To Beta or Not to Beta

Last week I used a beta reader for the first time. Based on internet research, I was under the impression that beta’s were either free or very reasonable. Maybe $20 or a free copy of the book once published. Something along those lines. Beta buyer beware.

I posted on Goodreads looking for a beta. Someone contacted me. Since he indicated he is a freelance writer and editor, I emailed back asking if he was volunteering to beta read or offering his services. (Volunteer: a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task. ) He said beta read, then quoted a cost which I wrongly assumed was his normal editing fee. (50 cents per 300 words). So, my search for a volunteer beta reader, with the current exchange rate, will cost me about $87.

What did I get for $87? About 6 comments in an email. Was it worth it? I’d say NO WAY JOSÉ. Huge mis-communication. He’s not trying to pull one over on me, it just wasn’t clear to me that I would be billed in the end.

This has totally put me off ever looking for a beta reader again. Lesson learned? Make sure everything is spelled out down to the tiniest detail before you engage a beta. Ask every question imaginable, then ask a few more.




Filed under Mystery, Writing

3 responses to “To Beta or Not to Beta

  1. Sorry to hear you had such an awful experience with beta readers. I also used Goodreads, and only sent my manuscript to volunteer readers. Some I never heard from again, which was very discouraging. I actually covered this on my blog. I did luck up and find three great volunteer readers who were very committed to reviewing my work and offered very helpful feedback. I would say try again. Good luck!

  2. I’m sure I’ll try again, just not soon. When I asked if he was volunteering to beta, I meant just that – volunteering. He was very quick. I’ll give him that – only a couple of days. Since he charged a fee, I would have thought I’d get a bit more detail than just 6, or was it 8, sentences.

  3. Glad you shared your experience, Nancy. It’s a learning process for sure. 🙂

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