This service is free. Why?
It’s simple. I have the free time and you don’t have to pay me to follow through. I have experience with Creative Writing courses in which I received and offered feedback to my classmates. I critiqued short story submissions for my university’s literary magazine. 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.
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.
At this moment, my beta reading service is free. However, if you’d like you can donate a “coffee” here if you’re happy with my feedback.
Genres I’m interested in:
- 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).
Genres 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).
Note: This is a beta reading service, not a review service. Please don’t ask me to review your book. I beta read for books that aren’t published or self-published.
What I Provide With Beta Reading
- Look for your story’s readability.
- Let you know what I enjoyed and what I did not.
- React in the moment. As I read, I will be focusing on my natural reactions to your story.
- Offer my suggestions. What you do with my comments is completely up to you.
- Ask questions.
- 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 be looking for these 4 major elements:
- 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?
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.
This is not an editing service as I do not have the credentials to professionally edit. What I can do for you is check for general grammatical issues, I’ll be reading for first impressions and overall structure from a reader’s perspective I’m offering a second pair of eyes to improve your story and writing. You can view it as selective workshopping similar to what you see in Creative Writing classes. Usually in those environments, you workshop one another’s work. Here it will just be me offering my insight. Although I’m not a sensitivity reader, I can also offer perspective on topics dealing with mental illness and concerning POC.
Please only send manuscripts that have gone through at least one round of revision after the first draft. Translation: Please don’t send me a dumpster fire until you’ve at least tried to get the fire out.
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 7-14 days to look at your manuscript depending on the length.