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All Things Writing & Publishing > Beta reading for free or a fee: Isn't it the wild west?

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message 1: by Alex (last edited Jan 31, 2017 10:46PM) (new)

Alex (asato) On goodreads, you can have someone beta read your ms for free, so why would you pay? There's no association of beta readers like there is for editors (for example, the Editorial Freelancers Association, http://www.the-efa.org/ referenced by the SFWA (http://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/f...)). AFAIK, there are no standards.

For example, here's a recent offer from another group here:
"100k for a flat rate of $75, which is 50% off the usual rate for beta reading."
Pros and cons on free or for a fee?

Has anyone paid for a beta read and what was your experience?


message 2: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13775 comments I paid 1 beta-reader and had 5 or 6 free. The paid one showed a little more commitment, but the difference wasn't essential. One of unpaid never returned with the feedback, I guess it's a tolerable percent.


message 3: by Graeme (last edited Feb 01, 2017 12:52AM) (new)

Graeme Rodaughan A perceptive beta reader is capable of making a profound difference.

I've had a couple of really good beta readers for my early chapters of A Traitor's War.

Free too. (But I sure that I owe them a Beer if I ever meet them...)


message 4: by Michael (new)

Michael Fattorosi | 477 comments I didnt pay my beta readers but I did reward them. Every week I had 3 Amazon gift card drawings ($15, $10, $5) and at the end I gave the best 3 beta readers new Kindles.

I havent directly asked, but I assume most of my beta-readers from book #1 will come back for book #2 and I have added a few more on already.

I might do "Scroll Keeper" t-shirts before the beta-reading starts on book #2 as another thank you.


message 5: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Hi Michael, well done.


Roughseasinthemed | 129 comments Can I comment from the paid-for pov?


message 7: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Roughseasinthemed wrote: "Can I comment from the paid-for pov?"

Absolutely. We need to hear from all sides.


message 8: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Michael wrote: "I didnt pay my beta readers but I did reward them. Every week I had 3 Amazon gift card drawings ($15, $10, $5) and at the end I gave the best 3 beta readers new Kindles.

I havent directly asked, ..."


You really show your appreciation for your beta readers! I'm sure that many of them become evangelists for your work.


message 9: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) another recent beta reader priced a beta read at $0.00075/word. That's $37.50 for 50k. $52.50 for 70k.

So I think that my Publication-Ready Advisement package for $99 could be a competitive offering. But I have to have solid qualifications first, like have a foot bestseller--preferably with all five toes.


message 10: by Michael (new)

Michael Fattorosi | 477 comments Alex G wrote: "You really show your appreciation for your beta readers! I'm sure that many of them become evangelists for your work. "

They have helped me immensely, even with marketing and sales. Four of them traveled to Vegas to meet me and be at my signing. One couple came from Toronto.


message 11: by M.C. (new)

M.C. Glan | 6 comments Alex G wrote: "On goodreads, you can have someone beta read your ms for free, so why would you pay? There's no association of beta readers like there is for editors (for example, the Editorial Freelancers Associa..."

how do you get free beta readers?


message 12: by Michael (new)

Michael Fattorosi | 477 comments M.C. wrote: "how do you get free beta readers?
"


You ask very nicely. Also you start with about 40 since 50% will drop out. Thats what I did.


message 13: by Alex (last edited Feb 02, 2017 09:21PM) (new)

Alex (asato) M.C. wrote: "how do you get free beta readers?"

You could post a request in our group in the Announcements folder.

You could also try the Goodreads Author Feedback Group, Support for Indie Authors, and Beta Reader Group groups; they are the active writers groups that I'm a member of.

If your work is YA, wattpad.com could net you some beta readers. You could also try reddit.com r/writing, but I can't vouch for the quality as I've only been there for a few days.

oh wow--i should've known--Jane Friedman (janefriedman.com) had a guest blogger write an article on beta readers in January 2016:
"To find potential beta readers, follow popular writing tags like #amwriting and #writercommunity. Make sure to use these tags when you publish your own posts. You can also find prospective betas in online writing groups, such as Writers Helping Writers or Fiction Writers."
(https://janefriedman.com/find-beta-re...)



message 14: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13775 comments Alex G wrote: "like have a foot bestseller--preferably with all five toes. ..."

Incompatible with mutilating inclinations -:)


message 15: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13775 comments M.C. wrote: "how do you get free beta readers?..."

There are beta-reading groups on GR, where people sometimes announce their willingness to beta-read


Roughseasinthemed | 129 comments Alex G wrote: "Roughseasinthemed wrote: "Can I comment from the paid-for pov?"

Absolutely. We need to hear from all sides."


Sorry for late contribution, internet connection went down.

Anyways, I do free beta reads on first chapter or two, or (very) short stories. Frees get a page or just over, ie 300–700 words. Paid-fors get a ten to twenty page report including, if they wish, an editorial commentary highlighting errors.

Pros and cons?

Well, the most common complaint is that free betas don't deliver. One of my clients (I did a free read for them) said he received two words of feedback from some, eg 'good story'. What use is that?

I am sure there are great free beta readers out there, it's just finding them, so for some people, paying for a beta comes with an expectation of feedback within a reasonable timescale.

Some beta readers are also editors and have worked in publishing for years. Some are looking for money while studying and are in their teens. Some want to try and create a career in editing (not the best way to go about it, but, hey).

I've had some really interesting paid beta reads, good quality writing and pretty well edited. Authors have also taken the time to acknowledge me in their credits which was unexpected. I've also beta read some decent free material, which can lead to later paid work on an edit or to beta a different story.

I think, as with everything writing related, much of what works is empathy, a relationship, trust, and mutual respect. It helps if people deliver what is expected, whether free or paid-for. It also helps if expectations are clear from the outset.

Just my two pennorth.


message 17: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Roughseasinthemed wrote: "the most common complaint is that free betas don't deliver. One of my clients (I did a free read for them) said he received two words of feedback from some, eg 'good story'. What use is that?"

valid and reasonable points, especially the above-quoted point. thx!


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