When you need a fresh perspective, I’m here to help.
Why Beta Readers Rock:
Beta Reading is an intermediate step between a finished draft of your manuscript and before you indie-publish or submit to an editor or literary agent. When you’ve been immersed in a story for weeks or months, a beta reader can give you a fresh perspective about what’s working (or not working) on the page. You only get one chance to make a great first impression, so you want to make it count.
Ideal Betas Readers are:
+ Book Lovers.
+ Fans of your genre.
+ Part of your target audience.
+ Trustworthy & reliable.
+ Honest, but respectful.
And they can verbalize what they like and identify the trouble spots in your manuscript.
Because I love to beta read. And I don’t half-ass my feedback. I give you everything I’ve got. My goal is always about helping YOUR story shine and retaining your voice, style, themes, and storytelling sensibilities.
I once took a short story writing class at Arizona State University, and I was ecstatic to be in a room full of beta readers for my story draft. The first big assignment was to read stories written by classmates and fill out an index card’s worth of feedback for each author. Every single card I received in response to my short story, and I received ten of them, had only 2-3 words. “Nice story.” “I liked it.” Etcetera. Even though most of those words were positive, they were unhelpful platitudes, and the entire experience was frustrating and disappointing. I needed more.
Because, let’s be perfectly honest, my manuscript sucked. But how was I supposed to make my story better with such generic and brief comments? It’s unfortunate that so many people are unwilling or unable to give honest reactions, whether it’s because they don’t want to hurt your feelings, or they can’t be bothered to invest some time and energy into engaging with your story. The thing is, I was one of the first students to receive feedback in that class. I could have made the choice to give back exactly what I got. But I didn’t. For every single classmate, I thought long and hard about their stories and filled their index cards with as much encouraging, useful feedback as the card could hold. Because I valued my responsibility as a beta reader, classmate, and fellow author.
“No, but really, what’s your cred?”
It’s all subjective, right? But I’ve read hundreds of unsolicited stories submitted for publication for pro-magazine Flash Fiction Online and not only helped recommend stories for publication, but I also gave feedback for the authors who submitted but were not selected. Plus I’ve earned two certificates in Creative Writing (Phoenix College, Arizona State University’s Piper Center for Creative Writing), and I’ve been beta reading and critiquing in writing classes and writing groups for more than ten years.
Why should I pay a Beta Reader?
First, you don’t need to. Plenty of writers do free “swaps” with other writers. Some folks use friends and family. And for other authors, their agents and editors generally serve as their beta readers.
But good beta reading takes time, energy, critical reading skills and a willingness to be frank. It can be a lot of work and you might not have the right people available.
Here are some reasons why you might need a paid expert.
- You don’t know any good beta readers.
- The beta readers you do know are busy and can’t give your manuscript their undivided attention.
- The feedback you’ve gotten in the past hasn’t been what you needed.
- Your friends and family are great, but their feedback can be… complicated. They might not be willing to risk your feelings, and hard as they might try, they likely won’t be able to give you an unbiased opinion.
- Other writers keep trying to change your story into their style, their voice.
- You’re finding it difficult to ask for what you need from volunteers.
- You don’t want to trust your story with just anyone.
- You’ve got a tight deadline, and need someone who can work quickly.
- You really don’t want to beta read for others in swaps.
- You want results now and don’t have time to test out potential beta readers.
I provide 100% honest, respectful feedback on:
- The Hook
- Overall Story
- Plot Holes
- Pacing & Flow
You will receive at least 1000 words of feedback specifically about your manuscript in a word doc or pdf. Or if you prefer, I will complete a general questionnaire targeting the above elements of the story, up to 30 of your own selected questions. The questionnaire answers will count as part of the 1000 word feedback guarantee.
Please note: I do not provide paid or unpaid book reviews or blurbs.
Beta Reading Fees
$2.00 per 1,000 words
(with a $50 minimum fee)[Please do not submit more than 5 short stories per project request.]
What I Read
Picture Books (text only), Flash Fiction, Short Stories, Novelettes, Novellas, Novels
Fiction – Picture Books, Middle Grade, Young Adult, & Adult
I’ll read most genres. I particularly love mystery, romance, fantasy, supernatural/paranormal, and their subgenres.
Ready to Hire Me?
Please complete the Beta Reading Project submission form.
“She picked up right away of what I was going for and her input was great.” ~ Sallylyn Hill
“For the first three chapters of my mystery novel, Denise provided a beta read analysis that was beyond my expectations. She included suggestions for plot, recommendations on character development, improvements for dialog, and proposed edits. In addition to those insights, she provided links to online resources to better understand the reasons for her critique comments. I am excited to have her beta read the completed novel when I finish it to help create a quality manuscript to pitch agents.” ~ Nicolette Lemmon, President, LemmonTree Marketing Group
Superb beta reader — professional, intuitive of my intentions, insightful, honest and meticulous. Denise tackled a difficult project for me with finesse, and offered clearly expressed and actionable advice. Buy this gig! ~ fiverr client
If I get published, it will be because I found Denise. She knows her stuff. I did not tell her specifics in advance, and yet every area of my book that I was unsure about, she picked up on. Her comments were precise and effective. Her depth of understanding how to write fiction is incredible. Plus, she tells you how long her edit will take, and she meets her deadlines. ~ Nancy