Meet the AJC beta reading team

Beta reading is a smart and cost-effective solution to getting honest feedback on your novel, memoir or book manuscript.

Our beta reading team are all professional editors or avid readers with a diverse range of backgrounds and a wide taste in genres. 

Genres covered

Fiction

  • Literary
  • Historical
  • General women’s
  • Romance
  • Crime
  • Thriller
  • Action
  • Mystery
  • Children’s

Fiction

  • Speculative
  • Fantasy
  • Science Fiction
  • Dystopia
  • Horror
  • Supernatural
  • Comedy
  • Poetry
  • Short stories
  • Screenplays

Non-fiction

  • Biography
  • Memoir
  • Self-help
  • Philosophy

Our beta readers

Alicia

*Under 25 yrs

I’ve always been a passionate reader. From reading with Mum as a toddler before bed, to now where I read with every spare moment I can grasp, books have always been a big part of my life. I decided I had to do something with them as a career, and I have now worked in the publishing industry for over two years.

My approach to beta reading: My wish is for every manuscript to be the absolute best it can be, and I take my part in that seriously. I spend time with the story everyday, taking notes as I read – and not just on criticisms, but on the parts that made me laugh, cry or gasp.

Formal Qualifications: Associate Degree in Professional Writing and Editing (RMIT), Bachelor Degree in Writing and Publishing (Melbourne Polytechnic)

Favourite genres:  Fantasy, science-fiction, memoir, contemporary (in MG, YA and Adult)

Genres I’m also happy to read: Creative Non-fiction, Romance, Horror

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Academic material

Favorite authors: Melissa Marr, Leigh Bardugo, Maria V. Snyder, Brandon Sanderson, Jay Kristoff

Am I an author? Yes, I have had two short stories published. I also write YA Fantasy, yet to be published.

Hobbies: Video-gaming, reading, writing

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Alix

I’m a part time copyeditor and proofreader, plus full-time public servant. In addition to working, I’m studying a Master of Arts (majoring in Publishing and Editing), and caring for my husband, four children and two dogs. 

My approach to beta reading: I’m honest and communicate the manuscript’s positives as well as its drawbacks. I try to articulate how I felt as I read the manuscript, how I wish I’d felt and whether the two align.

Formal Qualifications or Training: Ba App Sci (HMS), Ba Bus (Accy), MTax, CPA, CTA, MArts (completion Nov 2018).

Favourite genres: Romantic comedy, cosy mystery, young adult, science fiction, action, easy reading in general.

Genres I’m also happy to read: Memoir, biography, technical.

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Erotica, horror.

Favorite authors: LM Montgomery, Ursula leGuin, Tim Stevens, Denise Grover Swank.

Are you an author? No.

Hobbies: Reading, running, baking, crochet.

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Andrew

I’m the web content editor for a rugby league website and an associate member of Editors Victoria. I enjoy reading non-fiction (especially sport) and some fiction. I have experience working with emerging writers, understanding and respecting their different voices, and tailoring my feedback to help them improve as writers.

My approach to beta reading: My approach is to offer constructive feedback. I have experience mentoring non-fiction and academic writers, helping them improve their work through a close, collaborative relationship. I believe the writer will be more likely to accept constructive, compassionate feedback than a stringent enforcement of rules.

Formal Qualifications: Graduate Certificate in Editing and Publishing, University of Southern Queensland. Bachelor of Arts (Journalism, Creative Writing, Film Theory), Griffith University (Nathan and Gold Coast)

Favourite genres: Non-fiction (autobiographies and biographies), sport (both fiction and non-fiction), comedy, satire

Genres I’m also happy to read: Romance, horror, thriller, crime, mystery

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Anything exploitative or with cruelty to animals

Favorite authors: Ben Elton, Dan Liebke, Titus O’Reily, Ben Pobjie, Corey Taylor, William Bruce Cameron

Am I an author?: I am a freelance sports writer for a rugby league website and The South-East Advertiser (Queensland).

Hobbies / Interests: Playing and watching cricket, watching rugby league, rugby union and basketball, playing video games, writing, reading

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Angela

I love exploring language, in all its glorious forms. I’m happiest when I’m reading and surrounded by books, pages and paper, and get very excited by masterfully crafted narratives. I’m a freelance editor and mum to two young children who devour books faster than I do.

My approach to beta reading: I carefully consider the integrity and credibility of a manuscript. I aim to offer respectful and constructive feedback to help an author meet their goals. Becoming entirely enveloped in what I’m reading means I’m acutely aware of the emotions it elicits and how it might be received by others.

Formal Qualifications: BA (Hons) Linguistics and English, TESOL Certificate, Diploma of Editing and Publishing (Macleay), Accredited Editor (IPEd)

Favourite genres:  Literary fiction, history, biography, classics young adult, travel, fantasy, reference, cookery

Genres I’m also happy to read:  Popular psychology

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Horror, erotica

Favorite authors: Jasper Fforde, Philip Pullman, Robert Macfarlane, Isabelle Allende, Kazuo Ishiguro, Sarah Waters, Alexandre Dumas, JK Rowling, Deborah Harkness

Am I an author? No

Hobbies: Cooking, walking, collecting words, reading, exploring the outdoors with my children

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Beth

I’m a freelance writer and editor with a love for stories. I’ve lived in two countries and five states. A former health services manager turned consumer health advocate, I’m now busy raising three young daughters while studying part-time for a diploma of professional writing and editing.

My approach to beta reading: Because there’s vulnerability in letting others comment on your work, I look for things to praise as well as to query. I consider the pace of the story and its context. I also ask whether a particular action feels authentic for a character — would they really act as described?

Formal Qualifications: (Hons) in Political Studies, Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing (in progress at RMIT), short courses by Editors Victoria including structural editing. Member of the Institute of Professional Editors and the Australasian Medical Writers Association.

Favourite Genres: Historical fiction, women’s stories, mysteries, drama.

Genres I’m also happy to read: Young adult, memoir.

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Sci-fi, horror, erotica.

Favorite authors: Diana Gabaldon, Liane Moriarty, Paullina Simons, PG Wodehouse, Jane Austen, Lian Hearn, Kate Grenville, Julian Fellowes, Julian Barnes.

Are you an author? Yes. I write reports, grant applications and web content. Most of this is in the health field. I particularly enjoy translating complex medical information into plain English. Why refer to ‘unanticipated mortality events’ when you mean ‘sudden deaths’?

Hobbies: Reading, swimming, kayaking, bushwalking.

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Chloe

*Under 18 YA reader

I am a student at Methodist Ladies’ College and have always had a passion for reading. As a child, I read to my parents before I went to bed, rather than them reading to me. Nowadays, I excel in English class and am an avid reader outside of school.

My approach to beta reading: My approach is to be open to what the author is trying to create with their writing and to assist them in finding the best version of their work they can. I believe that listening to feedback is a crucial stage in producing something with potential.

Formal Qualifications: Year 6 English Award, distinctions in English (Years 7,  8 and 9), and Year 9 recipient of the MLC Cato Prize for academic excellence 2018.

Favourite genres: YA, dystopia, action and adventure, romance.

Genres I am also happy to read: Science fiction, mystery, fantasy, drama.

Favorite authors: Scott Westerfield, John Green, Veronica Roth, Melina Marchetta.

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Erotica.

Hobbies: Photography, netball, reading, makeup.

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Cindy

I love story. I love reading, writing and shaping stories. I’ve studied the art of story and created new stories through journalism, ghostwriting, screenwriting, script editing, manuscript assessment, short story writing, speechwriting and editing. While these stories may not always be in my voice, they importantly all have a voice. What is your voice and your story?

My approach to beta reading: I love storytelling and storytellers so I’m already on this ride with you. I’ll be looking for where the story shines and where I want to know more, where it will intrigue me and move me or where you’ve hidden those gems that just need a little more polish.

Formal qualifications: Freelance writer and editor with Gradute Diploma in Screenwriting (AFTRS) and Associate Membership with Institute of Professsional Editor (IPED), Australian Writers’ Guild (AWG), Australian Society of Authors (ASA).

Favourite genres: Crime fiction, true crime, thriller, mystery, horror

Genres I’m also happy to read: Literary fiction, general, historical

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Sci-fi, action, spec-fic

Favourite authors: Arundhati Roy, David Sedaris, Stieg Larsson, Tim Winton,
Christos Tsiolkas, Michael Robothom, Patricia Carlon

Am I an author: Not published or produced as yet

Hobbies: Reading, writing, binge-watching, Auslan signing, obsessive researcher, pre-pandemic first responder and community health volunteer.

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Connie

I’m a qualified freelance editor and longstanding YA reviewer for a YA blog. I love editing as well as mentoring authors to help their work shine. I’m currently writing a YA novel and have first-hand experience of the challenging yet fulfilling writing process. I buy far too many books, read a wide variety of genres and have been part of a book group for 17 years.

My approach to beta reading: I love to offer insights and productive feedback to authors. I’m not a critical person by nature and will always see the best in someone’s work whilst making honest suggestions for improvement. I know the struggle authors face and the considerable contribution constructive feedback can make.

Formal Qualifications: Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing (RMIT), Bachelor of Social Work (Monash University).

Favourite genres: General Fiction, YA, Fantasy, Thriller, Sci-fi, Contemporary Realism, Romance, Memoir

Favourite authors: Melina Marchetta, Jane Harper, Alex Miller, Ellie Marney, Jane Austen, John Green, Jennifer Donnelly, Cath Crowley, Maggie Stiefvater, Louisa May Alcott, Jandy Nelson, Harper Lee, Liane Moriarty.

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Extreme graphic violence, paedophilia.

Are you an author? Yes. Emerging author.

Hobbies: Reading, keeping fit, paddle boarding, eating chips and watching Netflix.

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Edwin

I’m an accredited editor, mostly in the corporate field. I read avidly and make sure that each book I read is a different genre from the one before. As an introvert, I lose myself easily in the characters. I am involved in theatre and music both as audience member and practitioner, so I appreciate what keeps an audience member/reader involved.

My approach to beta reading: My approach is based on admiration for the courage it takes to write a book and the pleasure of joining the author on their journey. I can put myself in the shoes of the reader, but I can also empathise with the author, which would help me to understand what they are trying to achieve, and to be sensitive in my feedback.

Formal Qualifications: BSc (Hons) and Master in IT Management

Favourite genres:  Crime, true crime, thrillers, historical, humour, fiction

Genres I’m also happy to read:  Horror

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Romance, fantasy

Favorite authors: Margaret Atwood, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Gabriel García Márquez, PG Wodehouse, Arnaldur Indridason

Am I an author? No

Hobbies / Interests: Music, theatre, dance, fitness

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Evelyn

*Under 25 yrs

I have grown up in an editor/journalist household so have enjoyed reading from a young age (to the extent of having parental restrictions for how many hours of reading a day was allowed). I’m now studying health science at university and enjoy the escape that reading novels provides.

My approach to beta reading: I like to fully immerse myself in the narrative and try to constructively identify details that hinder that experience, in the most encouraging way I can.

Formal Qualifications: Currently a university student. Year 12 Certificate.

Favourite genres: Memoirs/biographies, YA fiction, romance, drama.

Favorite authors: C.S. Lewis, Agatha Christie, Nicholas Sparks, Dale Carnegie, Jodi Picoult.

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Horror, fantasy, erotica.

Am I an author? No.

Hobbies: Reading, cooking, sewing, going to the gym.

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Fiona

In my day jobs, I’ve mostly edited classroom materials and government content. As a freelancer, I work in fiction and other areas of personal interest. My background’s as varied as that of most people who work with words, but the words keep finding me.

My approach to beta reading: I go with my first instinctive response. I think about what’s working and keeping me there, and what can be improved. Then I think about the most useful way to convey this to the author.

Formal Qualifications or Training: MPhil (Creative Writing), MA (Writing, Editing and Publishing), BA (English)

Favourite Genres: Literary fiction, crime, thriller, YA

Genres I’m also happy to read: Memoir

Genres/material I won’t read: Horror, MRA

Favourite authors: Randolph Stow, Ursula Le Guin, Tom Franklin

Am I an author? Yes. Short fiction and creative non-fiction.

Hobbies: Bushwalking, reading, cinema, amateur field naturalism

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Florence

I have spent my entire life amongst books. My grandmother owned a bookstore, I have always been an avid reader and writer and so studied writing and editing at university. As both a writer and an editor, I look at a story from both points of view. I am a freelance editor for several indie and traditional publishers.

My approach to beta reading: I look for what’s unique in a story, for what grabs me as a human being and lets me identify with the characters. I also look for what might have the opposite effect and why. I look for what connects a reader to the story.

Formal Qualifications: Advanced Diploma in Professional Writing & Editing, Master of Arts in Creative Writing, Postgraduate degree in Communications & Editing.

Favourite Genres: I specialise in YA but enjoy many other genres.

Genres/material I won’t read: Extreme (sexual) violence, books with a lot of sexism or racism, religious books, political books.

Favorite authors: Maggie Stiefvater (especially The Raven Cycle), Laini Taylor, Jandy Nelson, Toon Tellegen (Dutch author).

Am I an author? Yes, am currently writing a YA trilogy in which Norse mythology meets contemporary Aussie urban life. I love doing research and plotting.

Hobbies: I also work as a translator (Dutch to English) and travel to the Netherlands and the rest of Europe about once a year. I speak some French and German as well. I am also an avid dancer, particularly swing dancing, but I also enjoy hip hop and jazz dance. I was a nanny for 15 years, so I also know a lot about parenting and child-rearing.

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Geraldine

I am an editor with more than six years of experience in both fiction and non-fiction, a published author and creative writing workshop instructor. I’m also the Editor-in-Chief of an academic literary journal, and a previous a commissioning editor, prior to starting my own editing business. I work with various clients, such as Hardie Grant Books, and have a keen sense of what makes a good, worthwhile read

My approach to beta reading: To ask—does the book achieve what it has set out to do? Does it speak to its target reader? Are there any loopholes/developmental issues that will cause the reader to not suspend their disbelief? Are the characters rich and layered—and real? Does the prose flow, does it show and not tell?

Formal Qualifications: BA (Hons) English Literature with minor in Creative Writing; MA Publishing and Communications.

Favourite Genres: YA, literary fiction, crime fiction, true crime, academic non-fiction (literature, history, art).

Genres I’m also happy to read: N/A.

Genres/material I won’t read: Military history.

Favorite authors: Jane Austen, Neil Gaiman, Alice Munro, Haruki Murakami, Milan Kundera.

Am I an author? Yes.

Hobbies: Painting, Writing (poetry, short stories, plays), Soccer, Music, Yoga, Hiking.

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Ingrid

*Young YA Reader

I’m a year 10 student who looks forward to English class every second day, makes art and writes, and has a passion for good stories. The kind of stories that make you approach aspects of the world differently. I’ve always used novels and fiction as a sort of self help guide since I was little, and I love books about writing books.

My approach to beta reading:  I think there’s something special in every piece of writing. My goal is to provide feedback on any aspect of the story that will push it further, and assist the author in constructing the narrative they sought to create.

Formal Qualifications: Boroondara Literary Awards: poetry, Distinctions in English (years 7-9)

Favourite genres:  YA, fantasy, classics, mythology, poetry

Genres I’m also happy to read:  Sci-Fi, action/Adventure, historical fiction, thriller, mystery, crime

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Erotica

Favorite authors: Leigh Bardugo, J.R.R Tolkien, George R.R Martin, Jane Austen, George Orwell

Am I an author? (expand): No, but currently aspiring to write a novel

Hobbies: Art, violin, basketball, reading/writing, watching films

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Isabelle

*Under 25 yrs

I’m a second year uni student, majoring in Psychology and English with a focus on creative writing. Reading has always been an important part of my identity, starting out as a form of escapism and since settling into a healthy hobby. I love reading fiction for the excitement and emotion. Writing is my creative outlet of choice and I’m fascinated by tropes and story structures.

My approach to beta reading: My goal is to provide honest, constructive and respectful feedback to authors from the perspective of an objective reader. Ultimately, I want what the author wants: for their work to be published to a standard they will be proud of.

Formal Qualifications: Bachelor of Arts (English and Psychology) – current, HSC Advanced and Extension English (2018).

Favourite Genres: All fiction – Middle grade, Young Adult, Adult.

Genres/material I won’t read: Religious / self-help nonfiction.

Favourite authors: V.E. Schwab, Neal Shusterman, Derek Landy, Michael Grant, Scott Westerfeld, Leigh Bardugo, Eoin Colfer.

Am I an author? No.

Hobbies: Psychology, pop culture, working my way through a bucket list.

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Jacalyn

I’m a freelance writer and editor with years of experience in marketing. However, my passion is books. I read my first manuscript during an internship at a publisher. What a magical experience! Getting one of the first glimpses of what could be the next big thing and helping the author is an amazing feeling.

My approach to beta reading: Most of my working life has been training or assisting writers with their work. So I believe it’s so important to give feedback and guidance that encourages growth, not causes them to doubt their abilities. I don’t so much focus on rules; I focus on how writing makes me feel.

Formal Qualifications: Bachelor of Arts (Professional Writing), Bachelor of Creative Arts (Hons).

Favourite genres: General fiction, YA, sci-fi, drama, thriller/suspense.

Genres I’m also happy to read: Historical fiction, fantasy, chick lit.

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Child abuse, sexual violence.

Favorite authors: Please don’t make me choose!

Am I an author?: I write short stories but I haven’t been published.

Hobbies: Reading, painting and watching my stories.

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Jonathan

*Under 25 years

I am a student at The University of Adelaide majoring in both English Literature and Chemistry. My studies have developed my skills in analysis as well as creativity, so I can see both the analytical scientific side and the conceptual creative artistic side of writing. Having grown up reading everything from the Redwall series to Aristotle’s Poetics, I know a good story when I read one.

My approach to beta reading: A closet author myself, I have an understanding of what it is to write. My approach is one of clear constructive feedback, showing the reader’s experience and helping the author to improve their work.

Formal Qualifications: Year 12 English Literature (2015). Bachelor of Arts with Bachelor of Science, majoring in English and Chemistry (anticipated completion 2021)

Favourite genres: Fantasy, adventure, science fiction, literary fiction

Genres I’m also happy to read: Mystery thriller, dystopian, biographies, memoirs, self-development, educational, true crime, general fiction

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Erotica

Favorite authors: Lemony Snicket, Alan Bradley, Brian Jacques, Eoin Colfer, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien

Am I an author? Yes. I write adventure/sci-fi fiction. I like hand to hand combat and chivalry.

Hobbies / Interests: I enjoy motorbikes, riding and working on them. I also enjoy cooking, snorkling, reading theology books, and playing video games.

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Kellie

I started beta reading five years ago, reading and writing fan fiction. I now provide feedback for writers around the globe. I’m studying a Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing and spend way too much time reading for pleasure, averaging two or three novels per week. As a former business analyst, I freelance in web content writing and editing.

My approach to beta reading:  It’s not about my preferences, but about how the book will play with target readers. A writer myself, I try to give feedback that covers aspects of writing craft, which can affect the reader’s experience, while remaining constructive, encouraging and kind.

Formal Qualifications: I am in my final year of studies for a Certificate IV in Professional Writing and Editing at Victoria Polytechnic. My Diploma in PWE is also underway.

Favourite genres: Romance: contemporary and new adult, comedy, drama, rural and small-town. Other: noir/gumshoe, particularly with a female protagonist. Women’s fiction.

Genres I’m also happy to read: relationship-based or character-driven fiction, young adult, memoir.

Favorite authors: Kate Canterbary, Eve Dangerfield, Penny Reid, Kylie Scott, Barbara Kingsolver, Tim Winton, Vikram Seth, Kerry Greenwood, James S A Corey.

Genres/material I won’t beta read: horror, violence, child abuse.

Are you an author? Yes, I’m a writer and online-published fan fiction author. I’m yet to publish original fiction.

Hobbies: writing, sewing, reading.

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Kelsey

I’m a freelance journalist and editor who spends the majority of my time reading fantasy novels and studying fitness. As former Managing Editor of Cosmopolitan magazine – and lifelong girl power advocate – my primary interest is in stories with female lead characters and, of course, the odd bit of erotica.

My approach to beta reading: I like to give honest but sensitive feedback on how events and characters made me react, focusing strongly on believability and offering suggestions that may have come to mind during reading.

Formal Qualifications: BA Hons (English and Linguistics); Subbing and Indesign course w/ Alliance/Walkley Foundation Training for Journalists; Professional Editing and Proofreading Course w/The Sackville Academy.

Favourite genres: Fantasy, science fiction, paranormal erotica, YA

Genres I’m also happy to beta read:  Traditional romance, chick lit, literary fiction

Genres/material you won’t beta read: Crime, horror, biographies, non-fiction.

Favorite authors: Robin Hobb, Terry Goodkind, Gena Showalter, Nalini Singh, JR Ward, Paullina Simons.

Hobbies: Reading, fitness, yoga, writing.

Are you an author? Journalist.

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Lainie

I’m a part-time newbie freelance editor, plus a trained environmental/science educator meeting children’s literacy and related educational needs. I’m heavily involved in my daughter’s school, plus the wider community – volunteering weekly at my local Environmental Education Centre, school and community libraries. I’ve also trained in graphic art and publishing, using these skills to produce newsletters for the local Catchment Association.

My approach to beta reading:  I always keep a notebook beside me, day and night, so I can jot notes on queries or thoughts that come to me as I read. I’m passionate about books and stories and I’ve never failed to finish reading a book I’ve begun!

Formal Qualifications or Training: Bachelor of Science (Australian Environmental Studies), Postgraduate Diploma in Geographic Information Systems and Graduate Certificate in Environment (specialising in Education for Sustainability). Short courses in writing, editing, etc.

Favourite genres: Fiction: historical, crime, mystery, general fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, romance, chick lit. Non-Fiction: historical, biographies, science, educational reference.

Genres I’m also happy to beta read:  Medical reference.

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Erotica, overly religious or spiritual self-help, horror.

Favourite authors: Rachael Treasure, Rachael Johns, Kate Morton, Fleur McDonald, Fiona McIntosh, Di Morrissey, Monica McInerney, Freda Lightfoot, Nick Earls, Nikki Gemmell.

Are you an author? No, but I write, edit and produce newsletters, etc.

Hobbies: Reading, recycling/repurposing, arts and crafts (painting, papercrafts), photography, producing goods and information for others.

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Lauren

I have a curious and analytical mind, a love of language, and a passion for books. I’m a part-time editor with a background in law. This experience gives me an eye for detail, as well as an ability to see the big picture. I have experience writing technical and creative non-fiction documents, and I enjoy reading a wide variety of books.

My approach to beta reading: is to provide clear, considered and constructive feedback that will give the author an insight into the reader’s experience and help them to achieve their writing aims.

Formal qualifications or training: Graduate Certificate in Editing and Electronic Publishing (Macquarie University, 2016, won course prize for outstanding achievement), Bachelor of Laws with Honours (University of Adelaide, 2011).

Favourite genres: Adult fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction, non-fiction history, biographies and memoirs, crime and mystery.

Genres I’m also happy to read: Fantasy, science-fiction, YA, true crime, self-development, educational.

Favorite authors: Graeme Simsion (and Anne Buist), Anthony Horowitz, Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler), Alan Bradley, Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Richard Fidler, Alexandre Dumas.

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Horror, erotica, romance.

Are you an author? No

Hobbies: Cooking, reading, dancing and watching classical ballet, listening to classical music, visiting art galleries and museums.

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Leanne

I have a passion for both reading and writing. I am a voracious reader and reviewer for a wide range of genres. I write contemporary romance and am part of a network of writers who share and critque work. I am a member of the Australian Romance Writers Association and judge their writing competitions. I love a fantastic story and helping writers achieve that.

My approach to beta reading:  Sensitivity with honesty. I understand the author wishes to improve their work. As a writer, I know the benefit a pair of fresh eyes and perspective can offer. But at the end of the day, I just love reading and will be completely invested in your work.

Formal Qualifications or Training: Social worker, lawyer, author

Favourite genres:  Women’s fiction, romance, paranormal, historical fiction

Genres I’m also happy to read:  Most genres, excepting below

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Horror, sci-fi, erotica

Favourite authors: Kate Morton, Hannah Richell, Lucinda Riley, Belinda Alexandra, Rachael Johns, Kelly Rimmer

Am I an author? Yes. Two published novels of contemporary romance

Hobbies: Reading, running, walking, spending time with my family

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Lisa

I am a writer and writing coach with twenty years’ media experience in reporting, edting and sub-editing. I have a Master of Arts (Writing & Literature) Deakin Uni. I have a good eye and ear for a story and can spot gaps and inconsistencies. I’m also an active member of the LGBTQIA+ community.

My approach to beta reading:

I look for what the author feels is lacking as well as following my own instincts.  I trace each character and story arc from inception to end and ascertain if anything is missing in its journey. I check facts and consider inconsistencies and focus on engagement and believability.

Formal Qualifications or Training: Master of Arts (Writing & Literature), Graduate Diploma Professional Writing, University Certificate Information Management, Diploma Applied Science (Horticulture).

Favourite genres: LGBTIQ+, historical (Australian), women’s, lesbian erotica, memoir and bio, garden self-sufficiency, gardening, travel memoir.

Genres I’m also happy to read:  General fiction and YA.

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Violence, thrillers, horror, abuse (unless part of memoir/biog).

Favourite authors: Sarah Waters,  Jeanette Winterson.

Am I an author? Published journalist and an unpublished author of YA, travel memoir, lesbian memoir.

Hobbies: Filmmaker and screenwriter, horticulturist, gardener (organic, self-sufficient, permaculture, retro and vintage collector, swing dancer, musician (classical,  woodwind, orchestra, concert band), mental health, first aid.

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Liz

I didn’t have toys as a child, I had books. A love of reading and learning has shaped my life. My first degree was a BA (Hons) in English literature, my most recent one (2020) a multidisciplinary PhD in how we do, can, and should value water. I love being part of the process of discovering and developing new writers in all genres.

My approach to beta reading:

The time and effort a writer has put into a manuscript inspires me to expect a good read. With this in mind, identifying areas for improvement is a crucial service for the writer’s benefit – bearing in mind the need to encourage them, not overburden them with criticism.

Formal Qualifications or Training:

Diploma of Hospitality Management (TAFE Tas, 1984)

Bachelor of Arts (Hons) (UTas, 1994)

Bachelor of Fine Arts (UTas, 2001)

Advanced Diploma of Accounting (TAFE Tas, 2003)

Graduate Certificate of Professional Accounting (UNE, 2007)

Master of Commerce (UNE, 2009)

Graduate Certificate of Editing and Electronic Publishing (MQ, 2017)

PhD (UNE, 2020)

Favourite genres: Fiction – literary, crime, thrillers, mystery. Non-fiction – art, history, literature, philosophy, nature writing.

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Romance, sci-fi, dystopia, erotica.

Favourite authors: Janet Evanovich, Jeanette Winterson, Sara Paretsky, Barbara Kingsolver, Dervla Murphy, Harumi Murakami, Robert Macfarlane, Heather Rose, PG Wodehouse.

Am I an author? I have a history of uni-related publications (articles), one travel memoir unpublished, two chapters of my PhD published and working on two more, with an idea for a book to develop the theme of my PhD further.

Hobbies:

My work history in mainly in the hospitality industry (working worldwide in pubs, restaurants, cafes, 5-star hotels and European camping grounds), and as a bookkeeper/tax accountant in small business catering to a range of large and small, local, national and international clients.

In my personal life, I have twenty years’ experience in rescuing wildlife (primarily brushtail possums), a lifetime of living with cats and dogs, including now fostering cats.

I live self-sufficiently on 16 acres of bushland. I have been off the electrical grid since long before it was fashionable.

Interests include bushwalking, yoga, playing piano and guitar, crafts (knitting and crochet mainly, plus others as inspiration hits), also travel when global pandemics allow.

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Margaret

I’ve been devouring anything in print for most of my reading life. I’ve worked in libraries for forty years — the ideal place for book to lead to book. I’m now a freelance writer and editor and manage community publishing projects.

My approach to beta reading: I read widely and constantly. I would read manuscripts with an eye for originality of voice and approach, and an ear for a delight in language the writer wants to share.

Formal qualifications: Diploma of Social Science in Librarianship and RMIT Associate Degree in Professional Writing and Editing

Favourite genres: Literary fiction, short stories, murder mysteries, creative non-fiction, books for children from birth to twelve.

Genres I’m also happy to read: Romance

Genres/material I won’t read: For adults: None. For children: Gross out humour (poos, wees and falling down)

Favorite authors: Mohsin Hamid, Penelope Fitzgerald, Margo Lanagan, Rebecca Stead

Are you an author? Yes. I’ve co-written three books for babies, and I write about books for literary journals.

Hobbies: Patchwork and crane-watching

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Margie

I’m a reader, writer, editor, workshop presenter, public speaker. I’m also a founder member of a book club of nearly forty years (we are fashion starters!), and a member of writers’ group. I read anything and everything. I’m currently reading The Handmaid’s Tale as I missed it last time round.

My approach to beta reading: As a writer I know feedback is invaluable. It should, though, be couched in a supportive, constructive manner. Writers’ egos are usually fragile and writing is a very personal business; we bare our souls. I’ve learnt a great deal from having others read and comment on my own work.

Formal Qualifications: TAFE editing. Numerous editing and writing workshops.

Favourite genres: Literary fiction, memoirs, autobiographies, some chick lit, the classics.

Genres I’m also happy to read: Sci-fi, poetry.

Favorite authors: Sebastian Faulks, Ian McEwan, William Dalrymple, Donna Tartt, Tim Winton, Amitav Ghosh, Kate Grenville, Geraldine Brooks, Liz Byrski, Hanya Yanagihara, Jane Harper.

Genres/material you won’t beta read: None.

Am I an author? Yes.

Hobbies: Reading, yoga, walking with my dog, films, talking.

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Mary

I’m a qualified editor who mostly copy-edits or proofreads non-fiction, history or memoirs. I’m a prolific reader of mixed genres and reading is my main pleasure for relaxation. I must read every day; I hate giving away books, and I love buying them.

My approach to beta reading: Each author is different – each manuscript, therefore, can’t be compared with another. However, the character development, the ‘page-turning’ effect of the narrative, the prose, dialogue and descriptions should all, in turn, keep the reader satisfied and this is what I’ll be looking for. I enjoy reading new authors and particularly debut authors; currently, I’ve read three this month.

Formal Qualifications: HBD Nursing, BN, BA Hons, Diploma of Editing and Proofreading (ECU).

Favourite genres: History, memoirs, non-fiction, crime, adventure.

Genres I’m also happy to read: YA.

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Sci-fi, alt history, fantasy, porn.

Favorite authors: Tolkein, Hillary Mantell, Stieg Larsson, Peter Fitzsimon, Paul Ham.

Am I an author? Yes. Non-fiction and academic writing, currently compiling.

Hobbies: reading, knitting, gardening, walking, glamping, birdwatching, history and writing an oral history project for Bridgetown’s 150th anniversary of its gazettal.

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Melanie

I’ve spent many years as a collaborative writer of paranormal fiction and have since developed an avid interest in a wide range of genres. I enjoy authentic characters who complement a solid story that explores unique perspectives in both written and on-screen formats. When I’m not busy with work or family, I write fiction and poetry and take frequent trips to the cinema.

My approach to beta reading: I value transparency and will offer my thoughts honestly but with optimism. Character development, authenticity of voice and motivations behind character action interest me, and I’m always looking for solid storylines and fresh perspectives and style. Genre matters little when a story is told well by engaging characters.

Formal qualifications: Graduate RMIT Professional Writing and Editing.

Favourite genres: Literary, Paranormal, supernatural, YA and general fiction.

Genres I’m also happy to read: Thriller.

Genres/material I won’t read: Historical fiction, self-help, religious.

Favorite authors: Christos Tsiolkas, Maxine Benebe Clarke, Glen Duncan, Markus Zusak, Hugh Howey, Laurell K Hamilton.

Are you an author? Yes. YA, literary, paranormal, poetry.

Hobbies: Writing, reading, movies.

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Merridy

I run a freelance editorial services business and a site promoting books and art for adults and kids. I write, edit, illustrate and design for clients and for myself. As an author, I know what it’s like on the other side of the manuscript.

My approach to beta reading: English literature studies gave me an excellent grounding in book structure, language use, tone and genre. A lifetime of incessant reading means I quickly gain a feel for a work, its characters, plot pacing and integrity. It’s a pleasure to use these skills to help other writers develop their books.

Formal Qualifications: BA Hons (English Literature), Dip Ed, Grad Dip Psych Studies.

Favourite genres: General fiction, children’s and YA, fantasy, humour, creative non-fiction, poetry.

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Violence, forensics, gore, horror.

Favorite authors: Ursula Le Guin, Alexander McCall Smith, Alain de Botton, Michael Bond, Lian Tanner, Jandy Nelson, TS Eliot, AA Milne.

Am I an author? Yes. I write and publish humorous novels about guinea pigs.

Hobbies: Books, yoga, upcycling, travel, swimming, photography, guinea pigs.

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Millie

*Under 25 yrs

I have always loved reading and discussing books, from the moment I learned to read I didn’t stop. This is a love that has continued throughout high school and one that I am taking further through commencing a bachelor of arts with a major in literary studies.

My approach to beta reading: I believe beta readers should be honest and give true opinions of the book, though they should also be mindful of the fact that they may not be the intended readership and that there are multiple ways to interact with the text.

Favourite genres: Literary fiction, YA.

Favorite authors: Alice Pung, Helen Garner, Dodie Smith, Virginia Woolf.

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Erotica.

Are you an author? No.

Hobbies: Reading, playing guitar, riding.

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Robyn

I’m a professional writer and editor specialising in government, business and the not-for-profit sector. I’m based on Norfolk Island where I also work as a casual teacher. I enjoy writing children’s stories and love travelling to meet people and experience different cultures. I’m trying to learn Spanish!

My approach to beta reading: Growing up, I was known as the girl who was always reading. I recall walking to the local library on my own at five years of age. I love a good story, be it true or fiction, especially when it resonates in some way.  But more than that, I love coaching/guiding an author to make their story something special.

Formal Qualifications or Training: Cert IV Training and Assessment, B Ed (Upper Primary/Lower Secondary), Grad Dip (Ed Counselling), Post Grad Cert Editing and Electronic Publishing.

Favourite genres: Creative nonfiction and science fiction.

Genres I’m also happy to read: Autobiography , memoir.

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Pretty open to considering all genres.

Favorite authors: Thea Astley, Andrew Miller, Geraldine Brooks, Richard Flanagan, Tim Winton.

Am I an author? Yes

Hobbies: Writing children’s stories, learning Spanish, travelling, enjoying time with family and friends.

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Ruth

I’ve read widely since childhood. My mother would shout at me to put out the light and go to sleep. She enjoyed romance novels, my father preferred adventure stories. I grew up reading both. I love books that tell a clear story with strong plot and characters. As I’ve got older my reading tastes have broadened. Crime fiction is still my favourite

My approach to beta reading: I am honest, thoughtful, my remarks always considered. My approach is that of a reader and a writer. Suggestions are constructive and outline my emotional and intellectual response to a story and will address areas that work well as well as areas for improvement.

Favourite genres: Crime fiction, thrillers, mysteries.

Genres I’m also happy to read: Romance, historical, fantasy, women’s, general.

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Science fiction, violence, erotica.

Favorite authors:

Peter Temple, Garry Disher, Jon Cleary, Ian Rankin, Ruth Rendell, Ann Cleeves, Michael Robotham.

Am I an author? Yes. I had my first short story published this year. I’m currently working on a trilogy.

Hobbies: I’m a keen gardener, love crosswords, patchwork and my feline family.

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Sally

I’ve been a committed reader for well over half a century, and I have the useful ability to read on three levels simultaneously: as an author, as an editor/assessor and as a reader. I have been reviewing and writing appraisals for decades so I’m good at articulating my responses. 

My approach to beta reading: I read on three levels, and can consciously put myself in the shoes of author, editor and

Formal Qualifications: 400+ books published and many years of working as an editor and manuscript assessor

Genres I’m comfortable reading: Children’s books, chick-lit, picture books, creative non fiction, memoir, sf, fantasy, romance, romantica, erotic romance, historicals, cross-genre etc.

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Highly technical non-fiction, left-wing political stuff, plotless lit-fic, porn (which is not the same as erotica), nastiness, and extreme horror with gratuitous gore.

Favorite authors: Diana Wynne Jones, Margaret Mahy, Monica Edwards, Elizabeth Marie Pope.

Am I an author? Yes. I write children’s books, YA, fantasy, historicals, how-tos, romance, saucy “soft” erotic romance, picture books, reading scheme and verse.

Hobbies: Gardens, flowers, dogs, cats, donkeys, horses, cows, goats, cooking, walking, names and naming, gemstones, costumes.

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Steph

*Under 25 yrs

I have been a passionate reader ever since I can remember. I’m also a “bookstagrammer” and review the published books I read on Instagram. Outside of reading I work in the not-for-profit sector, and enjoy spending my time volunteering, indulging in music and films, and hiking.

My approach to beta reading: My approach is always a positive one. I will come to each manuscript with an open mind, and also keep in mind the target audience. I will look for the great ideas and themes that sustain the incredible work of writing a book, and provide thoughtful advice on what could be changed.

Formal Qualifications: Bachelor of Arts and Diploma of Languages at the University of Melbourne

Favourite genres:  Literary fiction, historical fiction, fantasy (including YA fantasy), speculative fiction, memoirs

Genres I’m also happy to read: YA fiction, crime, sci-fi

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Romance

Favourite authors: Philip Pullman, Kate Atkinson, Roxane Gay, Ian McEwan, Sarah Perry, Jeanette Winterson, Melissa Lucashenko, Sara Douglass.

Am I an author? No, although I do enjoy writing for fun.

Hobbies: Reading, hiking, watching films, playing piano.

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Stephen

I have been a keen reader since early childhood. I read a wide range of material. I enjoy non-fiction, particularly history and sociology. I also read a lot of fiction, from 19th and 20th century fiction to contemporary works.

My approach to beta reading: As a lay person I believe that I can read and assess writing “in the shoes of the average reader”, so to speak. As my wife is a writer (of both fiction and non-fiction) I appreciate the importance of making comments positive and constructive.

Favourite genres: History, sociology, religion, philosophy, biography, literary fiction, crime fiction.

Genres I’m also happy to read: Anything except erotica

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Erotica

Favorite authors: Charles Dickens. Fyodor Dostoevsky. Albert Camus. Lionel Schriver

Am I an author? No, except for the occasional short story.

Hobbies / Interests: I play drums and percussion.

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Sumudu

I have been an avid reader from a young age and often spent most of my time lost in the fictional worlds I was reading, a habit that continues to this day. I’m a freelance editor and have previously volunteered for Lateral Magazine. During the day, I work as a clinical trial coordinator and enjoy talking about books with anyone who will listen. 

My approach to beta reading:

I approach beta reading with an open mind, as I appreciate the time and effort it takes to create a fictional world. My reports will be honest and reflect the thoughts that come to mind, especially on how the story made me feel and believability of the story and characters.

Formal Qualifications or Training: PhD in Biological Sciences, Writing Editing and Publishing Course (Curtin University), Associate Member with IPEd

Favourite genres: Literary fiction, romance/chick-lit, YA, fantasy, crime

Genres I’m also happy to read:  Thriller, cookery, general fiction, historical fiction

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Non-fiction, dystopia, child abuse

Favorite authors: Penny Reid, Sarah J Maas, J.K. Rowling, Dervla McTiernan, Ben Aaronovitch, Samantha Young

Am I an author? No

Hobbies / Interests: Reading, cooking, baking cakes, yoga. I’m a scientist at heart

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Ted

I’m an accredited editor, mostly in the corporate field. I read avidly and make sure that each book I read is a different genre from the one before. As an introvert, I lose myself easily in the characters. I am involved in theatre and music both as audience member and practitioner, so I appreciate what keeps an audience member/reader involved.

I’m an accredited editor, mostly in the corporate field. I read avidly and make sure that each book I read is a different genre from the one before. As an introvert, I lose myself easily in the characters. I am involved in theatre and music both as audience member and practitioner, so I appreciate what keeps an audience member/reader involved.

My approach to beta reading: My approach is based on admiration for the courage it takes to write a book and the pleasure of joining the author on their journey. I can put myself in the shoes of the reader, but I can also empathise with the author, which would help me to understand what they are trying to achieve, and to be sensitive in my feedback.

Formal Qualifications: IPEd Accreditation, BSc (Hons) and Master in IT Management

Favourite genres:  Crime, true crime, thrillers, historical, humour, fiction

Genres I’m also happy to read:  Horror

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Romance, fantasy

Favorite authors: Margaret Atwood, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Gabriel García Márquez, PG Wodehouse, Arnaldur Indridason

Am I an author? No

Hobbies / Interests: Music, theatre, dance, fitness

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Terence

I’m an indie author and book reviewer publishing through my personal website, podcast and Aurealis Magazine, which gives me a wide exposure to the best and worst of the current science fiction and fantasy markets. My qualifications in archaeology and writing/literature give me a unique perspective on effective worldbuilding and an eye for the details that make a fictional world both vibrant and real.

My approach to beta reading: There’s no value to either cruelty or dishonesty in beta reading. I understand that writers inject a lot of emotional well-being into their work, but also that readers look for quality above all else. I close this gap between writer and reader expectations in a supportive but honest environment.

Formal Qualifications: Master’s of Writing and Literature, Bachelor of Archaeology (hons)

Favourite genres: Science fiction and fantasy

Genres I’m also happy to read:  Horror, supernatural, urban fantasy and wider speculative fiction

Genres/material I won’t beta read: Erotica

Favourite authors: Terry Pratchett, Brandon Sanderson, Trudi Canavan, Mur Lafferty and Stephen McCranie

Am I an author? Yes, I self-publish short fiction and am working towards novel-length releases.

Hobbies / Interests: Singing Opera, orchestral performance, historical re-enactment, archery, horses, gardening and baking.

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