Here is some quick background information:
This service is free. I have experience with Creative Writing courses in which I received and offered feedback to my classmates. I acted as a critique for my university’s literary magazine submissions. I also contributed a series of 4 opinion pieces to the school newspaper. I have written two unfinished novels and I’m currently working on my third.
What I can do for you is check for general grammatical issues, but I’m not a professional editor. I’ll be reading for first impressions and overall structure. I’ll critique from a reader perspective, not a professional one. Basically, I’ll talk to you about my experience with your story and then let you know where it may need changes. Although I’m not a sensitivity reader, I can offer perspective for mental illness and topics concerning POC and let you know if I think you handled the topics well.
Please only send manuscripts that have gone through at least one round of revision after the first draft (translation: don’t send me a dumpster fire until you’ve at least tried to get the fire out).
If you’re not sure what a beta reader is, please read this article: Beta Readers vs. Manuscript Critiques or read Beta Reader Instructions. I also suggest reading this article so you can better understand there are no hard feelings: A Quick Guide to Beta Reader Etiquette.
Genres I’m interested in and read the most are as follows:
- Young Adult: Fantasy, Diverse/Ownvoices, Contemporary, Science Fiction, Dystopian
- New Adult/Adult: Fantasy (Only the first half of the manuscript if over 100,000 words).
Books I’m not interested In:
- YA or Adult with Romance as the major plot point. This is to be expected with YA Contemporary, but I’d prefer to read something with a fresh angle.
- Adult Contemporary.
- Any other genre not listed (historical fiction, horror, mystery, etc).
I will be looking for four major elements off the bat:
- The quality of your protagonist. No Mary Sues please! I want characters who have real flaws and real interests.
- The world building. How you use sensory details (with fantasy or science fiction this is more important).
- How you use dialogue. Dialogue is very important to me as I don’t like being stuck in the mundane internal monologue of the main character/narrator.
- The overall story and development. Was I invested in the plot? Is the story developed well-enough to move on to the next stages?
- React in the moment. As I read, I’m not actively looking for mistakes but focusing on my natural reactions to your story.
- Offer my suggestions. What you do with my comments is completely up to you.
- Provide my comments in a written document as well as enter comments in your documents if that is your choice of getting feedback.
I will not:
- Copy edit or proofread your story.
- Coddle you. I’m here to offer constructive criticism.
- Attempt to take away your unique voice as an author.
- Share your work with anyone.
If you’re interested in having me beta read for you, please send an email to: vanessawolfe91[at]gmail[dot]com. Please use this prompt (or one including the information I require) and only this prompt. This is only because I’ve receive unsolicited submissions in the past when I never asked to read the story and I don’t want to accidentally delete your email.
My name is [Your Name]. I have a manuscript I would like you to look at. It is a [Insert Target Audience] [Insert Genre]. The working word count is currently ________. This novel’s synopsis is: __________. If this sounds interesting to you, let me know. Hopefully, we can be in touch. Thank you,
[Your Name + Email]
Note: Submission of your manuscript will not be accepted until March 2018. You may email me in advance showing interest so that I can mark you in my schedule. Then you may submit your manuscript once we have agreed on a time frame. For example: If you email me now, I will let you know if I would like to look at your work. I will then block off 5-10 days in March to look at your manuscript depending on the length.
At this moment, my beta reading service is free. However, if you’d like you can donate a “coffee” here.