Hey Nerd, make my book better!! (aka Beta Reading – UPDATED!!)

Wait – what’s beta reading?

Say you’ve written a book, but before you try to get it published, you want to know what people think of it.  That’s where beta reading comes in!  A beta reader is NOT the same as an editor.  (If you’re looking for an editor, see the links below).  While editors are a necessary part of the process, a beta reader can help you improve your story before it’s submitted to editors & publishers by offering insight into what does and doesn’t work in your story.  For example, if your character’s motivations aren’t clear, or part of the story really drags, or just plain doesn’t make sense, a beta reader will point all that out to you.

So why should I hire you to do it?

Well, if you’ve read my reviews, you know that I will always tell the truth about a book, and that I never say I don’t like something without explaining why.   Beta reading is more in-depth than reviewing, and can also help improve your book’s chances of success – you will get honest feedback from a reader before you submit your book to the people who can get you the sales.  And speaking as a super-devoted Book Nerd, nothing makes me happier than making a good story great!

OK, I’m in, how does this work?

It’s pretty simple. Before submitting your book, please contact me at my email address (freakylibrarian@gmail.com), and tell me a little bit about your book, including genre, a quick summary, and length (word count).  I want to make sure of two things before I take your money:  #1, that it’s a book I’ll actually want to read (that makes the whole thing better for both of us!) and #2, that I am available to turn it around within your ideal timeframe.  My preferred genres are mystery/thriller and horror.

I require half of the payment up front, and your book in Word format, before I start.

When I’m finished, I will notify you that your notes are ready, and once I receive the second payment, I will send them to you.  I’m also happy to clarify any points, or answer any questions you have via email once you get the notes.  THE BETA READ WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED ON THIS SITE.  Also, I won’t review your book on the site once it’s published (unless you request it), so there won’t be any conflicts of interest.

Cool, how much does it cost?

My pricing for beta reading is as follows:

15,000 words or less = $50

15,001 words – 50,000 words = $150

50,001 words – 75,000 words = $200

75,001 words – 100,000 words = $250

And so on, with $50 being added for every 25,000 words.  Once I have agreed to beta read your book, you will need to send me the book in a word document, and half of the payment to my paypal address.

I will then read your book, and write up my notes. For a basic beta read, you’ll get a page of general notes – this works, this doesn’t, I didn’t understand this, and so on.

What if I want more in-depth help?

I also offer developmental editing. YOUR BOOK NEEDS THIS. Whether it’s from me, or someone else, as a writer, you need someone who can be critical to do a deep dive into your book and analyze every scene.

With a developmental edit, you will receive several pages of notes, broken down into “general impressions” (similar to the beta read) and also reaction notes on every single chapter. It’s a great way to see, for example, if your shocking twist was actually shocking, or if a reader figured it out early on, or if your heroic character is coming off like a jerk, or if your jokes are actually funny.

15,000 words or less = $250

15,001 words – 50,000 words = $500

50,001 words – 75,000 words = $750

75,001 words – 100,000 words = $1000

And so on, with $250 being added for every 25,000 words.

Whoa, that’s really expensive! How do I know that your input will help?

A few authors who I’ve done developmental editing work for have graciously agreed to weigh in, and here’s what they have to say:

“There is a reason the Book Nerd will be among the top of my acknowledgments in my upcoming book, THE OTHER MRS. MILLER (Putnam Books, Summer 2019). She tirelessly walked with me through every draft and permutation of this book through its long development, telling me what worked, what didn’t work, being the enthusiastic sounding board I needed to get through all of my various plot and character conundrums, making me feel like I had the power to get it right. I have no doubt her name will be in that paragraph of thanks in any other book I write from here on out. The level of expertise and love she brings to her beta game is invaluable and irreplaceable. I implore any writer who takes their art seriously enough to make it as good as it can be, who is lacking that special someone who can give it to you straight with a chaser of fun, give the Nerd a chance. You will not regret it.”Allison M. Dickson, thriller writer

“[The Nerd]’s notes were delivered very quickly, yet were meticulous, enthusiastic, comprehensive and constructive. After I incorporated notes from her beta read of my novel RED HARVEST, not only was it accepted by New York’s prestigious Kensington Press, they also contracted me to write two more. Her analysis is the kind that flips on a light switch in your brain and inspires you to make your work better.”Patrick C. Greene, author of Red Harvest & The Crimson Calling

The Book Nerd took The Perfect Marriage from good to great with her invaluable and thorough feedback that she delivered quickly (like freaky fast quickly). She answered all of my questions afterward and really opened my eyes up to what my story was lacking. Without her, my book would probably still be sitting in a folder on my laptop rather than in the hands of thousands and thousands of readers.Jeneva Rose, Amazon Bestselling Author of The Perfect Marriage

“[The Nerd] is the gun every blossoming writer should bring to their editorial knife fight. Her eye is keen, her opinions focused, and her vision farsighted. If she had a Yelp page, I’d give it five stars. But this blurb should work instead.”Novelist Carson Standifer

As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions at freakylibrarian@gmail.com.

PLEASE NOTE: I am NOT an editor.  You really really REALLY need a qualified editor to help you with the final polish, and to clean up technical stuff like spelling & grammar. Here are a couple of good ones:




6 thoughts on “Hey Nerd, make my book better!! (aka Beta Reading – UPDATED!!)

  1. Hell, I wish you did it for blog posts, resumes, email to mothers-in-law…basically giving me the Book Nerd Approved signal on all written aspects of my life!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Special Announcement | Book Nerd's Brain Candy

  3. I am so chuffed that I have you on my team for my developing work in progress, and each and every one I do in the future. (Don’t worry, I swear my next book is a horror novel. I could not do this without you. You are a lit match to a piece of garbage book and out of the ashes comes a masterpiece. You have become crucial to my process. Please don’t ever die.

    Liked by 1 person

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