• 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.

What is a beta reader?

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Hirvan

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Another question:

Do most beta readers want the author to pay them to beta read their work or do they do it for free?
 

FranOnTheEdge

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Beta readers and Critiquers

Hi,
Nice to see the various definitions of the term used here of "Beta Reader" - I was beginning to think that the AW site didn't have such things as it's very well hidden.
Initially I got lost in The Library, which is full of already published works - not what I was looking for at all.

I was looking for "Critters" "Critiquers" or "Workshops", as I had not heard the term "Beta Reader" before.

I am looking for Beta-readers/Critiquers because I have 2 novels I need feedback on.
One novel is completed, and is I hope 'polished' to the extent of having been run through a spellchecker, (one which picks up on grammar too).
It is however not as polished as would make it ready for sending out.

The other novel feels dangerously close to stalling at about 1/3 of the way through.

I have done critiquing many, many times before, I have run critique groups, and do pretty in-depth critiques myself.

I like to comment on what works and what doesn't including why (if I can figure that out) and sometimes offer suggestions - if I can think of any.

But can't seem to do this job on my own work the way I can on other people's work.

I too prefer not to have to spellcheck or highlight gramatical errors - as others have said in this thread - because for me that makes it hard to see the story, if I'm continually bogged down in minutiae.

My biggest problem has been finding people writing in the same genre as myself.

My novels are Whoodunnits set in the UK, they are not violent, or degrading, or very dark, 'Cosy' would probably fit best although they are Police Procedurals, not amateur detective based. There are deaths, sometimes quite a few, I'd say think Caroline Graham's 'Midsomer Murders', although I hope not too close, rather than Ian Rankin's work.
I have set both whodunnits in my home town, using a combination of real locations and added locations.

I have the same protagonist and sidekicks in both, and book 2 pretty much runs on from book 1.

I would like to know the procedure for both getting and being a beta reader.
 

fivepennies

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Beta Reader vs. Proofreader?

I am writing my first book. The subject is youth soccer for new parents and coaches. I am basing the book on my experiences as a youth soccer coach, who started out as a dumb parent and navigated my way through the world of youth soccer, eventually coaching competitive teams and even being a referee. I did this for 18 years and have a lot of thoughts on the subject and good (I think) advice for new parents and coaches who enter into youth soccer.

I am about 60% done with the first draft. It is in MS Word. I have been looking ahead to POD publishers, editing services, etc. I will need a lot of help with editing, marketing, and everything that goes along with putting a book on the shelf. Don't want to spend a ton of money, though. Maybe $1500 or so to get the book done. Most of the basic packages at POD services (Dog Ear, Mill City Press, Iuniverse) are within that range.

I am doing this for self satisfaction, and have a lot to say about the subject. I am not in this for the money or recognition. I would like to eventually cover my costs.

I will have a few comments from "experts" that I know, but mostly it is my opinion based on my personal experiences.

I have seen here where there are "beta readers" who will review your MS and make suggestions. This might be very helpful for me. I expect the book to have about 200 pages, if I can trim it down that much. Like I said, I have a lot to say. I tend to be wordy to put it nice, so I am sure someone can cut it down after I am done.

Is anyone interested in being a beta reader for this project? Should I wait until the whole MS is done in first draft, or is it good to do it in sections as it progresses? As I understand, beta readers do this for free. Is that so? If not, maybe I could work something out with a qualified person who is interested.

Again, I know nothing about writing, publishing, but I do know a lot about my subject.

I appreciate any suggestions related to my writing or my book. Any takers on being a beta reader?

So what is the difference between a beta reader and a proofreader? I'm normally just a freelance writer, but I was recently asked to take on my first book project editing and proofreading an book on infidelity. I didn't realize I had such a knack for proofreading until I took on the project and my client told me how much she loved me--she even postponed her publishing date by a week so she could take my editorial suggestions. Now, she wants me to work on her next book project! I just landed a new client last night wanting me to proofread his book about intelligence and technology as it relates to physical science and DNA. After my first book project, I offered to do it for a fair price and to post at least three book reviews across the Web as an added bonus.

Now I'm not sure if beta readers are typically paid or not, but if a beta reader and proofreader are essentially the same thing, then I'd be more than happy to discuss the project further to see if there's a good fit. Send me PM if you want to talk!
 
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John Olexa

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Bringing up an old thread, but what qualifies someone to be a beta reader?
 

Maryn

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Willingness. Being reasonably well-read in the genre. Being able to see the "big picture" rather than focus on writing elements, since the work should be submission-ready before the beta sees it.

Maryn, just one opinion
 

DawnBrown

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I hope I'm not breaking a rule by posting a question on an old thread, but I didn't want to start a whole new thread when this was already here.

My question is how many betas do you need? Is one enough? Personally I would think that the more you have, the better, though it could be information overload with all of them giving advice?
 

Thedrellum

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I think it's really up to what you need (which, I realize, is not overly helpful). Though I think my more important piece of advice is this: it's not the number of beta readers, but the fact that you trust them and what they have to say.
 

Lettucehead

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Willingness. Being reasonably well-read in the genre. Being able to see the "big picture" rather than focus on writing elements, since the work should be submission-ready before the beta sees it.

Maryn, just one opinion

Thanks for your input in this thread. It makes a difference.

I belong to a writing group of only four, the leader used to teach writing for over 20 years at the college level. I've bitten off one third of a fantasy trilogy and in about six months I'll be ready to show it around.

How would you suggest I find other beta readers to give my work a look over? Is there a place in this site to hook up with others?
 

leela_e

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I think Beta Reader is an alpha reader or beta reader. Pre-reader is a person who reads a written work, generally fiction, with what has been described as "a critical eye, with the aim of improving grammar, spelling, characterization, and general style of a story prior to its release to the general public."
 

Bufty

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As per Wikipedia.

I think Beta Reader is an alpha reader or beta reader. Pre-reader is a person who reads a written work, generally fiction, with what has been described as "a critical eye, with the aim of improving grammar, spelling, characterization, and general style of a story prior to its release to the general public."
 

Adri1497

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OK adding to the question... I got a rejection but the publishing house was nice enough to tell me where I need improvements. My question is, how can a beta reader/ critter help with those issues? What I mean is do they make suggestions or point you to where the issues are and where you can find ways to correct it. I would love to learn to catch these errors in the future before sending them off to a beta or publisher.
 

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I personally enjoying paying a professional editor for my beta reading. I find they know a lot of stuff us less experienced writers don't. I have used a couple of well known companies in the past to kickstart my knowledge. It's been an eye opener. We were discussing this the other evening with a couple of colleagues over dinner and we all agreed we had learned so much more, in the beginning, from paying the professionals for a 12 page report and their views of our books. I have to admit that I feel I learned how to be a better writer through doing it this way.
 

Becca Jay

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I was wondering what a beta reader was too. Thanks for posting!
 

ZealousNihilist

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Might be necroposting, but here's what I consider as a beta reader:

Content, continuity, and Ease of understanding

Typos, grammar, etc are for proofreaders and editors. I have no desire or willingness to proofread your book. I read through, not as a professional, but as a reader. I tell you what we, your audience, will think (yes, I am presumptuous enough to think I speak for everyone). If you plot takes jagged, hard to follow twists, I consider it my job to show you these, and offer solutions to "smooth the edges" so to speak. If you say it's raining one moment, then your characters spend the day out in the sun, I consider it my job to point it out.

I do it because it's fun. Also, I get to read books so early. It's great. I do, however, have a simple set of 'demands'. It's standard these days to acknowledge beta readers along with everyone else when you publish. In addition, I lay claim to a signed copy of the finished product, as a memento in my personal collection.
 

Elizabeth George's book Write Away