PDA

View Full Version : Paying For Beta



Monaque
May 26th, 2016, 09:39 AM
Hi all.
I thought I`d post my experiences on my recent Beta Review from a beta I paid for. I`m not sure on what side of the fence you guys are when it comes to paying for these types of services but I have to say my experience has been positive. My overwhelming concern was that paying for a beta would only result in my seeing a very positive review, not the truth of my work, because they didn`t care one way or another whether I succeeded. The truth was that the reviewer was kind but straight, very straight. Where my story faltered or wandered, they told me and pointed out some examples of what might work instead, without being too explicit. Grammar mistakes were highlighted and also corrected or I was told to look more closely at that particular area. The cover letter went through all areas of my book and told me what worked and what didn`t, where I might need improvement and where I was working.
I think you need the right balance of positive and negative. We all need to be given some encouragement but also we also need to know where we`ve screwed up.
I got both of those. I was disappointed to hear my book wasn`t in the shape I thought it was but also I`m heaving a sigh of relief that I also now know where I`m going wrong.
All in all a very positive experience. I know I`ve just paid for something most get for free but the advice I was given is also worth something to me. Actually, since I don`t have a writers group nearby, it`s worth a lot. Plus I have also gained a contact for writing services in general, something which might hold me good stead when I come to publishing.

Monaque.

Ultraroel
May 26th, 2016, 04:34 PM
Hey Monaque,

I am much in the same position. No writing groups around, cause I life in Sofiya, Bulgaria and there are hardly any writers in English around.
What service did you use? For me it's getting more and more interesting to make use of a paid service too, if I ever want to go so far.

Online responses are low, too many requests from too many people.
I hoped for the last 5 months to find some regular people that wanted to beta, but unfortunately, I just can't find any reliable readers.

Soo.. I am blazing forward, with hardly any critique but my own, hoping to improve on my own.

Monaque
May 26th, 2016, 05:17 PM
Hi Ultraroel
She calls herself Owl Editing, and she offers all kinds of editing services, I found her while trawling through the Beta Reading part of Goodreads, which is also in a bit of a similar situation as this site, too many people wanting too few services. I have a thriller, sort of, and got almost no responses. So I got in touch with Tiffany at Owl Editing and she did a couple chapter first critique which I was impressed with.
It does cost, I paid $150 for a full critique, but it was worth it for me. I`ve learned a lot which will help me in the future. I look at it as investing in my own writing future, the more I learn the less expensive it will be for me in my future projects.
I`m not sure where I stand regards posting links, but you should be able to find it using just Owl Editing in Google.

qwertyman
May 28th, 2016, 08:46 AM
Have you tried posting in the 'group' Beta Readers?

It's all a bit confusing to track down which is probably the reason nobody has posted in it since 2014. It's time it was revived as it's probably the most important aspect of any writer's development.

Here's a link:

http://www.writingforums.com/group.php?discussionid=641&do=discuss

Monaque
May 28th, 2016, 10:30 AM
Have you tried posting in the 'group' Beta Readers?

It's all a bit confusing to track down which is probably the reason nobody has posted in it since 2014. It's time it was revived as it's probably the most important aspect of any writer's development.

Here's a link:

http://www.writingforums.com/group.php?discussionid=641&do=discuss

Thanks. I do have my book in Galen`s Reading Room, although to be honest very few people get anywhere there really, it`s hard to get people to take the time to wade through what will almost certainly be a sub standard novel (mine included). I already have two people reading my novel for free, as well the paid one, so I`m doing ok I think, in comparison to others. I won`t see the others finish my read through for a few weeks yet, that`s the one advantage with paying, you will get it done, and there will usually be a date.
The other advantage is that I get to make contacts with editors in the industry. Eventually everyone pays for something if you go the digital route and this way I get a taste of what it`s like out there.
Thanks for the link though, I`m having a look at it but I`ll probably try that out when I`ve done another edit of my work as it needs it.

LeeC
May 30th, 2016, 03:29 AM
With all due respect I think we're missing a little balance here.

The easiest point to clear up is that the beta collective is an effort of WF to bring the beta phase of writing to an equal footing with creative development. The old beta readers group was the impetus, and this effort to improve upon such was done with the support and input of the original members of the old group. So one may still post in the old group, I believe, but their post is even less likely to be seen now.

Relative to the specific thrust of this thread, it depends on one's writing level, impetus, and others interest in their work, but in my case I would find searching for a paid beta reader as hard or harder than making beneficial connections on WF.

As to the former, I have seen promotions for and receive emails from multifarious individuals offering their services, individuals which range from grammar nazis to those that can't spell, with perhaps a few good ones lost in the quagmire of our overly parasitic economic model. I would think the really good ones seldom need to seek new work, relying mostly on word of mouth. I'd be fearful of going with any of them unless they had a demonstrable track record, or I didn't have to pay until I was satisfied with their services. One well qualified person outside WF I've come to know in the past year believes in the purpose of my book enough that they're helping me pro bono with suggestions, but that's like finding fish in the desert.

As to the latter, finding the right matchup is difficult without sufficient breadth and diversity in the active participants something that WF is trying to achieve. One very significant advantage to me is having multiple beta readers, and that's where the WF model shines.

I also believe there are better and more beneficial ways of establishing relationships with editors and publishers. In my case, I actively review other published eco-fiction works I read, which has resulted in a number of new relationships.

Monaque
May 30th, 2016, 09:57 AM
Ok, let me sort this out first. I`m not having a go at WF, or at the Beta Reading part of the forum, or any individuals. If I have offended anyone in posting then I unreservedly apologize, it was not my intention to do so. I was just charting my journey, at my frustrations in the process, of the obvious flaw in this part of the journey.
That there are more people wanting beta readers than there are beta`s to read.
Also I may not have pointed this out properly in my earlier postings; I already have two beta`s who were willing to read my novel for free. These are people outside of the forum, people I either knew or had a connection to (not from writers groups or forums). I`m also fully aware what I`m asking beta`s to do, give up their precious time to read my unfinished novel.
And I`m not saying that paying for these types of services is something people should do as a matter of course, as the first thing they turn to. Maybe I got lucky, in paying for a critique that actually worked, that helped me take the next step in my writing journey, that gave me the balanced critique that helped me take the things that were good and make the things that weren`t, better.
I totally understand WF`s efforts in using the collective initiative of the people using the forum to provide beta reading services. Maybe I`m just the one who fell through the cracks, but it didn`t work for me. Perhaps it should have and I just didn`t do the right things.

Anyway, I apologize again if I upset anyone, it was never my intention.

LeeC
May 30th, 2016, 04:47 PM
No need for apologies here. What was said needed said, as too many seem to me focused much more on receiving than giving. It's normal behavior in all walks of life that some learn to overcome in seeing the benefit of balance. That is especially true with the extended effort required in beta reading. I'm not insinuating anyone is a child, but like the old saying that it takes a community to raise a child. That community is essentially what WF is trying to be in writers helping writers develop their skills.

Thank you Monaque for bringing this up :-)

Monaque
May 30th, 2016, 05:10 PM
No worries. It`s an important issue in the writers journey, I see that now. You read published writers espousing the beta`s they used, now I realize just how important they are, and how underrated.
I did have one question: Do you think that the amount of writers that are now trying the digital publishing route have exacerbated the beta situation or was it there all along?

LeeC
May 30th, 2016, 05:40 PM
No worries. It`s an important issue in the writers journey, I see that now. You read published writers espousing the beta`s they used, now I realize just how important they are, and how underrated.
I did have one question: Do you think that the amount of writers that are now trying the digital publishing route have exacerbated the beta situation or was it there all along?
Umm, yeah. The ease of self-publishing is a two edged sword. I see considerable benefit in works getting published that might not otherwise be, like my own interests in quality eco-fiction. I also see digital publishing as a way to improve/update one's work over time. Then there's the aspect that traditional publishing is a business which much balance ongoing costs with offsetting profits, whereas the self-published author that is into their book for the long run can keep-it-out-there indefinitely.

On the other hand, with so many wanting to make a quick buck in our pyramid economy, self-publishing has created a quagmire of scribbling in which decent writing gets lost. I spend undue time searching for well written eco-fiction to read and review. A number of times I've posted on social media that if my book had a naked couple on the cover, and was titled "All Natural, Fat Free" it would have more traction :-)

To get back on track re your question, I've received PMs from new members without any posts that want me to beta read their book. So yes, the ease of self-publishing together with fast-track mentality does exacerbate the beta situation. Also, the issue of quality beta reading has probably always been there, but virtual communities like WF are helping to lessen the problem.

Monaque
May 30th, 2016, 06:00 PM
A number of times I've posted on social media that if my book had a naked couple on the cover, and was titled "All Natural, Fat Free" it would have more traction :-)

Yeah, so true. You`d be a best-seller.

qwertyman
May 31st, 2016, 09:53 AM
The easiest point to clear up is that the beta collective is an effort of WF to bring the beta phase of writing to an equal footing with creative development. The old beta readers group was the impetus, and this effort to improve upon such was done with the support and input of the original members of the old group. So one may still post in the old group, I believe, but their post is even less likely to be seen now.

Well, that's cleared that up!