Beta & Proofreading

Current Availability (As of 5-6-17):
Beta - Moderate Availability May 1st - Dec. 31st
Proofreading - Limited Availability through December 31, 2017



What is better than a good story?

One without all of those pesky plot holes and typos, of course!

Book reviews can offer great feedback to authors who are still perfecting their craft. However, there are times when a reviewer doesn't feel comfortable listing all of their opinions in a review. Instead, they are vague or soften the feedback in order to spare the author. I, myself, am guilty of this. If I like a book, I often find it hard to specifically point out the flaws because I do not want my review to be the reason a fellow reader avoids reading it. But even my favorite books can have flaws. 

Because of this, when reviewing a book via author's request, I offer a complimentary Error Report which lists the glaring errors that I have found while reading. I do this in hopes of helping authors to catch mistakes they might have missed. Sometimes I only find 1-2 mistakes. Other times, I find dozens, even after the book has been professionally edited. And in truth, there can never be too many pairs of fresh eyes on a manuscript.

To help fellow authors to improve their work and therefore enhance my fellow book lovers' reading experience, I offer the following two services: Beta Reading & Proofreading.


Beta Reading

What is a beta reader? As a review gives opinion to other readers, a beta reader gives opinion directly to authors. Contrary to a review, a beta reader will offer a more in-depth (and private) opinion of a manuscript. They might give suggestions, praise, or both.

If you decide to use a beta reader, please expect to receive critical feedback. Can any book be perfect to every reader? Absolutely not. Therefore, you will undoubtedly receive at least some suggestion or criticism, meant to help in improving your book and craft. Of course, no author is under obligation to make changes to their work. A good beta reader will respect the author's opinion and vice versa.

Beta readers are sometimes easy to find but not necessarily as helpful as an author would like them to be. It's hard to ask for more from a beta reader, especially considering they are not being paid for their time and effort. As a part-time author, myself, I know what I look for when receiving feedback from readers, so I do my best to offer the same feedback to the authors I beta read for. However, as this is an unpaid service, there are some limitations. More on that in a moment.


Here are the elements I pay attention to most when beta reading:

Pacing - Does the book flow steadily along or jump around too much? Does it hold my attention?

Plot Holes - Did a plot thread slip through the cracks and never resurface? Does a conflict need a more thorough explanation or resolution?

Balance - Making sure that a story has an appropriate amount of elements related to the book's intended genre. Is the action/suspense overwhelming a romance story? Do the characters have enough downtime or need more action? Does the secondary plot add to the main story or distract too much?

Dialogue - Are the conversations realistic? Is it easy to decipher who is speaking and when?

Inaccuracies - Facts of the story that are accidentally changed. Example: Jane's age is 25 in one chapter and 28 in another.

Character Description & Behavior - Can I visualize the characters with the description provided? Are the actions of the characters appropriate for the traits that have been presented?

Setting & Overall "Feel" - Is the story's description painting a picture of the location? What impression or feeling does the story give? This would mainly apply to fantasy novels or those with stronger world-building.

I may give specific suggestions for some of these elements and provide a general opinion for some others. Report may not contain all sections, only those that are more pertinent to the material. Of course, you are welcome to ask me to focus on one element in particular or elaborate on parts of my report and comments. However, I have my own method for reporting and typically will not use author-provided questionnaires.


What I will not do:

Proofread - I will overlook typos and will not make mention of them in my notes unless the error strongly hinders the story. For example, missing words that can cause confusion. I am happy to proofread manuscripts after a beta read is finished, for a fee. For more information on proofreading services, see below.

Edit - I will not make any alterations to or notes within the manuscript. If using a paper copy, I will not send a marked copy back to you. At least one round of revisions should be completed before I receive the manuscript. If you want my feedback on your story, it needs to be readable. If you need help with story structuring or line-by-line analysis, you are looking for an editor or proofreader, respectively.

Review - If I accept your book for beta reading, please know that I will NOT officially review the work. This would be a conflict of interest for me to review a book that I may or may not have had an influence on. I would still be happy to spotlight your book on my blog for the release, share an excerpt, author interview, etc.


Cost: Free
While I do not charge for Beta Reading, once my services are completed, I will gladly accept tokens of appreciation (Final print or eCopy, book swag, etc.).

Due to my workload, I am selective of the books I choose to beta read similarly to the books I choose to review. If you are an author who I have previously read/reviewed, the chances are higher that I will accept your work. However, I am open to new material that fit my desired reading preferences, found here: Review Policy.
**I will only respond to requests that I intend to accept, within 1 week. Because this is a free service, I often receive too many requests to adequately respond to all messages. If you don't hear from me within 7 days, I have politely declined.**

If you are interested in working with me, please fill out this form.
You will be required to submit the first chapter/5 pages/3000 words (max) for me to consider your manuscript (to make sure your book and I are a good fit).

Got a question? Shoot me a message, here.



Proofreading

What is proofreading? Once a manuscript has been revised and in its final stages, a proofreader will find the remaining grammatical errors or typos. While editing software is beneficial, a thorough reading of the material with the naked eye is always necessary to catch what the software misses. And often, that can be a lot of errors.


Here are a few of the things that I will look for when proofreading a book:

Punctuation & Spelling - This is a given. I will pay close attention to correct punctuation usage, spelling, and capitalization.

Grammar - Run-on sentences, using the wrong word (which/that, or/nor, either/neither), those pesky apostrophes. 

Repetition of Words - The same words used too close together which muddles up the reading. Example: He grabbed his jacket from the hook before grabbing the keys off of the table and storming out.

Ease of Readability - Are the paragraphs too long? This may not be an issue with printed books, but large paragraphs in ebook form are displeasing to the eye, especially since ebook pages are condensed in comparison to printed books. I've read ebooks with single paragraphs that take up and entire digital page!

I do realize that some grammar and spelling rules are subjective, depending upon your location. The Oxford comma (which I do use), axe vs. ax, favorite vs. favourite, etc. I can certainly use your spelling preferences as long as I know that you are not writing in American English. However, since American English is my native tongue, there may be words of which I am not familiar with.


What I will not do:

Beta Read - Because proofreading requires me to inspect the manuscript at a slower pace, I cannot effectively offer an opinion on the story. I am far more occupied with the technicality of the material. I promise, you will thank me for staying on task!

Rewrite - I may suggest restructuring of a sentence(s) or paragraph but I will not rewrite a scene. An editor would be willing to make such drastic changes but a proofreader's job is to correct the errors and not to change the story.

Fact-check - Again, I cannot focus on the plot well enough to catch those types of inaccuracies. That would be a beta reader or editor's area.

Review - As with beta reading, I will NOT officially review the work. This would be a conflict of interest for me to review a book that I may or may not have had an influence on. I would still be happy to spotlight your book on my blog for the release, share an excerpt, author interview, etc.


Cost of Services: 
(Subject to Change - Payments made through Paypal - Financing may be available through PaypalCredit)

Express - $0.004 per word
Price Example: $0.004 x 60,000 words = $240 Total Cost
Includes:
- 1 round of digital proofreading, perfect for books ready to publish and wanting a final pass
- 2 digital copies of manuscript (one with visible amendments and one clean)
For the more experienced author or works that have been substantially edited. If corrections exceed my EPP (errors per page) limit, I do require Standard Proofreading rate.
Typical Turnaround Time: 3-7 days (upon acceptance of material)

Standard - $0.008 per word
Price Example: $0.008 x 60,000 words = $480 Total Cost
Includes:
- 1 round of digital proofreading, perfect for any manuscript that is in its final draft.
- 2 copies of manuscript (one with visible amendments and one clean)
Typical Turnaround Time: 7-14 days (upon acceptance of material)

Optimum - $0.016 per word
Price Example: $0.016 x 60,000 words = $960 Total Cost
Includes:
- 2 rounds of digital proofreading, perfect for any manuscript that is in its final draft but you desire a more expansive proofread.
- 3 copies of manuscript (two with visible amendments and one clean)
Typical Turnaround Time: 2-4 weeks (upon acceptance of material)
Longer turnaround time may be required for higher word counts. This allows me to take a short break between passes to refresh my eyes, resulting in more errors caught.


Important Information About My Services:
~ Proofreading Projects are accepted/rejected based on my schedule.
~ The higher your wordcount, the sooner I recommend reserving a spot on my calendar.
~ Rush jobs (24-72 hour turnaround, depending on wordcount) are subject to $50 Rush Fee.
~ I use Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) with track changes to visually show amendments. Clean document will omit track changes and implement suggested amendments.
~ At this time, I typically only accept fiction works (novels, novellas, short stories, etc.) and I do not proofread business/legal documents, student essays (unless they are fiction literature), or other works that require a knowledge of specialized material.
~ This service CAN be scheduled ahead of time. I recommend contacting me as soon as you are entering your final draft stage, if not before.
~ This service CAN be scheduled in conjunction with a Beta Read, as long as my schedule can allow for both projects. Beta Read would be performed during your revision stages (after at least one revision) and proofread would occur at the final stage, just before publishing.
~ If you are in the process of revising your first/second draft and would like to get on my schedule ahead of time, a spot can be reserved for $100 (certain conditions; see below).
~ Turnaround times are estimates. Once I agree to proofread your manuscript, I will give a firm project due date.


If you are interested in working with me, please fill out this form.
You will be required to submit 1000 words of your manuscript but will receive a complimentary, no-obligation proofread and price quote.
Your sample will also help me to determine whether your manuscript requires Standard or Express proofreading rates (does not exceed my maximum EPP (errors per page)).


Payment Terms & Fine Print
~ For Express, I require payment in full before starting the project.
~ For Standard and Optimum, I require 50% payment before starting the project and the remainder will be due upon project completion but before I send final documents. Due to the nature of online services, I do not send completed documents without final payment, first.
~ All projects will be securely invoiced through Paypal. Financing is available through Paypal with PaypalCredit and is subject to Paypal's terms and conditions, as applicable.
~ To reserve a spot on my calendar that is more than 3 months away, I require a $100 Retainer Fee which is applied to your total cost of services. This will secure a 30 day window for your project to start within. If you cannot meet your project start date window (your revisions take longer than anticipated), I will be happy to move your window. I will only refund if canceled prior to the start of your 30 day window.
~ While I will do my very best to produce an error-free document, obviously this cannot be guaranteed. However, if you are unhappy with my services for any reason, please let me know. Your feedback could help me to improve, too!

Price Example:
Standard Rate $0.008/word x 60,000 words = $480
50% Due to Start Project = $240
Remainder Due by End Date = $240

Or, if booking 3+ months ahead:
Standard Rate $0.008/word x 60,000 words = $480
$100 Retainer Fee to Hold Window = $100
Due by Start Date = $140
Remainder Due by End Date = $240

Payments made constitute agreement to payment terms and conditions.


Got a question about pricing, availability, etc.? Shoot me a message.