What exactly is a beta reader? When do you need one? How much do they charge? There's a lot to know about beta readers and about hiring an editor when your beta readers are done reading your book. Hiring an editor will help speed up the process so your book can be sent off to a publisher. Let's learn more about the editing process so your book can hit the market as soon as possible.
What is a Beta Reader?
When you're nearing the end of your rough draft, or when you've finished it, it's time to line up your beta readers. They may be friends, relatives, or people you work with each day. They are volunteers who don't charge you for reading your manuscript. They are more than happy to review your work before the actual publishing stage. They will give you their honest opinion of your book.
Your beta readers may be excited to read your book. They are people who you trust to spend time reading it, not people who are going to lay it aside and forget about it. You may know someone who can't afford to spend money on a book, or someone who just wants to see your work in print in the future. The beta readers should be people you can trust to not steal your work and later publish it under their own name so be cautious about having someone you don't know read your rough draft.
Beta readers (you should have at least 3 or more) will not edit your book, they will not correct errors in punctuation, grammar, or spelling. What they will do is read it and let you know what they think.
What Happens Next?
Let the editing process begin. When your beta readers are done you may want to hire an editor. There are a variety of editors who will be happy to help you finish your book. You will pay for their services so do your research and compare their prices before hiring anyone.
. Proofreading: A proofreader is someone who is detail-oriented and knowledgeable in areas of punctuation, spelling, and grammar. This person will return your manuscript to you will lots of red marks that point out your mistakes. It takes a bit of patience, but with their assistance, you can make any necessary corrections.
. Developmental Editing: A developmental editor will reconstruct paragraphs to help them come alive. This person edits larger areas of your work in order to hold the readers attention. The developmental editor, or structural editor, will charge more than other editors. They should be experienced and come with excellent references.
. Fact-Checker: This editor helps you with your research. You may need someone to check the historical facts in your book. Are your dates correct? Are the facts true? Keep in mind places, dates, people's names, geographical areas, and any other facts mentioned in your book, especially if it is a non fiction book.
. Formatter: If your book is long you may need a formatting editor. They will help you get your chapters in order, and they may suggest that you index your book.
. Line Editor: A line editor is someone who makes sure your sentences are clear and flow well within the context of your manuscript. They will change the wording or eliminate entire sentences or areas that don't flow well.
Self Editing: You, the author, are editing your own book with the help of instruction manuals, blogs or websites that teach editing skills. You should brush up on your grammar, spelling, and punctuation if you are editing your book yourself. You may want to learn about clarity, descriptive phrases, and how to correct areas that don't flow well. Learn about indexing to help the reader easily find a particular subject in your book.
With these tips in mind be sure to do your research before hiring an editor. Check their references to be sure they are honest. Line up your beta readers when your rough draft is complete or nearly complete. As your editor is working on your manuscript, research publishing companies. Be prepared for more editing, be patient while you wait for their approval.