Read.Alpha Reading. Beta Reading. Manuscript Evaluation.
For Fiction and Nonfiction Authors
… and More
What Does a Person who Knows Writing Think of Your Work?
You have a partial or complete rough first draft but are concerned it may have issues. Consider an alpha reading.
Alpha reading looks at the manuscript from 10,000 feet.
An alpha reader looks at the big picture of your partial or complete rough first draft through the eyes of a fellow writer, zeroing in on structure and content for nonfiction or elements of fiction for a story: Plot structure … pacing … point of view … theme … character goals, motivations, and arcs … internal and external conflicts … and anything else you might want me to look at.
NOT grammar … usage … consistency … readability …
The manuscript doesn't need to be complete, unlike all other professional reading or editing.
As you work on the first draft, you may reach a point where you are unsure, either of what you’ve written or what direction to go next (or both!). Perfect time for an alpha reading!
Two versions of a draft can be compared in an alpha reading.
Perhaps you already have a first completed, revised draft but are unsure if your rewrites have improved the work. I can compare them paragraph by paragraph and tell you what I think of each version. (Note: The cost for this is determined by the combined word count.)
I alpha read all genres of fiction and all types of nonfiction.
While I specialize in genres and topics for beta reading, alpha reading is a big-picture look at your manuscript, and I do that for all types of manuscripts.
What Does a Person who Loves Your Genre Think of Your Work?
You’ve typed THE END on the first draft, done a round or three of self-editing, and believe you’ve made a decent version. Or you’ve rewritten and revised after beta or editor feedback and want a new look at the changes. Time for beta reading!
Beta reading looks at the manuscript from the passionate reader's perspective.
Most readers have just a few favorite genres and subgenres. They know what they like and know when they see it. They are knowledgeable enough to nudge you on the right path for the book that will satisfy other readers.
Beta reading also looks at the elements of fiction and nonfiction--but from the reader's perspective.
For fiction: Do readers feel drawn into the world of the book? Do they want to keep reading to find out what happens? Do they sense something is missing? Do they root for the hero or heroine to triumph and feel their setbacks as much as the characters? x
For nonfiction: Do readers feel like you’ve told them what you said you were going to tell them? Do they feel any information is missing? Do they feel that everything is explained well? Are they left with any questions about your topic?
Beta reading answers these questions and more!
For fiction, I beta read romance or other genres with a strong romantic plot or subplot. I also beta read cookbooks and health/medical nonfiction.
When reading for fun, my go-to favorite is all manner of romance, with a particular love of historical, fantasy, and paranormal subgenres. For nonfiction–as both a cookbook writer and registered nurse–I enjoy reading books about food and cooking as well as anything related to health or medicine.
Please note that I only beta read completed and self-edited manuscripts; I do not beta read works in progress or rough first drafts. (See Alpha Reading to the left.)
What Does a Person who Looks at a Lot of Writing Think of Your Work?
You’ve finished your book and have gone through several rounds of rewriting, both before and after your beta team has analyzed the work. While you can see how your manuscript has improved, you aren’t quite sure of some elements of your story.
Consider manuscript evaluation.
An editor can evaluate your work from a professional understanding of fiction and nonfiction and gives you detailed feedback about how your manuscript compares to expectations for engaging writing or good storytelling for your genre or topic.
For fiction, manuscript evaluation looks at the expected elements--but from an editor's perspective.
Editors will dive deep into all elements of fiction or standards for nonfiction to see if your book is strong in each area … giving you another chance to revise and rewrite before you submit your work for editing.
For nonfiction, manuscript evaluation looks at how structure and content meet reader expectation.
An editor evaluating a nonfiction book will let you know if you’ve delivered on your title’s and subtitle’s promise to the reader. The editor will let you know if the book is structured logically and if the information is given in a way that will make sense to the reader.
I evaluate all genres of fiction and all types of nonfiction.
Like an alpha reading, a manuscript evaluation is a big-picture look at your book. But this time, after rewrites and feedback from noneditors, you believe your book is ready for the next major phase of the pre-publication process. And this time, I read your manuscript like an editor–not a reader or writer.
- While both alpha reading and manuscript evaluation look at the big picture, manuscript evaluations are done on completed works that have been rewritten and self-edited, sometimes several times. Alpha readings can be done for the completed or in-progress work at a much earlier, rougher, still-developing stage.
- While both beta reading and manuscript evaluation analyze a self-edited version of the complete book, a beta reading looks at it from the perspective of the passionate reader who adores the genre, and the manuscript evaluation looks at the work with the more objective eye of the professional editor.