work and gives you thoughts and ideas, shows typos etc - to the extent of thir ability. I've had a couple of members of re-enactment groups read my books but I didn't expect any help with the technical writing side of things. It was only for the historical content. I have a 14yo living next door who reads the manuscripts to tell me if the story runs fast enough for him and keeps him interested throughout. He tells me if a section is too slow. I'm lucky. My betas are happy to do this for a free copy of the book with their name in the Acknowledgments.

An editor is someone who has recognised qualifications in editing, preferably, and is a member of an editing society. An editor will deal with the technical correctness of the writing. The grammar will be checked for correctness etc. Usually this costs quite a lot of money.

DoomieBey
07-31-2009, 02:53 PM
Good morning all:

Mumut pretty much answered the way I understand it. But I'm also [now] aware that there are some people on AW who are actually editors, but will beta for the love of it. And there are betas who are really skilled in copy editing as well as content editing. It comes down to [you] clearly stating what it is you'd like the beta to do for you - in detail - and finding a match. It's possible, because I found one. Well, three actually; and two of the three have gone as far as extending their hand(s) in friendship.

And let us not forget the Critters that can be found in the Share Your Work (SYW) forums. From my understanding, they operate much lile a proofreader would. I may be incorrect, but that's my understanding.

Raspberry
07-31-2009, 04:20 PM
I feel that beta readers should be neither writers nor editors. With a true beta reader you'll get the feel of the story without any bias (I would have written it that way...). You get the response the reader, who will buy your book, will hopefully have. Let him tell you what he loved, didn't love and plot gaps and the likes.

An editor may get stuck in the detail, and so does a writer who critiques (not reads!) your work.

As someone who fell flat on the face by relying too much on fellow writers doing a chapter critique (which helped heaps, no doubt) I have learned of the importance of readers who read your work as a whole and that fast.

With all that said, a good approach is to join a critique group, do the chapter thing, then have a beta read the entire script over, and at the very end, you may (or not) have an editor pouring over it. Actually you will have, when your book is ready to be published.

Rasp.

Karen Junker
07-31-2009, 05:28 PM
May I suggest that a beta who is willing to line edit is worth listening to?

At some point, you need to get your manuscript ready to submit - and if it has typos or grammar, spelling, POV issues, etc. the agent or editor is going to put it down, fast. If it has these issues, the story doesn't work, no matter how brilliant it is.

DivaLeanne
07-31-2009, 09:30 PM
Thanks everyone for responding so quickly...I kind of see a difference, still a little un-sure lol.

I googled editiors and I found this site, it was one the top ones so, I was crusing it: http://www.dwanabrams.com/ and I noticed she does it all, and was checking out her credentials, and services etc and was thinking of heading into this direction and even emailed asking what the specifications were, etc, and it didn't sound bad. $3 for each page...but then after seeing the beta's forum I was curious as to what was different.

I'm stuck on if I should go with Dwan, or someone else who is an editor, or go with a beta reader...hmmmm

Samantha's_Song
07-31-2009, 09:55 PM
I totally agree with you, Karen, if I spot a typo, spelling or grammar mistake, I will point it out, as I will with sentences that don't read right.


May I suggest that a beta who is willing to line edit is worth listening to?

At some point, you need to get your manuscript ready to submit - and if it has typos or grammar, spelling, POV issues, etc. the agent or editor is going to put it down, fast. If it has these issues, the story doesn't work, no matter how brilliant it is.

To the OP. Beta readers are avid readers, they know what they like to read and know what doesn't look right. Probably all beta readers are like myself too, we've been reading novels from a very young age and will want to help the author make the very best out of their work.

nitaworm
07-31-2009, 10:42 PM
I prefer using both.

My Betas are given a check sheet of items I want them to look for. They are to read the story, take note of questions they ask while reading it. What questions remained unanswered. Story pace and if they see anything grammatically that sticks out, plot issues, character issues and length.

The editor is the final step in getting a work cleaned up.

Karen Junker
08-01-2009, 12:03 AM
May I also suggest that it is not necessary to get an editor, especially one you have to pay, if you are lucky enough to find a beta reader who can do the same thing for you for free.

bagels
08-01-2009, 12:52 AM
I've worked professionally as an editor, and I just wanted to chime in and echo much of what people are saying.

It's next to impossible for me to ever turn off that switch (I once stopped going to CNN for two weeks after they had a typo in their top headline). While I don't do a line-by-line when I am beta reading someone's work, I do try to look for grammar and sentence structure in the context of the story. I don't think you can entirely divorce them, because they work together.

Also, for what it's worth, I would hesitate to pay an editor. I know plenty of people who have professional editing credentials to their name who beta in their free time (myself included). It's honestly good practice and an easy way to keep my skills sharp. I know this sounds harsh, but if you feel like you need to pay to have someone edit your novel, you need to consider whether writing is really the best career choice for you.

DivaLeanne
08-01-2009, 02:32 AM
I've worked professionally as an editor, and I just wanted to chime in and echo much of what people are saying.

It's next to impossible for me to ever turn off that switch (I once stopped going to CNN for two weeks after they had a typo in their top headline). While I don't do a line-by-line when I am beta reading someone's work, I do try to look for grammar and sentence structure in the context of the story. I don't think you can entirely divorce them, because they work together.

Also, for what it's worth, I would hesitate to pay an editor. I know plenty of people who have professional editing credentials to their name who beta in their free time (myself included). It's honestly good practice and an easy way to keep my skills sharp. I know this sounds harsh, but if you feel like you need to pay to have someone edit your novel, you need to consider whether writing is really the best career choice for you.

Oh thanks everyone for the much appreciated feedback.

I don’t feel that I need an editor, but I’ve been told by many that it’s good to have one… I just want to have the best possible book, and I know that having someone other than myself read it and catch things I don’t see, would be a good option.

I’m talking more about grammar etc.. I definitely don’t need help in plot and development—but if someone seen something or thought would help with it, I would consider it.

So I guess a beta is really what I am looking for!

DivaLeanne
08-01-2009, 02:41 AM
I totally agree with you, Karen, if I spot a typo, spelling or grammar mistake, I will point it out, as I will with sentences that don't read right.



To the OP. Beta readers are avid readers, they know what they like to read and know what doesn't look right. Probably all beta readers are like myself too, we've been reading novels from a very young age and will want to help the author make the very best out of their work.




I prefer using both.

My Betas are given a check sheet of items I want them to look for. They are to read the story, take note of questions they ask while reading it. What questions remained unanswered. Story pace and if they see anything grammatically that sticks out, plot issues, character issues and length.

The editor is the final step in getting a work cleaned up.

Betas are definitely the way I should go! Thanks again!!

DivaLeanne
08-01-2009, 07:20 AM
I've worked professionally as an editor, and I just wanted to chime in and echo much of what people are saying.

It's next to impossible for me to ever turn off that switch (I once stopped going to CNN for two weeks after they had a typo in their top headline). While I don't do a line-by-line when I am beta reading someone's work, I do try to look for grammar and sentence structure in the context of the story. I don't think you can entirely divorce them, because they work together.

Also, for what it's worth, I would hesitate to pay an editor. I know plenty of people who have professional editing credentials to their name who beta in their free time (myself included). It's honestly good practice and an easy way to keep my skills sharp. I know this sounds harsh, but if you feel like you need to pay to have someone edit your novel, you need to consider whether writing is really the best career choice for you.

Bagels what do you like to read when beta-ing?

jclarkdawe
08-02-2009, 01:03 AM
One thing to understand is what are you looking for from either an editor or a beta? A beta is never going to give you a line-by-line edit, although some betas can find an incredibly large number of errors. But betas are a lot better at finding errors of a lack of knowledge type. Pacing errors can be better explained by an editor, but are often seen by betas. Of course, many editors that are good at pacing aren't good at line-by-line (different mindset). And I've found that continuity is only discovered through several people.

For professional publishing, you will eventually need both betas and editors (most publishers use at least a couple on a book, to solve different problems). Unless your grammar is incredibly bad (your betas will tell you if you're in this category), a line-by-line edit at this stage of the game is pretty much useless. A line-by-line is one of the last edits usually done, because until you stop changing major chunks, why bother?

Decide what you want a beta or an editor to do. Then decide whether you think an editor or a beta can do the job better. And understand that neither an editor or a beta can give you a clue on marketability. The best anyone can do there is a SWAG (scientific wild ass guess as opposed to a WAG -- wild ass guess).

And quality matters, and you can't tell until afterward whether they're as good as they say they are.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe