My guarantee:

I will read your book in depth and give written intelligent feedback!

Why Use A Bata Reader, And Why Pay For A Professional?

A Beta Reader?

Most authors write, not only for their own pleasure, but also for the enjoyment of others. If you want to publish and sell your work you will certainly need to know its impact on other readers.  A good beta reader can give you your first unbiased feedback on how you are going as an author.  You are the first reader (Alpha) and they are the second reader (Beta). Remember that your text makes sense to you because you wrote it, but you want to make sure that it has a similar meaning to other people.  The best beta readers can even give you intelligent hints as to how you might change what you have written.  Of course you are the author and have the final say in the direction of your work, but a beta reader can be an invaluable assistant.


A Professional?

Friends and family may be able to help you, but what they say is likely to be clouded by their feelings for you.  A good beta reader is generally someone you don't know, but who likes reading, and especially likes your literary mode (e.g. short stories) and genre.

Many people on the Internet advertise themselves as Beta Readers, offering to give you their service free of charge, or in exchange for a free copy of your book (if it is near complete).  These people are usually just ordinary individuals who enjoy in reading.  They are certainly useful as they can give you an unbiased response, which indicates the possible reaction to your book of the general public.  The difficulty is that these readers are not trained in literary analysis, or in communicating their ideas.  The type of response you are likely to get often will not go much further than, “I liked this character”, or “This plot event was exciting.”  As a writer you need to know exactly why your plot is working, or not working, and even more, ideas and possibilities as to how to fix or improve your text.

Some authors offer their services as Beta Readers, once again sometimes, but not always, free of charge.  Authors are much more likely to have an insight into exactly why a text is working or not, and be able to clearly tell you why.  An author, however, is often tempted to try to influence you to write how they would write the story.  As an author you need to develop a voice of your own.  A Beta Reader needs to be truly impartial and it is not always possible, or easy, for a professional writer to do this. 

A professional Beta Reader is usually university trained in understanding and writing about literary texts, and trained in assisting clients to achieve their goals.  Some professional Beta Readers have even worked as Editors for magazines or publishing houses, and indeed a professional Beta Reader is very much like an Editor.  You may object that you will get the services of an Editor when you are accepted by a publisher, however, competition for publication is so strong that you really need this kind of assistance before you submit your book.  You need to make your book stand out from the crowd otherwise, no matter how much potential it has, it won’t even be considered beyond an initial look.

If you your book is important to you, and for almost all authors it is, why not give it the best chance by submitting to a professional Beta Reader?

My Service:

Enlightened General Reading

I am widely read in many genre and like books ranging from pulp fiction (purely popular) to serious works of art (Nobel Prize winners).  Like any Beta Reader I can provide you with general feedback on how your manuscript is going.  As a general reader I pay attention to details like:

Grammar, misspelling and punctuation (though this service does not include proofreading).

Whether your book is interesting or lagging?

Whether your style is clear and easy to understand or complex?

Whether the text flows and hangs together or is a bit confused?

Whether your characters are realistic?

Whether your characters and likeable or evil enough?

Whether the reader cares about the characters and how the plot turns out?

Do your characters stay in character?  (For example, does the reader think, "I don't believe Jane would say that or do that.")

Is the plot believable and realistic (even if it is science fiction or fantasy)?

Is a scene or a plot line too drawn out?

Are there continuity problems in the plot? (For example the character puts on his jacket, which you said in the last chapter he left at home.)

Is your book original?

Expert Reading

Unlike other Beta Readers I can provide you the extra advantage of an expert opinion.  I have university qualifications in literature, in communication, and in assisting clients to achieve their goals, and can provide you editorial assistance on questions such as:

Is the structure of your story working?

Are the character's motives clear, compelling and believable?

Are your characters true to the findings of psychological research?

Is the plot repetitive, slow paced or lacking conflict/tension?

Does the plot resolve well?  Do we feel we have gone somewhere?

Are the themes working and fully developed?

Would your fiction benefit from the use of imagery and symbolism?

How does your novel shape up according to various perspectives and schools of criticism (e.g. Feminism)?

Proven Track Record

I have been reviewing published books for 5 years.  My Amazon.com Personal Profile can be found at:

Raymond Mathiesen's Amazon Personal Profile

As that page reveals, I am a top 23,000 reviewer and 87% of readers find my reviews helpful.  I can give you the benefit of this expertize before you submit to a publisher, thus increasing your chance of publication and saleability.  Further more I am trained in assisting clients to achieved their own goals. Every author needs to know if their writing works for another reader, and it only makes sense that you seek the opinion of someone that others trust.

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