Beta reading, also known as manuscript critique, evaluates your overall story and identifies its strengths and weaknesses. A beta read is useful at any stage of your manuscript to help you identify issues such as plot holes, flat characters, or quirks of writing that may distract your potential readers.
Although similar to a substantive edit, a beta report is less detailed, discussing your work as a whole rather than chapter-by-chapter. Areas I will cover include the following:
Is your title effective? Does it encapsulate what your story is about?
Does your story have a theme? Does it need one? If you have a theme, does your story support it naturally, or is it forced?
PLOT AND CONFLICT
Is your plot logical and believable? Original? Will it ensnare the reader? Does it progress naturally, or do you suffer from deus ex machina? Do you have well-defined internal and external conflicts? Do your characters react appropriately?
CHARACTERIZATION AND MOTIVATION
Do your characters feel authentic and fully-realized? Are they likable? Do they have plausible goals and motivations? Do they grow? Are their interpersonal relationships convincing? Are your secondary characters relevant?
Does your opening scene have punch? Do you hook the reader and keep them turning the page? Does every scene progress your story? Do you get bogged down in exposition? Do you rush to get to the end or avoid getting there?
SETTING AND WORLDBUILDING
Is your setting fully developed? Is there a clear sense of time and place? Is there just the right amount of detail?
Are your details consistent? Do your events, characters, and world make sense?
Is your POV right for your story? Is it consistent? Are any changes in POV logical and necessary?
Is your dialogue natural and appropriate to both the characters and the story? Do you use dialogue correctly and effectively? Do you love flowery dialogue tags?
Is your language appropriate for the genre? Does it complement or undermine your story? Will readers find it accessible and immersive?
DESCRIPTION, IMAGERY, AND SYMBOLISM
Is your imagery effective or contrived? If you use symbolism, is it subtle? Are your similies and metaphors more showy than useful?
Do you show, not tell? Do you info dump or sprinkle? Do you use Mervyn Peake-like amounts of description? Is your tone right for the story? Is your word choice fitting? Do you have any quirks that may be jarring to the reader? Is your voice unique?
READABILITY (THE GOODS)
Does your overall story flow? Is there anything that may confuse, anger, or disappoint the reader? Do you deliver on your promises? What works? What doesn’t? Is your story enjoyable? Satisfying?
Is the romance between characters believable? Is there enough romance to satisfy genre readers? Is there so much romance that it eclipses the story? Are your erotic scenes actually erotic? Is your word choice appropriate for those sexy scenes? Are readers going to get all hot and bothered?
Is your ending satisfying for readers? Does it make sense? If your book is part of a series, does your ending encourage the reader to buy the next?
I will also evaluate any other specific issues as you require.
WHAT THIS SERVICE IS: A beta read evaluates the content of your manuscript as a whole, using the above topics as a guideline.
WHAT THIS SERVICE IS NOT: Although I will comment on technical aspects of your writing, I will not line edit or copyedit your manuscript for mechanics of spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. Beta reading does not evaluate your work chapter-by-chapter.
WHAT YOU WILL RECEIVE: You will receive a Word document with Track Changes and a Beta Report. Report length will vary based on the length of your work and the improvements needed.
WARNING: Beta reading can make you feel like you’ve been savaged. Keep in mind, our stories are usually better executed in our heads than they are on paper. Even the best authors have been known to get torn to shreds by their beta readers. You’ll live through it, and your book, and your writing in general, will become all the more successful for it. Remember, I want your work to represent the very best of you.
Price for a beta edit is $0.002* /word = $2.00/1000 words or $0.50/page**
Want to hire me for a beta read? Contact me here.
* prices are in USD
**based on the industry standard of 250 words per page