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Beta readers on Fiverr

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Aegrin

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Did anyone has some experience with paid freelance beta readers from that website? I gave my manuscipt to some with excellent opinions (and supposed graduated writing class). But they claimed that they enjoyed my book and there is very little to improve. I know there is plenty to improve (bah, no book is perfect) and I just feel that they are too affraid to share honest review. Some people don't have thick skin, so I understand that those betas don't want to risk thier reputation or money return.
 

mccardey

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Generally, I wouldn't pay for a beta-read. You can get them here for free, usually on either a swap basis, or on the basis that you've become part of the community and they like your posts/outlook.
 

MythMonger

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The least helpful feedback I could get from a beta reader would be that it was great and didn't need any work.

Any beta reader that takes money from you and doesn't give you insightful input that helps your manuscript is probably just trying to part you from your money. They're probably doing that with a lot of writers, and it's more profitable if they don't take the time to actually help you.
 

Maryn

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My first thought is that they didn't even read it all.

My second thought is that if they did, they're a terrible beta reader, not even five bucks worth of helpful.

My third thought is that you got ripped off. Sorry about that.

My fourth though is more helpful, I hope. Stick around. Become a part of this community, active on the boards that pertain to what you write and to what interests you have. Do some critique at SYW. Offer to beta read for others, and give it the proper amount of effort. Once you're somebody we know, with more than enough posts to qualify, ask for beta reads.

Maryn, who also has trouble finding betas
 
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I've moved this thread from Basic Writing Questions because some of the underlying implied topics, like paying for a beta reader, merit wider discussion.

I want to note that the concept of beta reading is one that suggests reciprocity rather than payment.

We have a Beta Reading sub-forum here.

It's worth taking the time to read the stickies, and offer to beta read if you hope to find a congenial, compatible, helpful beta reader. You're not likely to have much luck if you start off as a new member, before people have chance to know you and your writing.

Before you ask for a beta reader, it's a good idea to try posting an excerpt(s) for crit in Share Your Work. It's a special sub-forum for critting. Crits or critiques are pretty special, and have their own sub forum called Share Your Work (SYW). You need 50 posts to start a new thread in SYW.

Lots of times new members think they know what it means to be critted, and that their work is ready for it, when it isn't. So having to have 50 genuine, engaged posts gives new members a chance to figure out how critting works.

Until you have 50 posts, why not go to Share Your Work and read some crits, and carefully read the stickies, and maybe try your own hand at doing a crit ?

The password for Share Your Work is vista.
 

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You never, ever, ever pay for a beta reader. They are more concerned with the paycheck than in providing useful feedback. They want to get done as fast as possible so they can get on to the next contract. They are probably using shortcuts to get through as fast as they can, if they are even reading it at all. It simply isn't worth it. You need to find people who are conversant in your genre and who are doing it for the love of the work, not for a pay check.
 
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Ari Meermans

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I'm also in the "don't pay for a beta reader" camp. When you ask someone to beta read your MS, you're entering a three-way relationship between you, the beta reader, and your manuscript. It's a personal relationship and all three have to be compatible and that means getting to know your prospective beta readers. Interview them; ask about their reading habits, try to find out how well-read they are in your genre, and make sure you and your beta readers understand what each wants from the reading experience.

You'll need to know upfront that your beta reader reads widely and deeply yet understands the conventions of your genre because your story is more than just words on a pageā€”it's about the emotions you are hoping to instill in the reader with those words and it's about a shared vision for the storytelling needs of your story. That may be true of someone who sees beta reading as a monetary transaction, but it may very well not be true. So.

Here's an article, "15 Questions to Send Beta/First Readers" which will also help you set your expectations of the relationship. (There are two "rules" in the article that I don't necessarily agree with because of their . . . oh, let's call it bald . . . nature; think of them as pieces of cautionary advice for consideration only as advice is never one-size-fits-all and shouldn't be presented as such.)

I agree with previous comments on visiting SYW to read and participate in crits there. Make sure you're reading those with an eye to managing your expectations of the beta reading experience, both as an author and as a reader.
 

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I'm in the minority again, I guess. I've used paid editors (beta readers) for most of my books. I use Dragon to transpose my ms's from paper to text. Being from the South, I tend to slur my words and have numerous errors in each one. Things like "an vs. in", "then vs. than", "to vs. too vs. two", etc. When I self-edit, I read what should be there instead of what is really there. In short, I don't like editing and therefore, I'm not good at it.

I found a good editor/beta reader that is professional and priced reasonably. I discovered her through Facebook to 5R. I tried her first on a short story (~10k words) for around $25. I was thoroughly impressed with her response.
Again, I know I'm in the minority, but wanted to let you know my experience.
 

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One of my writerly friends paid 30 dollars for a beta reader and says he will never look back--it was that good. She returned 'the most useful feedback he had ever gotten' in under a week. On a full manuscript.

I've never hired a beta reader, but it sounds like there are some good ones out there.
 

Maryn

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I'm in the minority again, I guess. I've used paid editors (beta readers) for most of my books. I use Dragon to transpose my ms's from paper to text. Being from the South, I tend to slur my words and have numerous errors in each one. Things like "an vs. in", "then vs. than", "to vs. too vs. two", etc. When I self-edit, I read what should be there instead of what is really there. In short, I don't like editing and therefore, I'm not good at it.

I found a good editor/beta reader that is professional and priced reasonably. I discovered her through Facebook to 5R. I tried her first on a short story (~10k words) for around $25. I was thoroughly impressed with her response.
Again, I know I'm in the minority, but wanted to let you know my experience.
An editor is not a beta reader.

It sounds like you did need an editor (and we all agree the eye sees what ought to be there, not what is there) and were pleased with the results. That's great, but it's not the same as a beta read.

A beta reader looks at a manuscript that's fully polished and error-free--not in need of edits--ready to submit or self-publish. They may find and mark typos and homonyms, but that's not their focus. The beta tells the author what's not working, where they became confused, which clues were too obvious, whether the twist works, why they can't root for the character they're supposed to like, the unintended racism/misogyny/etc. the author included, when they got bored and started skimming, and everything else they think needs to be better or at least different.

A good beta is invaluable--and completely different from a good editor, who is also invaluable.

Maryn, real sure
 

redstick

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It sounds like you did need an editor (and we all agree the eye sees what ought to be there, not what is there) and were pleased with the results. That's great, but it's not the same as a beta read.
This person does the functions of both. I know that there are line editors, copy editors, beta readers, etc. but some folks (those more talented than me) can perform more than one function.
 

mccardey

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This person does the functions of both. I know that there are line editors, copy editors, beta readers, etc. but some folks (those more talented than me) can perform more than one function.
Well - yes and no. An editor can beta-read, of course. A beta-reader can't necessarily edit. Editing is a skilled profession - beta-reading is a Really, Really, Useful Thing that any reader can do, because it's about opinions: this worked for me, this bit didn't quite gel, I'd love to know more about character A. Generally, you'd either pay (a lot) for an edit, or pay nothing (or a little, if you had reason to) for a beta.

It sounds like you paid for an proof-heavy beta-read and were pleased with the result - which is great. But a real, actual professional editor doing professional editing would charge a whole lot more than you paid, so it's not something you'd do without having had a few betas read for you first, particularly if your concern is the kind of very, very basic errors you mention in your post. For that, it would be better to ask for a beta-reader who is good with grammar and spelling - and yes, you could offer to pay them, since its more than an opinion you're asking for. I'd be wary of grabbing the first one who answered, though, and I would try to pay them a fair price. You tend to get what you pay for.
 
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Woollybear

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Maryn said:

A beta reader looks at a manuscript that's fully polished and error-free--not in need of edits--ready to submit or self-publish.

McCardey said:

But a real, actual professional editor doing professional editing would charge a whole lot more than you paid, so it's not something you'd do without having had a few betas read for you first, particularly if your concern is the kind of very, very basic errors you mention in your post.

And Patty says:

The entire process will be individual, redstick. No one is necessarily right and no one is necessarily wrong. If you found someone who makes worthwhile suggestions at a good price, hold 'em tight. Give 'em chocolate. Write 'em the occasional sonnet.
 

mccardey

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And Patty says:

The entire process will be individual, redstick. No one is necessarily right and no one is necessarily wrong. If you found someone who makes worthwhile suggestions at a good price, hold 'em tight. Give 'em chocolate. Write 'em the occasional sonnet.
I can't find Patty's post...
 
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Woollybear

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That's me, McCardey.

:)

I wanted Redstick to not feel whiplash, so I tried to pull things together into one place.
 
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mccardey

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That's me, McCardey.

:)

I wanted Redstick to not feel whiplash, so I tried to pull things together into one place.
Ah - I see. Thanks.

I think Maryn and I are in agreement that everything needs to be shiny bright and polished pre-beta - unless you have a beta you have specifically requested look for very basic errors if you know you're prone to miss them - and I think in that case you should probably offer to pay something for their extra effort, it being more than simple opinion.

That would still be a beta-reader, is my point. An editor is a professional, doing professional work and charging the professional fees that their qualifications entitle them to.

Perhaps I wasn't clear enough - I'm still on First Coffee here.
 
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The entire process will be individual, redstick. No one is necessarily right and no one is necessarily wrong. If you found someone who makes worthwhile suggestions at a good price, hold 'em tight. Give 'em chocolate. Write 'em the occasional sonnet.

And pay them properly.
 
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Maryn

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Wait, you're not a caterpillar? Now I'm lost.
 
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MaryLennox

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Did anyone has some experience with paid freelance beta readers from that website? I gave my manuscipt to some with excellent opinions (and supposed graduated writing class). But they claimed that they enjoyed my book and there is very little to improve. I know there is plenty to improve (bah, no book is perfect) and I just feel that they are too affraid to share honest review. Some people don't have thick skin, so I understand that those betas don't want to risk thier reputation or money return.
If you are unhappy with their results and it seems like they barely even read it, I would leave a review that says so, so other writers don't fall into their money trap. Or you could confront them about it first, letting them know you intend to leave a review. It sounds like they want to make writers happy by telling them their work is brilliant, and then those people happily leave 5 star reviews. (Sorry, I don't actually know the review process of Fiverr or if there are stars.)

I agree with the others that if they say it's all good and have little to say, they most likely didn't even read it, or if they did, they were lazy about it.

Sometimes it is hard to find a good beta reader, but it's good to join a community of writers like this one, or a local writers group. For me, the main thing is finding someone who actually reads what you are writing. I had a beta reader for a MG fairy-tale-esque-fantasy who clearly didn't read that genre, because they kept pointing out "historical inaccuracies" - in a make believe fairy tale world that I created.
 

Nether

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I would never trust a paid beta reader, and the less feedback you get the more likely it feels they read nothing.

On the subject, I had a beta reader who left no comments on the fifty pages. They still insist that they read those pages, but like.... how the hell do you go fifty pages without a note? And in general it felt like the number of notes they left tended to shrink as they got further along in the book, but even then it wouldn't be more than a 10 or 15 page gap between notes.
 

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I've been doing some beta reading of late. And it happened to me that I read the first few chapters of someone's work and had nothing to add or change. I did have the author ask specific questions and I answer them, but the chapters were great.

I think maybe your best bet is to ask for feedback here. That's what I'm planning to do once I can. Or you can offer swaps.

Another option is to hand them a list of questions before they start. That gives them a specific thing to concentrate on while they're reading.
 
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mccardey

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I've been doing some beta reading of late. And it happened to me that I read the first few chapters of someone's work and had nothing to add or change. I did have the author ask specific questions and I answer them, but the chapters were great.

I think maybe your best bet is to ask for feedback here. That's what I'm planning to do once I can. Or you can offer swaps.

Another option is to hand them a list of questions before they start. That gives them a specific thing to concentrate on while they're reading.
Generally, I think an engaged beta-reader will have comments to make - even if it's just "I am loving this so far - particularly the way you're developing etc. I'm predicting *** will happen". Otherwise it's a lot like having a conversation where you keep your face free of expression and don't use words.
 

Mjfaraldo

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Generally, I think an engaged beta-reader will have comments to make - even if it's just "I am loving this so far - particularly the way you're developing etc. I'm predicting *** will happen". Otherwise it's a lot like having a conversation where you keep your face free of expression and don't use words.
I agree. In my case, I did say that I loved it and it makes me want to read more. I did give the positive comments to the writer. I do tend to mention if something makes me laugh or sparks a specific feeling šŸ˜Š
 
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mccardey

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I agree. In my case, I did say that I loved it and it makes me want to read more. I did give the positive comments to the writer. I do tend to mention if something makes me laugh or sparks a specific feeling šŸ˜Š
I was pretty sure you would have - just covering the base ;)
 
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