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.

What Are Beta Readers and Why Do I Need Them?

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.

How Does Beta Reading Work?

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.

What Can I Expect From You As My Beta Reader?

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.

What Do You Expect From Me?

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.

What Is The Turnaround Time?

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!

How Much Does It Cost?

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.

For example:

  • For a first beta read, if your exact word count is 53,498, you will pay $107.00.
  • For a first beta read, if your exact word count is 112,405, you will pay $224.81.
  • For a second beta read of the same book, if your revised word count is 68,925, you will pay $137.85 less 15% = $117.17.
I Choose You! What Do I Do Next?

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:

  • Genre, including target audience
  • Exact total word count
  • Average chapter word count
  • What the story is about
  • Content/trigger warnings

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.

Beta Experience
Editing Experience