Beta Reader Group discussion

Betas Offering FREE Services > Open-minded Beta Readers and Editors

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message 1: by October (new)

October | 7 comments This isn't Craigslist. Beta reading is supposed to be free service. Writers DO NOT come to the "Beta Reader Group" seeking editors to pay. Thanks.

Also, I wish the moderators would delete post like these. It's misleading and utterly annoying.

message 2: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tsipouras | 103 comments I guess it would be helpful to seperate the free from the paid beta readers.

Beta reading meaning I read the book once and tell you my opinion, answer some questions you might have and suggest some improvements should indeed be free service - we beta readers get a free book in exchange.
But when the beta reading is finally copy-editing, proofreading and advicing over a longer period it is becoming really time-consuming and authors can't expect to get that for free.

Of course it is clearly an abuse of the group if (semi-)professional beta readers use it to advertise their business.

message 3: by Nikole (new)

Nikole Jenkins | 8 comments I would like to add in my two cents here. I've had experiences with free beta readers as well as paid services, and can truly say they are very different. When I'm asking someone to take time and read my story, offer constructive criticism, and answer questions about my story, I usually ask for a swap. However, during the swaps, I've noticed that I would end up doing more for the other person than they've done for me. They would get a few pages of critique with minor edits from me while I get a review so generic that it could have easily been copied and pasted from prior reviews. I look at issues with plot and character development, readability, etc. I always let the writer know if there are improvements that could be made, if the story makes sense, or if the story drags in certain areas. And when I commit to a read, I follow through regardless of whether I'm interested in the story or not. A lot of free beta readers do not do this. I've had people refuse to even respond to me after they had received my manuscript and I've reviewed theirs. Or simply people who just gave me the generic "this book is awesome" response.
With paid beta readers, I've found that they dedicate their time and attention to your story. They take on a more personal approach and have no problem helping you with things that most copy-editors would help with. The reviews are a lot more detailed and they finish any manuscript they commit to.
Everyone has their own personal opinions on whether to pay or not. As for me, I do both for my own reasons. Adding comments to this person's post on whether they should charge or not, not understanding the level of service they may provide (which may be more than a free beta reader,) is in my opinion, rude. I've found two great paid services here that have done more for me than the 23 other free betas I've been in contact with before. So to each their own.
Beta reading is a valuable service to a writer and requires a lot of time and dedication. Why not compensate the ones that go above and beyond?

message 4: by October (new)

October | 7 comments I’m sure I’m not the only that becomes annoyed by all these people trying to advertise in this forum. It’s inappropriate, and they need to be called out for it. And that does not make me “rude.” I’m simply stating the obvious.

Advertise on Craigslist or—NOT here!

Furthermore, Nikole, your experiences with free beta readers are just that, your experience. There are a lot of free beta readers that are great. And there are a lot of paid beta readers that suck. It’s all about finding the right one.

message 5: by Nikole (new)

Nikole Jenkins | 8 comments Well I for one am glad they advertise here and I've been able to find them. You have your opinion and I have mine. But attacking someone's post is not helpful. I'm sure there are better ways to address your concerns without offending others or creating drama. If you have a genuine concern, why not send a message to the group's admin? Or simply pass up the offer if you don't like it? You know, address it in a way that is appropriate on the forum like this.

message 6: by October (new)

October | 7 comments Okay, now I'm convinced YOU must be one of those annoying, abrasive advertising people that I've been complaining about. Because if you weren't you'd understand my frustration with all the irritating ads. Go advertise somewhere else! I'm done with this conversation.

message 7: by Lin (new)

Lin | 213 comments Mod
As one of the mods, I'm quite happy for people to advertise their beta reading services here - paid or not paid.
As Nikole has said, beta readers can be a bit hit-and-miss, with some who are very thorough and some who offer minimal feedback. Some authors prefer to pay a small fee to ensure they're receiving a thorough report - and I would always recommend looking for testimonials for any readers who do charge.
I make a small charge myself, and have a long waiting list, with several authors returning for their second, third or even fourth read. I put a lot of time and effort into beta reading, and it's often a time-consuming and tough job, although usually enjoyable. My fee reflects the time spent making notes and writing a report, and is still far cheaper than the "full critique" offered by many services. As a bonus, the author receives the benefit of my experience as an editor as well as my experience as a reader, and I often give advice as to what the next stage(s) towards publishing should be.
It's the author's choice whether to pay or not. Some authors have built up a following and are able to source efficient beta readers from among their own readers. Some are lucky enough to find good ones via places like this. And others are prepared to pay in order to feel certain of receiving good, timely feedback. It can also be a good way to test out an editor.
If I take on a read, I will always finish it or give a very good explanation as to why I'm unable to (and in that case not request the fee) - no worrying about whether the reader has had personal issues preventing them reading or just can't stand the book and doesn't like to say so.
If you're offering the service for free, why worry about those who are choosing to charge?

message 8: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (dawntice) I have been reading these comments and feel like I need to express something on behalf of my free service. I am disabled, I love to read, I am also a reviewer and in my former life an admin for several VP's and CEOs so I had to do presentations, letters, classes. I also homeschooled my child who has her minor in English and she graduated with all honors in college. That is just some of the qualifications from then. Since then, I have beta read and provided very detailed info with plot, character building and errors grammatically and spelling. I also will just review if asked to. I always make sure that I read a blurb to make sure I am going to like the book so I don't become a no show. I did have surgery so I let every one I was reading for know. I am a free beta reader for this reason: I love to read. I cannot afford the books I read at the rate I read them so this works for both you and me. Just because I do not charge does not make what I do less or the quality less. I just wanted to add this, I felt the free betas were getting beat up on pretty badly. Thank you for letting me voice my opinion.

message 9: by Nikole (new)

Nikole Jenkins | 8 comments Dawn,
I'm so sorry if anything I said made it seem as if free beta readers weren't just as valuable. You are just as valuable as any paid beta reader on any given day. I think I was just so focused on defending the paid beta readers that I didn't give enough credit to the free beta readers who actually do an excellent job. I do want to say, however, that you are a rarity. Out of maybe 20 free beta readers, I would probably get the level of service you offer from one or two. I, in no way, meant to discredit the ones who actually put some work into their critiques. I also offer my services for free, when I do beta read. I just had a difficult time getting people to give the same level of service that I was giving when performing swaps. I was just concerned about the fact that this woman decided to post such a rude comment on someone's post simply because she charged. I can understand why some people charge and why some don't. Again, I am really sorry if it seemed I was discrediting all free beta readers. :)

message 10: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (dawntice) You absolutely did not offend me, it seemed throughout this discussion free betas either never responded or simply did almost nothing. I just wanted to defend some of us. I feel compensated by being able to read things that I like. I have tried to get my daughter to do it as a supplemental income for her. I love goodreads and most everyone on here is very friendly and kind. You are no exception, thank you for the apology, it was not needed but you were very kind to have been concerned enough to comment back to me.

message 11: by R.F.G. (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 8 comments Perhaps if one of the mods set up the "Betas Offering Services" folder as two separate folders? One labeled as "Betas Offering Services - Free" versus "Betas Offering Services - Paid".

I remember when I did free carpentry for those who couldn't afford to pay me for my time -- all I asked was that the person I was helping provide the materials. Those who provided poor quality or bad materials complained about what they got for free. People who provided decent materials would invariably want to pay me afterward.

The point is you can't please everyone, but if they know what to expect upfront they have less to complain about.

message 12: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tsipouras | 103 comments R.F.G. wrote: "Perhaps if one of the mods set up the "Betas Offering Services" folder as two separate folders? One labeled as "Betas Offering Services - Free" versus "Betas Offering Services - Paid".

I remember ..."

That's exactly what I wanted to suggest.

message 13: by Lin (new)

Lin | 213 comments Mod
A new folder sounds a good idea, and I'll look into it next time I'm on the computer rather than tablet. And yes, there are brilliant free beta readers out there. But with so many writers chasing betas, there are plenty of reads around for all, with more left over.

message 14: by R.F.G. (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 8 comments Lin wrote: "A new folder sounds a good idea, and I'll look into it next time I'm on the computer rather than tablet. And yes, there are brilliant free beta readers out there. But with so many writers chasing betas, there are plenty of reads around for all, with more left over. "

Thank you

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