AJC Australian Beta readers
Need some feedback on your manuscript, but not feeling ready to show people yet? Perhaps your friends or family have told you it’s great, but you know, deep inside, they don’t want to hurt your feelings. Or maybe you’re stuck halfway through and just want some support and encouragement. Sounds like you’re ready for some independent, honest, constructive feedback that doesn’t cost a fortune.
Why book a beta reader?
It doesn’t really matter what stage of life you are at as writer, everyone needs feedback to help give perspective. Whether your manuscript is at second draft or tenth draft, having two or three beta readers review your work is a smart, inexpensive way to get feedback before you engage a professional editor.
Our beta readers are all avid book lovers, willing to give you a fresh perspective on your work, especially when you’re too close to clearly see your own story and characters. Coming from all walks of life, our readers have diverse backgrounds and reading habits. So whether you’re writing for a mature or younger audience, for Memoir, Romance, Children’s chapter books or Sci-Fi fans, you’ll receive genuine feedback from experienced readers in your genre.
All beta reports take the form of a detailed standardised questionnaire and focus on big-picture issues. However, authors are welcome to pose specific questions themselves. Examples of the types of questions readers are required to answer are:
- Does the story hang together well?
- Are the scenes set clearly?
- Are the characters believable, likeable or engaging?
- Does the story start in the right place?
- Is the ending satisfying and does it come full circle?
- Is there a sneaky plot hole?
- Is the story itself believable?
- Are there problems with continuity and structure?
- Could the writing itself be improved?
What beta readers don't do
- Beta readers do not communicate back and forth with authors. Think of a beta reader as an intelligent, avid reader in a bookshop, who picks up your book, reads it, then writes a review on the book’s strengths and weaknesses and what they felt worked or didn’t for them as a reader.
- Beta readers do not provide editorial advice. Nor do they mark up your manuscript with spelling, grammar or punctuation issues – that’s an editor’s job. Beta readers respond more to how your book made them feel.
- Any questions your beta reader might raise in your report are the type of questions your general readership might raise. These questions are for you to use in developing your manuscript further. You don’t need to answer them for your reader.
Why book multiple readers?
Opinions are subjective. By booking multiple readers, you are more likely to get a wider feel for what’s working and what’s not. If two or more people are saying the same thing, it’s more likely this is how your readership will perceive your work. If one person disagrees, you can take or leave their thoughts as the odd one out. Think of it as having your personal workshop group.
While the majority of my beta reading team are editors, as beta readers their aim is to provide that gut-feeling response you need from new readers – equal to someone picking up your book in a store and giving you a constructive review, without the risk of your work being torn apart by harsh criticism. Naturally, if you’re after more detailed feedback accompanied by professional advice, an Assessment or Developmental Edit is what you need.
While beta reports are uniformly structured to cover standard issues, they are not intended to be extensive – that would be an assessment. Beta reports are designed to give a brief summary – though some readers may be more generous with their time.
AU$2.50 per 1,000 words, with a minimum of AU$120 per reader/per manuscript. Payable in advance. (See the rate calculator under the booking button)
Author anonymity and privacy
Our beta reads are completed anonymously for both readers and authors, so there’s no judgement or preconceived ideas getting in the way of honest feedback.
All members of the beta reading team have signed a non-disclosure agreement confirming that any work submitted to them for beta reading purposes is copyright and the rightful intellectual property of the author, and it may not be shared or discussed with members of the public, unless a published copy has been freely given as a gift by the author, or the reader has legally purchased a copy from a retailer.
Australian vs International Marketplace
We are happy to read books from all over the world, as long as they are in English. After all, stories are stories, and their building blocks are not unique. Plenty of books from America and the U.K. make their way onto our shores.
However, if you specially want an American reader, we recommend US-based Quiethouse Beta Reading Network. Or you may wish to book a combination of both Australian and American readers.