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Before You Publish > Beta Reader: Free Vs. Paid Pros and Cons

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message 1: by Julie (new)

Julie Gerber | 189 comments Mod
This guy has a few great points: http://www.gogetmikey.com/blog/10-rea...

If you hire a beta reader, you know their reputation is on the line. They are going to be honest and give great advice. You will also know when to expect the work to be complete so you can work on other things. You can judge a beta reader's past work based on how well their books have ranked or what awards their authors have won. Don't be afraid to reach out to the authors and find out how much the beta reader did and how thorough they were with their analysis.

Beta readers that work for free or as an exchange may not be as honest because they are doing you a favor. Maybe you will get lucky, but there is always a chance that you won't. Authors tend to be kind (or I would like to think that) to each other and no one wants to come across as a know it all. If your fans beta read for you, they may want to impress and be called on again for future books.

What are your thoughts on beta readers?


message 2: by Carole (last edited Oct 19, 2016 01:16PM) (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4580 comments Mod
I never realized the value until I actually used a beta reader. Today we were working on my newest book and she caught so many things I missed. I don't care how many times I read it- I only see what I meant. She catches things that don't sound right. Today,w e must have worked on a sentence for an hour until it sounded right.
I know my son wouldn't write his books without his beta sitting on Google doc watching like a Beta reader angel.
I pay one of my beta readers. The other one I have been known to use, I think sees doing beta as a labor of love. I believe she loves my books as much as I do and won't let them go out until she combs though it. Having six pair of eyes is valuable and defraying cost by only having to pay for one pair is a relief.


message 3: by N.N. (new)

N.N. Light (nnlight) I would be lost without my beta readers. Not only are they great at pointing out plot holes and grammar mistakes, but their unbiased opinion propels me to keep writing. It's easy to get discouraged in this industry.

I usually use three to four beta readers for each book and I don't pay them. They're doing it as a pay-it-forward type of thing and I always make it clear that I'm depending on them to be completely honest. They don't hold back and I appreciate it.

There are a ton of places to find beta readers and I always tell my clients to do their research on beta readers. You don't want someone who doesn't care one whit about romance if that's your genre. You want a professional who also specializes in your genre.


message 4: by C.L. (new)

C.L. Lynch (cllynchauthor) | 210 comments Carole wrote: "I know my son wouldn't write his books without his beta sitting on Google doc watching like a Beta reader angel."

When I did a marathon stretch last weekend I was emailing chunks of my book as I finished them to my prime beta reader. She said it was awesome getting things as they happened, and that she was pacing while waiting for updates. It was fun. Like writing for a live audience.


message 5: by Carole (last edited Mar 04, 2017 07:18AM) (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4580 comments Mod
Michael, my son does that as well. Julie is his Beta reader. I am on his Google docs account so I check in as he is writing too. Many times he's told me that comments Julie's made has steered his action in a different direction or made him consider another plot twist. Our family all works together in the same building. In the morning we'll take turns reading each other's manuscripts aloud. Many things get seen in a new light when we do that. He told me hearing the words aloud has made him rethink his plots and dialog as well. I'm sure when he writes it, he's thinking in the character's mind,( as we all are) but when he hears it coming from someone's mouth, he'll say,"Forget that. She'd never say that or that sounds totally dumb!"
Many times they tell me, "Mom, a boy wouldn't do that or that's not what a boy would think."
They will groan at a joke I've written in and sometimes harass me until I take it out. It gets very spirited. You are right, CL is is like a live audience.


message 6: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Milos | 17 comments Beta readers can be hit and miss. I wrote a blog post listing some of the pros and cons http://alchemy.catherinemilos.com I used to be free, but now I am paid (a nominal fee, but still) because I used to have authors expecting free editing from me. I am a professional editor(and author). Beta reading is not editing. I like to believe this is because some authors just don't know what to expect sometimes and so I outlined what an Alpha and Beta reader are in my article as well. I have a mix of paid an unpaid but I give all unpaid Beta readers thank you gifts. I know a lot of authors who take that approach now too


message 7: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4580 comments Mod
Great post, Catherine. I learned a lot of new things.


Roughseasinthemed | 27 comments I know in other discussions, people say they go with paid-for beta readers because of the reliability, and having some idea what to expect – rather than 'great book/I liked it'.

I still do free beta reads, but usually a chapter (or two) or (very) shorts. Mainly due to time constraints, but I do want to contribute to the indie community.

My free reports are a page or so, the paid ones are ten or more pages if they include an editorial appendix. It's a lot of work though for a full novel; usually involves a minimum of two full reads, plus checking specific sections.

If people find good free readers, that's great. If not, there is always the paid option. Just check what you can expect for your money.


message 9: by Becky (new)

Becky Benishek (becky_benishek) | 166 comments Catherine wrote: "I wrote a blog post listing some of the pros and cons http://alchemy.catherinemilos.com.

Great post! Shared on Twitter.


message 10: by Amy (new)

Amy Hamilton | 2560 comments OK anyone who knows me, knows I'm rubbish at finding things. How do you find beta readers who will read erotica?

I can't pay hundreds, but I could pay a few quid. (Bearing in mind I won't be expecting to make any money back on what I spend on services or promotion-purely from a realistic point of view and experience to date)

As well as the complication that I write erotica, it is a major thing for me to ask someone.

Where do I look?


message 11: by Roughseasinthemed (last edited May 15, 2017 07:30AM) (new)

Roughseasinthemed | 27 comments Amy wrote: "OK anyone who knows me, knows I'm rubbish at finding things. How do you find beta readers who will read erotica?

I can't pay hundreds, but I could pay a few quid. (Bearing in mind I won't be expec..."


How about you ask for erotica, list word count, and if you have a budget ceiling add that too.

I'm happy with erotica, my prices start from £50/$60 for novels. May not suit your budget. Up to a ten page report, plus editorial commentary if you wish.

Or, go to the erotica forums on GR.


message 12: by Amy (new)

Amy Hamilton | 2560 comments Thanks, I may get back to you on that. I'm looking into various groups, I find some of them quite intimidating, but that's just me. And others that haven't been active for yonks...


Roughseasinthemed | 27 comments Message me if you want. Advice is free.


message 14: by Amy (new)

Amy Hamilton | 2560 comments Lol, looking at beta reading services online. Currently looking at Fiverr where my last cover came from-"I will beta read your novel out loud and send you the recording." That would terrify me. I read everything I write out loud anyway, in case I find sentences that are too long or can't easily be read. Having someone else do it, at this stage would make me cringe with self doubt.


Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (sammydogs) | 944 comments Amy, I'm with you, as I do the same. Eek! Terrifying and intimidating! Hugs!


message 16: by Jannie Mitzeiko (new)

Jannie Mitzeiko (jannieoharvey) | 6 comments Hi Amy and Sam!

Good thing I saw this thread today! I actually do beta reading services and may main focus on romance (erotica) included. I write as a hobby and any work that I publish, I always have those butterflies before I hit that publish button.

Let me know if I can help you with the beta reading. :D


message 17: by Angel (new)

Angel | 721 comments I've already had beta readers on my novel but could use another. I'm looking for one more beta to look over things one last time before I rerelease this book into the world again. Sorry no more paid betas. I'm looking for a free beta to catch any last minute minor stuff, since the major stuff has been dealt with.


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