I sent my manuscript not knowing what to expect. I was surprised at the amount of effort and detail put into my little story. The insight was invaluable and made me see some things I had never noticed before! My confidence in my writing went up, as well as my overall excitement. I think I even told my beta reader I loved her.
- Natasa Xerri
Make sure your manuscript is solid.
New to Professional Beta Reading?
Professional Beta Readers are analytical, they provide invaluable feedback, and they come from all walks of life.
Beta Reader vs Professional Beta Reader - What's the difference?
Beta readers are people who read your manuscript once you've completed its initial drafts. These readers help to point out what is and isn't working, as well as what they did and didn't like. Beta readers provide a general opinion of your manuscript.
Historically, beta readers have been unpaid friends, family, or writers. More and more often, however, authors are having a hard time trying to locate beta readers who provide quality feedback -- if they provide any at all.
Because of this, paid, professional beta readers are becoming more and more popular. Professional beta readers are people dedicated to providing quality feedback for a fee.
So, What's Included?
Each beta reader must read your manuscript and then fill out a 5-7 page questionnaire. The questionnaire covers big-picture items, and each big-picture item is broken down into smaller questions, giving a total of 42 questions.
I've included examples -- one per item here, but Characters alone has 14 questions.
The opening chapter (does it hook the reader?)
The characters (are their motivations believable?)
Character relationships (are these developed organically?)
The plot (are the threads tied up?)
Pacing (does it track well?)
Setting (are the settings clear?)
Dialogue (is the dialogue authentic?)
Craft (is the story unique for its genre?)
Overall impressions (was the reader tempted to skim st any time?)
Authors can include their own questions for the beta readers, and if they are not already in the questionnaire the questions will be placed in the Author's Corner at the end of the document.
Why Should You Hire Multiple Beta Readers?
Beta reading isn't just about getting quality feedback, it's about getting a range of feedback. Each reader brings their own experience, interests, tastes, and nuance to their feedback of your manuscript -- just like an audience would! What doesn't work for one may work for others. Having multiple beta readers gives you a balanced perspective that can be used to enhance your manuscript.
Why I Charge for Beta Reading:
Many of my clients find themselves wasting months trying to get feedback to help them improve their novels. It can be frustrating for them, and makes complicated what should be a relatively simple process.
The Element Beta Reader Team consists of both beta readers and editors in training, and quality controls ensure that you get what you have paid for -- a quality, in-depth beta read.
How Much Does It Cost?
Each beta read is calculated on how many beta readers you want and how long your manuscript is. Element Editing Services charges $1.87 per 1000 words which goes directly to your beta reader. Added to this is a $100 admin fee, which caps at $150 for multiple readers.
Every professional beta read includes an administration fee, although sometimes you won't see this as it will be incorporated into the cost per reader. As ever, I like to be completely upfront about my costs.
The admin fee covers the management of beta readers, emails to the client, and quality control of questionnaires (I check over them to make sure you get the right amount of feedback).
For the average manuscript
1 reader: $250 (150br, 100a)
2 readers: $450 (300br, 150a)
3 readers: $600 (450br, 150a)
4 readers: $750 (600br, 150a)
What If Your Piece is Really Short?
Often we receive pieces that are relatively short or under 50,000 words. In cases like this a flat rate is charged. Please contact us for a quote!
I can't say enough positive things about Element Editing Services. Their Beta Reader Questionnaire was in-depth and thorough. It pointed out the chapters that moved too slowly, the unnecessary characters, plot holes, dialogue, etc. It was the feedback that I needed to polish my novel. The response time was quicker than promised, and I would highly recommend their services.
- Shannon Jones