1. Published on Amazon? If you have a book, e-book, or audiobook available on Amazon.com, we'll promote it on WritingForums.org for free. Simply add your book to our Member Publications section. Add your book here or read the full announcement.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Dismiss Notice
Tags:
  1. Brigid

    Brigid Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2016
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    8

    Three Beta reader questions

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Brigid, Mar 13, 2017.

    Hello all,

    I have three questions:

    1) Where do you find good beta readers?
    2) How much do they cost for reading a novel manuscript?
    3) What if they steal the manuscript and publish it at theirs before you had the chance?
     
    jannert likes this.
  2. rktho

    rktho Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2017
    Messages:
    203
    Likes Received:
    59
    3: Set up a bunch for a compelling sequel. That way, you can dangle it over their head. "If you steal this, you'll rob the world of the epic sequel and lose all the money you'll make from it."
     
  3. Brigid

    Brigid Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2016
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    8
    Would that stop a thief?
     
  4. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    6,579
    Likes Received:
    6,163
    1) You generally find betas through networking - here or other online writers' sites, a local writers' group, etc.

    2) Traditionally, betas don't charge. Often you'll exchange services (you beta for them, they beta for you). Or they might just like your writing and be happy to read it for free.

    3) I've literally never heard of this happening. It's much more common for people to steal already-edited/polished/formatted/published books--and when that happens, you just contact the places they're for sale and tell them to stop selling them.
     
    jannert and Simpson17866 like this.
  5. doggiedude

    doggiedude Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Messages:
    1,469
    Likes Received:
    1,262
    Location:
    Florida, USA, Earth, The Sol System
    While there are beta reading services out there, your best bet is to find other writers that you respect & trust to swap material.

    I wouldn't just pick a random service off the internet. I'd need to investigate them a little first. I'd also be more concerned of the quality of paid beta rather than having it stolen. Not that there isn't a possibility of it happening, but it's probably not the biggest issue.
    Save email copies of any correspondence you have with them & make sure you have a way of proving it's your writing and the date written before you send it to anyone you can't 100% trust.
     
    Simpson17866 likes this.
  6. rktho

    rktho Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2017
    Messages:
    203
    Likes Received:
    59
    It would if they wanna make more money off it. Goose with the golden eggs. You don't cut the goose open unless you're dumb. Make sure you write something they can't replicate. Then they'll still need you to produce more, and they know the second they steal it... No more lucrative books from you. They ripped off your talent once, so chances are they're not as talented as you. Therefore, they do not have the capacity to produce further material that lives up to the original. Which means their cash grab becomes worthless once the original stops making money.
    So just casually remind them of that and make it nice and threatening.
     
    Simpson17866 likes this.
  7. JE Loddon

    JE Loddon Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2016
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    South-East, UK
    I wouldn't pay a beta reader, there's people that love doing that stuff. Do everything by e-mail, it's time stamped. If anyone steals it, sue them.
     
    jannert, Simpson17866 and rktho like this.
  8. Brigid

    Brigid Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2016
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    8
     
  9. Brigid

    Brigid Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2016
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    8
    Thanks, I appreciate your advice. BayView.
     
  10. Brigid

    Brigid Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2016
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    8

    Yes, time-stamped e-mailed, this is a good idea, thanks, Je Loddon.
     
    rktho likes this.
  11. Brigid

    Brigid Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2016
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    8

    Nice and threatening? ;) Thanks, rktho.
     
    rktho likes this.
  12. Brigid

    Brigid Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2016
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    8

    I get the point, DoggieDude. Thanks for your advice.
     
  13. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Who wants waffles...? Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    4,600
    Likes Received:
    2,903
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    I would agree with pretty much everything said so far.
    How ever, you can't stop some one from basically steal
    your core concepts with 'fan-fic', but that seems to be
    an ok way to commit intellectual theft since in some
    famous points they simply change names/places etc.
    The rest is basically a pre-written story since they
    are stealing all the elements of it for all intents and
    purposes.

    Which is why I am not a fan of that particular genres
    in a legitimate sense. While for recreation it is perfectly
    fine.

    It is true that you cannot trust any beta with 100%.
    They may not be the type to steal your story, but
    they might simply decide to back out. In this case
    if you are offering the same, means you too have
    the right to discontinue beta reading their work
    as well.

    My rule is to delete the others work upon completion,
    but that is because I like to keep space on my harddrive
    and have no inclination of stealing someone else's work.
     
  14. Brigid

    Brigid Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2016
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    8
    Those are good points, Cave Troll. Thanks!
     
  15. SoulFire

    SoulFire Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    20
    Side note (kinda):

    If you need a beta reader, I would love to help out!
     
  16. Brigid

    Brigid Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2016
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    8
    Hi SoulFire!

    Thanks for the offer. I am not there yet, but I will keep your offer in mind.

    :):):):):)
     
    SoulFire likes this.
  17. jannert

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    8,406
    Likes Received:
    7,923
    Location:
    Scotland
    If you're truly worried about your work being stolen (and, like @BayView, I suspect that's not going to happen) send a copy of your work to yourself via email. In fact, it's an idea to send yourself versions of your WIP at intervals anyway. If you have a web-based email (as opposed to a computer-based one) that's another 'backup' in case something should happen to your computer or any copies you've made on flash drives, etc. It will be date-stamped, and proof of when you sent it, and will show your changes. The copy you send (presumably by email) to the beta will also be date-stamped. It's proof you sent the finished first draft to them, not the other way around. Then stop worrying.

    I'd say the quickest way to find betas is to let it be known within your social circle that you have written a novel. That's generally enough to have a few people ask to read it. Don't make the mistake of giving everybody your first version, though. Save a few for subsequent editions. You'll always want a fresh pair of eyes. Not only that, but most betas aren't going to want to keep re-reading your story. Once is usually enough, unless they volunteer to read changes.

    The forum here is a good place to make online friends who also write. Once you get to know people a bit, you'll get a sense of who might enjoy your work, and who writes similar stories. You can offer a beta swap. You read theirs and they read yours.

    A beta reader usually does it for nothing. A beta reader gives you general feedback, and lets you know what they think of your story. An editor does a line-by-line response, complete with corrections and suggestions, etc. If you're looking for an editor or a proofreader, you'll probably need to pay. However, a beta reader provides a tester audience, and usually doesn't expect to be paid.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
    Simpson17866 and Lifeline like this.
  18. B93

    B93 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2012
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    32
    The best beta readers are other writers in your genre or people who have practiced critique. People who read a lot can sometimes be helpful but often can't zero in on what they liked and didn't. Relatives and close friends generally just tell you they liked it.

    I've given my not-quite-a-novel to a fellow writer in our group, a retired teacher, two co-workers, two people who read a lot, and a mechanical tech who just happens to have a degree in literature.

    The writer and tech did an outstanding job of pointing out the good and bad. The teacher had a useful overall reaction but no details, and the rest were pretty useless to me.
     
  19. SoulFire

    SoulFire Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    20
    I think there is a distinction to be made between beta and alpha readers. The people you explain to be "useless" are who you would first give the novel to. They tell you whether or not they liked it, and whether or not something was broken with it. There is no point in giving a fresh off the keyboard manuscript to someone who truly knows what they are talking about, because it is almost in a way a waste of their time and talent.

    By sharing the earliest drafts of a work with those who aren't studious in the topic, you get a more realistic (when compared to your audience) response to what works and what doesn't.

    Once you get to the point of beta readers (akin to using finer grit of sand paper) that is when the technical and advanced responses matter.

    No reader is useless.
     
  20. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    6,579
    Likes Received:
    6,163
    I'd actually reverse that... I prefer to give my earlier versions to other writers who, I feel, are better able to discuss large-scale issues and recognize (and ignore) details that will be caught in later polishing.

    I like to give my nearly-finished work to readers in my target audience, since it's in a format close to what they're used to reading and they'll be able to easily compare it to published works they've read in that genre.

    I agree that no reader is useless, though! (well, except for the ones who give no feedback or only positive feedback... they're not much good).
     
    SoulFire and Cave Troll like this.
  21. B93

    B93 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2012
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    32
    Yes, that's what I meant by useless.

    My poor wording - that wasn't what I meant by not-quite-a-novel. It's a complete story and has been through several edits. It just is too short to be a novel and too long to be a novella, and I can't figure out what else should happen to give it more plot and make it worthy of more words.
     
  22. Brigid

    Brigid Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2016
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    8

    Hi Jannert, I am a little bit worries. Writing is hard work. You want to see an award. You know what I mean.

    Thanks for the advice with the e-mail. :)

    I also get your points on the beta readers and making friends.

    I know lots of people who read but they are "eating" the stories. They don't read like writers.

    Beta swap, great idea.

    Thanks a lot!
     
  23. Brigid

    Brigid Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2016
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    8
    Very interesting. I think that many average readers race through manuscripts or books and are going straight for the major plot point and forget the manuscripts or books soon after they read it.
     
  24. Brigid

    Brigid Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2016
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    8
    I agree to give a beta a very good version of one's manuscript. Everything what the writer can clean up or make better should be applied already.
     
  25. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,838
    Likes Received:
    5,829
    Location:
    London, UK
    Don't forget that people who read for pleasure are the ones who will buy your book and will be leaving you reviews. Their reaction is much more representative of your target audience than a writer's reaction is. Of course, writers are also readers, but generally they critique differently - they're not looking to enjoy your manuscript (unlike non-writer readers) but are looking to find the problems. They're also far more likely to give feedback on 'how to write this the way I would have written it' than readers are. Readers are more likely to give their reactions to what you did write than what they think you should have written.

    Personally I like to have both writers and non-writer readers give feedback on my stories, because I find value in both. But I definitely don't think a writer-critique is superior to a reader one.
     
    SoulFire and Lifeline like this.

Share This Page