• Read this stickie before posting.

    • In order to reduce the number of new members requesting a Beta reader before they're really ready for one, we've instituted a 50 post requirement before you can start a thread seeking a Beta reader.
    • You can still volunteer to Beta for someone else; just please don't request someone to Beta for you until you're more familiar with the community and our members.

The Beta Project Launches!

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

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katiemac

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December 1, as promised, I am posting the participation form for The Beta Reader Project.

To summarize some previous threads: The Beta Project is an exercise designed to pair AW authors with appropriate beta readers. The experiment kicked off one other time in 2007, only then it was called the Great Beta Reader Challenge. We're changing up the guidelines a bit this year, so a name change is in order.

THE SITUATION
Do you want a beta reader? Interested in getting some feedback on your manuscript?

Submit the first five pages (and some extras) to the Beta Project. You'll be paired anonymously with other participating Project members. They'll critique your work, and in exchange, you'll critique the work of others. By the end of the Project it's encouraged, if you like the critiques you receive, to ask someone to be your beta reader for your entire manuscript. Additionally, if you liked any of the works you critiqued, ask the authors if you can beta read for them.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE
Each participating member should complete and send the participation form (see post below) to me (katiemac) between December 25th and January 5th by PM. On January 6th, I will post the entries anonymously on AW. I will also send you a PM with two to three entry numbers to critique, based on your answers to the form questions. Between January 6th and January 20th, you will critique those entries and return them to me by PM.

**Expect to critique two to three other submissions. I say two to three, not knowing how many people will choose to participate. At most, you'll be asked to critique a total of 15 pages (3,750 words) in two weeks. Keep in mind that if enough people participate to allow three critiques each, you will receive three critiques on your work. You will not be asked to critique more than you will receive back.

Multiple Entries
You're more than welcome to enter more than one manuscript into the beta project. However, you must fill out a participation form for each entry. Also, you will be expected to critique three entries for every participation form. Make sure you have enough time during the two week critiquing period.

Feel free to post questions below. For more info, there is a Q&A here.

SCHEDULE
December 1: Official participation form posts.
December 25-January 5: Participation forms due to katiemac in PM.
January 6: Entries will post online, and you will receive your critique matches by PM.
January 20: Critiques due. You should receive your critiques shorly after.

PRIZES
Yep, we have prizes this year! Everyone who participates in and completes The Beta Project will be entered in a raffle for some neat prizes. I'll reveal those prizes throughout December.

NOTES
Do not participate in this project if you do not wish to critique other member's work. This is a reciprocal project. SYW is open for those who are looking for a critique only.

Athough it's not necessary for you to end up with a beta reader or be a beta reader by the end of the Project, you should probably want one, or have some interest in being one, before participating.

If you want to be a beta reader but do not have a manuscript to particpate with at this time, send me the form between December 25 and January 5 with answers to questions seven though eleven.

See the PARTICIPATION FORM in my post below.
 
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katiemac

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THE PARTICIPATION FORM

THE BETA PROJECT

PARTICIPATION FORM



To participate in The Beta Project, complete these questions and submit them to katiemac by PM between December 25th and January 5th. Any form sent to me before the 25th will be deleted. Two reasons: First, I want you to use all the time you need to work on your manuscript. Second, I need to clean out my PM box.

Most of these answers are for me. You don’t have to spend a lot of time on your answers (aside from your hook and first five pages), you don’t even have to use full sentences for most answers. An asterisk* next to the number means other people besides myself may see your answer.

AW Handle:
Manuscript Title*:
Manuscript Genre*:
Total Manuscript Word Count*:
Is your manuscript complete*:
Y/N

01.* Include the first five pages, roughly 1,250 words, of your manuscript. This is the portion others will critique for you. Please do not go too far over 1,250, but finish your sentence if it cuts off in the middle. If you go too far over the limit, I’ll cut your excerpt accordingly.

02.* Include a brief hook for your entire manuscript, roughly 250 words. Consider this like the body portion of a query letter. It will let your potential betas know what your story is about, should they like to continue reading. although it need not be perfect for this project. Check out the SYW Query Letter section for stickys if you’re having trouble with your hook.

03.* Is there anything in your manuscript you feel might offend others? (Graphic sex, violence, swearing, puppies, etc.)

04. Have you ever had a beta reader before?

05.* Why do you want a beta reader? Describe your perfect beta reader.

07. Have you ever critiqued a manuscript before?

08. Describe your critiquing style—or, what you expect your style might be.

09. What are your favorite genres to read? Is there any genre you will not read?

10. What, if anything, are you offended by when reading? (Graphic sex, violence, swearing, puppies, etc.)

11. Anything else?
 
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Sassee

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03.* Is there anything in your manuscript you feel might offend others? (Graphic sex, violence, swearing, puppies, etc.)

I don't know about you, but I think puppies are the worst thing on that whole list. They're vile! Evil! Fuzzy spawns of Satan.


EDIT: amigahd that was post # 2020. Should I adopt a Babwa Wawwa accent in honor of such an achievement?
 
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Puma

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Katiemac - I certainly hope you're planning to do a big ALL CAPS ANNOUNCEMENT when it's finally time to send the forms in, otherwise, I'm afraid people (like me) might forget about it with the holidays. Can you put one of the posts up that goes at the top of all the forums? I think that would be a good idea. Puma
 

katiemac

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Katiemac - I certainly hope you're planning to do a big ALL CAPS ANNOUNCEMENT when it's finally time to send the forms in, otherwise, I'm afraid people (like me) might forget about it with the holidays. Can you put one of the posts up that goes at the top of all the forums? I think that would be a good idea. Puma

That is the plan, Puma. I can do one for this forum, but not board-wide. Gotta get the higher-ups to do the tech stuff for me. It is listed on the AW Calendar, though, for those of you who read that.

ETA: Here is a link to the AW Calendar. If you click on the event links on a calendar date, you can request a reminder about the event.
 
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Devil Ledbetter

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The requirement to have my manuscript ready for beta reading by early January may be just what I need to keep my editing on track. I'm going to make this my goal.

Besides, it seems I've permanently lost my #1 beta.
 

Sage

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The only thing I don't like is that you can ask people who have critted your five pages to be a beta. Just 'cuz it puts some pressure on them that the original Great Beta Reader Challenge didn't.
 

katiemac

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The only thing I don't like is that you can ask people who have critted your five pages to be a beta. Just 'cuz it puts some pressure on them that the original Great Beta Reader Challenge didn't.

That was the goal of the original challenge too, Sage. The hope is that if you get a critique you like you're closer to find a good beta match. Everything will stay anonymous in the critiques like they did first time around. If you want someone's AW handle, you'll have to go through me to get it.
 
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Puma

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Hey, Devil L - I haven't seen you around for a while - or have we just been on different forums? Good to see your post. Puma
 

euclid

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I'm guessing the five pages should be double spaced (if they only run to 1250 words).
 

Sage

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I'm guessing the five pages should be double spaced (if they only run to 1250 words).
The 1250 words follows the standard submission formatting, which assumes 250 words per page.
 

katiemac

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I'm guessing the five pages should be double spaced (if they only run to 1250 words).

Right. I'm putting more emphasis on word count here than the actual page count, so no one ends up critiquing a larger amount than anyone else. However, since everything will be sent copy/pasted in a PM, it doesn't matter if you double-space or not. Just send 1,250 words. :)
 

Khazarkhum

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This is such a good idea--it'll force me to finish & try to make the damned thing work.
 

maestrowork

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Sounds really cool! Unfortunately, I won't have anything near beta-ready by January. I also have betas already :) But good luck everyone.
 

BeccaGrim

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Question?

When I want to send you the form, where do I send it?
 

katiemac

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Hi Becca! You can send it to me in a private message. On the top left-hand corner of this post you'll see my username (katiemac). If you click on it, you'll get drop-down menu. "Send private message" will be one option. You can also private message by going into your Control Panel or clicking on Private Messages on the top-right hand corner of the board (under the bolded "Welcome" and user sign-in box).

Looking forward to all the submissions!
 

Puma

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Bumping back up to the top - it's getting near January 1. Puma
 

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Forgive me I don't know Beta worker, it sounds fun though and a good way of writers teaming up with fellow similar writers and doing something special. This sounds really important and it seems to set a sort of order from the offset. Well done KatieMac. :)
 

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25 dec till jan 6....right in the middle of the festivities.May be we could start a bit earlier or extend it?
 

katiemac

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25 dec till jan 6....right in the middle of the festivities.May be we could start a bit earlier or extend it?

Overfiend, all you need to do during Dec. 25 and Jan. 5 is fill out the participation form in post #2 and send it to me. You can even fill it out now and only hit "send" whenever you feel like between Dec. 25 and Jan. 5.

The actual critiquing process is after Jan. 6 and will run until Jan. 20.
 
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Sargentodiaz

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How about if I have two separate projects ready?

Actually have four mss but one was already beta read.
 

katiemac

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No problem if you want to submit more than one manuscript. However, please send me two different participation forms, one for each. Otherwise I'll never keep them straight. ;)
 

Fenika

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Wait, does that mean you'll be critiquing 3x your share? Do you have time for that?
 

psykeout

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Forgive me I don't know Beta worker, it sounds fun though and a good way of writers teaming up with fellow similar writers and doing something special. This sounds really important and it seems to set a sort of order from the offset. Well done KatieMac. :)

Beta-readers, when used correctly, can help a writer immensely. I feel that there are two kinds and if a writer can find both, they are invaluable.

The first beta reader is the non-writer. The one that reads just for the love of reading. They have no desire to write, couldn't tell you why a semi-colon is used or what a hanging participle is. But, they know a good story when they see it.

The second beta reader is the writer. These are the people that are going to tell you that your obsessive use of 'said' is bordering on obnoxious and you really need to pick up a thesaurus. They are also going to be the ones that (hopefully) can point out minor (and sometimes major) grammatical errors.

So, all in all, a beta reader is valuable for the writer. If you can find some, snatch them up. BUT! Don't abuse them. If you dump 100,000 words on them, give them time to finish it. Also, don't send it to all of them at the same time. Spread your work out. Maybe switch people with each draft.

...that's all I'm going to say about beta reading now. :D
 
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