Element Editing Services is currently looking for more beta readers to join the team.
Think you're up for it?
What Is Beta Reading?
Beta reading is not editing. Beta reading is where a person reads an author’s manuscript and provides feedback. Professional beta reading, however, is where a trained individual reads an author’s manuscript and provides guided feedback using a questionnaire. Professional beta readers get paid. In the past, beta reading was seen as a free service provided by one person to an author, however it is hard to find high-quality beta readers and the need for professional beta readers has grown over the last few years. It continues to grow.
Beta reads differ from manuscript critiques in that a critique provides a lengthy report at the end. While beta reading isn’t editing, it can open the door to editing and the publishing industry, most notably structural editing and developmental editing. Copyediting and line editing are specialised skills, as is proofreading. These can be developed, particularly if you have a solid foundation already, but are not part of beta reading or critiques.
What’s the Process?
The first thing that will happen when you sign on to be a beta reader, is that you will actually sign on. Beta readers will be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement in order to protect Element Editing Service’s clients. This is standard practice in the publishing industry and is not a sign of distrust, but rather allows the author to know that their work is being looked after and that it is being held in confidence. Non-disclosure agreements are not provided to the clients and are kept confidential unless required during legal proceedings.
Getting Started - Testing
To begin with, you will perform an unpaid beta read on a manuscript and use a questionnaire to form your response to the client. This might be a practice manuscript, or this may a live project. Either way, the purpose of this beta read is to see your turnaround time, as well as your skills in constructive criticism.
Remember, answers to the questions on the questionnaire do not need to be longwinded. A paragraph or two is more than enough (overkill sometimes), but it is important to make sure your writing is clear, concise, analytical and unbiased.
Once the practice beta read is completed, Element Editing Services will determine what kind of works you might best suit. Your preferences will also be taken into account and, when a beta read project comes in, it will be allocated to the person best qualified (and available) for that particular project.
All applicants must be willing to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) which must be provided before taking on their first paid project.
All applicants must sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) prior to the test taking place.
Applicants must be based in Australia.
Applications can be sent to and must include the following information:
What makes you think that you will be a good beta reader?
Do you have any experience in beta reading or critiquing?
What is your primary job?
What qualifications or areas of specialty do you have outside of the writing industry?
What do you love to do outside of work? Do you have any hobbies?
Where do you live?
Can you speak any other languages fluently?
What genres do you prefer? (This will determine what kind of work comes your way.)
Is there anything you won't read? (please be specific, this is important!)
Successful Application? Welcome to the team!
Once you've been approved as a beta reader, you'll need to get your hands on some very important software:
Microsoft Word allows you to view the manuscripts in the state they are meant to be viewed, and to edit the questionnaire document which will be made available via Slack or emailed to you directly. Microsoft Word is the one application that is not free; hopefully you already have it, but if you don’t we can discuss this and find ways around it.
Slack is an instant-chat platform which is uncluttered and useful for working with both individuals and teams. Importantly, the application also allows secure document transference. Slack can be used anywhere and is available for mobile devices. This application is free to use.
Trello is a project manager application. It can be accessed on mobile devices, as well as through web browser. I recommend using it in Google Chrome, and I also recommend that you download the Google Chrome extension List Layouts for Trello. This application, and the Google Chrome extension, are both free.