Saturday, November 5, 2016

Up 'Til Dawn Book Blog - Now Offering Beta Reading Services!

Beta Reading

What is a beta reader? As a review gives opinion to other readers, a beta reader gives opinion directly to authors. Contrary to a review, a beta reader will offer a more in-depth (and private) opinion of a manuscript. They might give suggestions, praise, or both.

If you decide to use a beta reader, please expect to receive critical feedback. Can any book be perfect to every reader? Absolutely not. Therefore, you will undoubtedly receive at least some suggestion or criticism, meant to help in improving your book and craft. Of course, no author is under obligation to make changes to their work. A good beta reader will respect the author's opinion and vice versa.

Beta readers are sometimes easy to find but not necessarily as helpful as an author would like them to be. It's hard to ask for more from a beta reader, especially considering they are not being paid for their time and effort. As a part-time author, myself, I know what I look for when receiving feedback from readers, so I do my best to offer the same feedback to the authors I beta read for. However, as this is an unpaid service, there are some limitations. More on that in a moment.

Here are the elements I pay attention to most when beta reading:

Pacing - Does the book flow steadily along or jump around too much? Does it hold my attention?

Plot Holes - Did a plot thread slip through the cracks and never resurface? Does a conflict need a more thorough explanation or resolution?

Balance - Making sure that a story has an appropriate amount of elements related to the book's intended genre. Is the action/suspense overwhelming a romance story? Do the characters have enough downtime or need more action? Does the secondary plot add to the main story or distract too much?

Dialogue - Are the conversations realistic? Is it easy to decipher who is speaking and when?

Inaccuracies - Facts of the story that are accidentally changed. Example: Jane's age is 25 in one chapter and 28 in another.

Character Description & Behavior - Can I visualize the characters with the description provided? Are the actions of the characters appropriate for the traits that have been presented?

Setting & Overall "Feel" - Is the story's description painting a picture of the location? What impression or feeling does the story give? This would mainly apply to fantasy novels or those with stronger worldbuilding.

I may give specific suggestions for some of these elements and provide a general opinion for some others. Report may not contain all sections, only those that are more pertinent to the material. Of course, you are welcome to ask me to focus on one element in particular or elaborate on parts of my report and comments. However, I have my own method for reporting and typically will not use author-provided questionnaires.

What I will not do:

Proofread - I will overlook typos and will not make mention of them in my notes unless the error strongly hinders the story. For example, missing words that can cause confusion. I am happy to proofread manuscripts after a beta read is finished, for a fee. For more information on proofreading services, see below.

Edit - I will not make any alterations to or notes within the manuscript. If using a paper copy, I will not send a marked copy back to you. At least one round of revisions should be completed before I receive the manuscript. If you want my feedback on your story, it needs to be readable. If you need help with story structuring or line-by-line analysis, you are looking for an editor or proofreader, respectively.

Review - If I accept your book for beta reading, please know that I will NOT officially review the work. This would be a conflict of interest for me to review a book that I may or may not have had an influence on. I would still be happy to spotlight your book on my blog for the release, share an excerpt, author interview, etc.

Cost: Free
While I do not charge for Beta Reading, once my services are completed, I will gladly accept tokens of appreciation (Final print or eCopy, book swag, etc.).

Due to my workload, I am selective of the books I choose to beta read similarly to the books I choose to review. If you are an author who I have previously read/reviewed, the chances are higher that I will accept your work. However, I am open to new material that fit my desired reading preferences, found here: Review Policy.
**I will only respond to requests that I intend to accept. Because this is a free service, I often receive too many requests to adequately respond to all messages.**

If you are interested in working with me, please fill out this form.
You will be required to submit the first chapter/5 pages/3000 words (max) for me to consider your manuscript.

Got a question? Shoot me a message, here.