Beta readers are one of the newest tools being used by successful writers. The concept is simple: an unbiased, objective person reads your book and lets you know what they think of it. BEFORE you go ahead with the publishing process.
Friends and family are great, but they ARE biased. It is close to impossible to get an objective reading and feedback from someone who knows you personally. The same is true for any writer's group you may be in: all of them are in the same situation you are, and are likely to go a bit easy on you - even if subconsiously.
This is one of the great things about 3rd-Party beta readers, like our own program: They don't know you. In fact, you won't even have direct contact with them - so to them, you are a faceless, potentially nameless (many writers use pen-names, after all) entity that they can be completely honest with. These are the people who will be able to point out what is right and what is wrong with your book.
And it IS different from a review. These people are writing to YOU, not to other readers. They are writing to let YOU know what they liked and what they didn't like, the flaws and strengths they found. Which characters, settings, and scenes did and did not reach out to them. Not only that, but these are not just reader reviews: these will be more in-depth, targeted to help you improve your story, written by well-educated, well-read people from all walks of life.
What do beta readers cover? A partial list:
They read from the viewpoint of a reader, not an editor. They aren't looking to edit, but to tell you what works for them in your story, and what doesn't.
They will provide in-depth criticism in a document, optionally entering their comments directly onto the manuscript as they read, allowing you to see exactly where their thoughts on something were forming.
They will provide ideas of how to improve the feel of characters or the story itself
They give you the opportunity to see what your potential readers in the public would be feeling and thinking as they read your book.
They will NOT:
Publicly post feedback or reviews. This is for your use only - so there is no need to worry that they will shout their views to the world.
Edit your book. If they see a lot of the same type of grammatical or similar errors, they may mention it - but editing needs to be done by an editing professional, which is wholly different.
Attempt to rewrite your story. They are simply telling you what they see; they don't have the time or the inclination to rewrite whatever they think doesn't work - they instead let you know it's there, and maybe a suggestion or two.
Go easy on you: You are hiring someone who is an everyday reader, but also a professional who is there to help you succeed. You deserve honest feedback - you can't fix it if you don't know it's broken.
We have a number of beta readers available. You can have one, or you can have several. Our beta readers come from many different backgrounds, ages, professions, etc. If you wish to have more than one beta reader, we will select readers with varied backgrounds for a broader range of viewpoints.
1 Reader: $0.0015 per word
2 Readers: $0.0028 per word
3 Readers: $0.0039 per word
5 Readers: $0.0060 per word
10 Readers: $0.01 per word