Are you looking for an in-depth constructive evaluation of your work-in-progress novel? Look no further! I am periodically available to beta read Young Adult, New Adult, or Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy books (50,000 words or more), including books in crossover genres such as SFF Romance and Dark SFF.
I am typically not bothered by violent or erotic content that may require trigger or content warnings, though I do expect that if your work contains that kind of material that you will have the appropriate warnings at the start of the manuscript.
After you have drafted and self-edited your novel a few times, it's time to get beta readers. Beta readers are people in your target audience who evaluate high-level developmental aspects of your book from the perspective of an everyday reader. Their job is to let you know where the obvious non-technical problems are: Is your plot confusing or predictable? Are your characters likeable and relatable? Does the world you built feel real? And so on.
The idea is, if an everyday reader finds issues with your work, then the rest of your target audience is probably going to find those issues too. Beta reading is your opportunity to work out those kinks at a low cost to you before you spend a good chunk of money on what should be the final, professional edit. If you leave those kinks for your professional editor to find, your bill for that professional edit is going to be astronomical, and nobody wants that.
Keep in mind that beta readers are generally not concerned with pointing out typos or other grammatical mistakes and they do not perform a line edit.
Keeping your target audience in mind, you should aim to get a variety of ages, genders, and ethnicities to beta read for you. (I am a white, 40-something heterosexual woman.) For your first round of beta reading, aim for at least 15 people. It sounds like a lot, but the more eyes you put on your work, the better the aggregated feedback will be to show trends of actual problems. After the round is done, redraft your book based on the feedback you received, then do another round of beta reading. Rinse, repeat. Each subsequent round of beta reading can have fewer people involved depending on how much work you end up having to do.
Generally, especially early on in the process, beta readers give chapter-by-chapter feedback by answering a set of predetermined questions. Toward the end of the process, you can switch to an overall evaluation. Three to five rounds of beta reading is generally a good goal for the average author to undertake.
I have a professional editing background and a few of the novels I've worked on have gone on to win (or be nominated for) awards. I provide honest, in-depth, constructive critique of your work and I work best on a chapter-by-chapter basis. This makes me an ideal choice for your first or second round of beta reading. Samples of feedback I've given are available in the Experience section below.
If you don't have a set of questions for each chapter of your book, I will provide a template for you to customize as appropriate. If you do have your own questions, wonderful! But if I feel they may not allow me to give you the best feedback I can, I will ask you to add my template to yours.
Not only will I look at the developmental aspects outlined above, I also have a tendency to sniff out inaccuracies. Did you do your research when you proposed that the sky on your alien world is pink? Have you provided a plausible explanation for how your aquatic species is able to drink wine while underwater? Even if it's a work of fiction, things still have to make sense.
Lastly, even though beta readers are not expected to proofread, I will point out some technical errors if they appear consistently in your work, just to give you a leg up on the professional proofread later.
As a beta reader and editor, I understand the importance of confidentiality. Your manuscript will not be shared with anyone. I will add brief details about your work to my Experience section and, potentially, I will ask your permission to use an appropriately redacted sample of the feedback I provided to you as an example of my work for others to evaluate.
You need to do your best to set up the questions for each chapter of your book. It's up to you to decide which characters and events require the most attention. The better you do with the questions, the more useful my feedback will be to you.
Ultimately, it's up to you to use or discard the feedback you receive as you see fit. It's your book; you do you. But if you really want to benefit from this whole process and make your book the best it can be, you must be open-minded and willing to accept that beta readers will find problems with your work.
Never share or publish the feedback I provide to you. The only place where that is acceptable is on this page, and that will only be done with prior agreement from both of us.
Never use my feedback (or anyone else's feedback) as a justification for changes or improvements you made. The responsibility for those changes and improvements is yours alone.
Don't be afraid to ask questions about the feedback you receive.
Generally, you should give your beta readers one week per chapter. This allows enough time to slot your work into the beta's busy schedule and still provide thoughtful feedback, especially if your chapters are long (more than 3000 words). Yes, this means if you have a lot of chapters, the beta reading process could take a few months. However, if your chapters are particularly short (3000 words or fewer), you might be able to expect a few chapters per week.
I work full-time, plus I run my own business, and I'm working on my own novel. This means I generally aim to turn around one chapter per week, but will do more if your chapters are short, or if I have additional time, or if your work is particularly compelling!
Chapter-by-chapter analysis is time-intensive, taking several hours or more depending on the length of the chapter, the complexity of the novel, and the level of feedback required. Considering my professional background, the cost for this service is $2.00 per 1000 words. If you would like me to beta read the same novel for you a second time after you’ve revised it, I offer a 15% discount. Prices are in Canadian funds.
The exact word count will be based on what the word processor calculates for the full document, including any appendices, glossaries, etc.
Payments are accepted through PayPal only. Pro-rata refunds are only available if feedback delivery is late by more than two weeks or if I'm unable to complete the book.
I am not currently accepting requests to beta read. Check back soon!
When I'm available to beta read, simply contact me to get the ball rolling. Introduce yourself and tell me about your book:
Be sure to use a valid email address, otherwise I won't be able to get back to you!
You'll hear from me in a few days with any questions I might have and/or whether I'm able to help you out. I may also ask for the first one or two chapters to ensure we're a good fit before I decide.
Winner, inaugural A.E. Van Vogt Award
Winner, 2005 Aurealis Award
2004 Benjamin Franklin Award Finalist
Two developmental edits
Science Fiction Romance
Coaching on structure, purpose, and character development
Copyediting and developmental edit
Extensive line editing and plot redevelopment
Copyediting and developmental coaching
I’ve known Cheyenne for years, so it was a strange experience having her beta read ‘Path of the Warrior’. I can’t stress enough just how thorough her comments were. She has a great depth of knowledge and isn’t shy about pointing out where I made serious errors. She’s thoughtful, detailed, and genuinely cares about the work she’s doing, which helped a lot going through redevelopment of my book. She surprised me one day with her thoughts and her notes have served me well in my rewrite. I look forward to enlisting her services again in the future.
If you want comprehensive, detailed feedback, Cheyenne is the person to go to. Her attention to nuances in my work was incredible. Turnaround was fast and thorough. I could not be more pleased with the information she gave me and would recommend her to every- and anyone who wants an in-depth, helpful and constructive beta service. You won’t regret having her look at your hard work!
I can't recommend Cheyenne highly enough. She's organised, she's tough, her attention to fine details is unsurpassed. She did wonders for my first book, "Orbital Burn", and worked the same magic on my second book "Eclipse", all despite my own clumsiness, idiocy, neuroses, misunderstandings and colossal blunders. Cheyenne's involvement with my work is something I will always treasure. And she is a friend I will always treasure, too.
Over a period of several weeks, Cheyenne went through the novel line-by-line and prepared a comprehensive list of suggestions and/or corrections to make the work ready for publication. During this process I found her pleasant to deal with, honest with her criticisms, and just as forthcoming with compliments when she thought they were justified. It was a nice balance of carrot and stick which I suspect should be the basis for any successful author/editor relationship.
When we found out we'd have to run "Throne Price" through one more editing cycle, I admit I was unhappy. When Cheyenne sent us 30 pages of notes to work through I took one look, poured a drink, and watched TV that night instead of writing. But by the time I had buckled down to a productive three-way exchange of files and e-mail, I began to discover feelings of gratitude. There *were* thirty pages of errors and rough spots in the book. Cheyenne also found places where a little effort did wonders for clarity, which is always a struggle in a complex, invented setting like the Okal Rel Universe and doubly so when both authors have been living with it for twenty years longer than readers will have. All in all, in the end, I find myself more confident about the book as I move towards cons and public readings, for which I am grateful. But most of all I am sincerely moved by Cheyenne's willingness to share the dream and honor the story, while bringing her professionalism to bear. If the book fails to invite people into the Okal Rel Universe, as ambassador for the series, it will not be for lack of application on Cheyenne's part. A big THANK YOU to Cheyenne for so masterfully managing to be part of our world with a foot set firmly in the real one, and doing it all in record time, to preserve the May release date of the book.
I've known Cheyenne mainly in her function as the editor of my novel "Keaen". Over the time we've worked together I developed great respect for Cheyenne's boundless energy, integrity, competence, organization, devotion to her work, and her skills in handling, occasionally difficult, authors—in this instance me. I want to thank her for the hard work she's done for me, and, without reservations, recommend her services.
Cheyenne's editorial skills are formidable. For months on end she forced me to review and rewrite and review again and again my manuscript for my latest novel, "Timecross'd". In that year, my manuscript was transformed from a decent first draft to a tightened, exciting tale. With precious few exceptions (due to an author's innate conceit), every change she suggested, hinted at, and outright demanded made the story better than before. Nothing got past her, whether I wanted it to or not. In my thirty years of writing for various media, I have never encountered an editor with the passion and compassion, the right sense and forthrightness, of Cheyenne.
Cheyenne provided indispensable assistance in editing my manuscript. Her suggestions for revision fleshed out my characters and added depth to the plot. My novel, "Soul Searcher", is now more fluid and readable. Furthermore, Cheyenne was able to spot weaknesses in the storyline, which when corrected, strengthened the overall, and her grasp of grammar and tempo only complemented her other suggestions. I now feel "Soul Searcher" is a more formidable competitor for the Fantasy Market. I look forward to utilizing Cheyenne's services with future projects.
As a writer who has had the privilege of conferring with her regarding my novel, "Perkeleen Kissa", I found Cheyenne's insights and advice invaluable. She also has a lovely ability to connect with people; we've never met, but I feel we've become friends. I would think any writer would feel "safe" working with her. It's reassuring to have an editor who seems genuinely caring, yet represents competence, stability and good common sense—with the subtlety to make us think that any changes in our manuscripts are, indeed, our own idea. With her bright intelligence, diplomacy, sense of humor and her love of the written word, Cheyenne is a "natural", bringing to her work not only expertise but intuition.
Cheyenne particularly impressed us with her conscientious efforts to keep us informed of the manuscript's progress through regular communiques. Cheyenne provided us with extremely helpful suggestions. She also made herself readily available for feedback and guidance while we were making the changes. Her recommendations for improving the quality of our writing and the story's plot demonstrated a keen eye for detail as well as tremendous skill at story telling. Overall, Cheyenne possesses both the technical and artistic skills required of an effective editor. She demonstrated to us that she is consistently pleasant, professional and proficient. We recommend her without reservation.