What's the difference between a Beta Reader and a Beta Reviewer? One Reads, the other Critiques.
As a writer, there can be no more important step in your career than finding a reader. I know when I started writing it was like pulling teeth to find someone who'd actually sit down and READ the thing! I searched high and low looking for readers. I tried friends, family, teachers, students, and even petitioned a few of my enemies.
But ShadowQuillsInk is not a Beta Reader site. We simply cannot offer that service at this time.
Instead, we offer a Beta Review service. In the Beta Review, we read and analyse your work with a critical eye, catching typo's, changing awkward words, and leaving our honest -- even harsh -- comments on things we like and dislike.
We at SQI strongly recommend young writers find themselves a solid Beta Reader before signing up for our services -- We'll even tell you how to find one! (Just look for "How to Find A Beta Reader") If nothing else, you'll have a friend to help support you while the arduous Editing process is going on. That said, we insist that any writer using our editing services NEEDS to have a Beta Review before we'll consider any advanced services.
Our Beta Review is a specialized process unique to SQI in that we use our expertise to determine for ourselves how YOU will most benefit from us. We read your work, tally up your strong points, determine your weaknesses, and carefully formulate the most effective plan to polish your manuscript into a treasure book publishers will die for!
Experienced authors may find our Review Process underwhelming, but you can never underestimate the value of having a second set of eyes taking a peek at your internal mechanics. Novice Authors, however, will find this stage of the process is a lifesaver!
We never turn away a manuscript after it's gone through our waitlist! EVER. We'll read your manuscript all the way through; even if it's "trash." And we'll always be on the lookout for things we like about your work. The catch? We may end up giving you our harshest recommendation yet... the rewrite! *cue thunder, lighting (very very frightening)*
But! Included in the Re-write suggestion will always be places and segments to improve, scenes to add, topics to keep in mind, and even examples of basic changes.
Any suggestions we make are exactly that -- suggestions. You can take them or leave them how you please.
But if you don't like what we have to say, how do you DIY? Easy. Start by writing down your premise and theme. Then, summarize your major plot and label your subplots. You'll want to do all this on a separate document. (and SAVE IT)
Next, open up your manuscript and read the whole thing out-loud. You would be amazed at how many dumb obstacles this method caught for me when I first tried it. Bonus points if someone's in the room while you read it.
Reading your manuscript like this helps put a physical limit on how fast you can read. Literally, how fast you can talk. This will help more than anything for you to have a sense of how fast or slow your work is to read. This won't solve all your problems, but once you get started, you'll be sure to find any phrases and sticky parts of your plot that need adjusting.
Knowing where these places are is the battle.