A Beta Reader, according to Wikipedia, is:
a non-professional reader who reads a written work, generally fiction, with the intent of looking over the material to find and improve elements such as grammar and spelling, as well as suggestions to improve the story, its characters, or its setting. Beta reading is typically done before the story is released for public consumption. Beta readers are not explicitly proofreaders or editors, but can serve in that context.
Let me be your beta reader. I would love it. I love reading books, but now that I am a writer, I find myself being hyper critical of everything that I read. I constantly report content errors (typos and formatting errors) to Amazon via my Kindle. It drives me nuts when authors use repetitive language and phrases throughout their books. I can’t help but notice inconsistencies, even when they’re multiple chapters apart (ch 3 says there’s no stair railing, ch 10 says that the railing is metal – real example).
I’m hyper sensitive to all of these errors, inconsistencies, and annoying word/phrase over usages because I am a writer. I don’t want readers to be able to find those things in my books when I publish. Therefore, I think I would make an excellent beta reader.
I love the idea of exchanging books for review between authors, but what if I’m hyper critical and want to give a bad review? I would feel terrible about it. I’d much rather read an unfinished work, and be able to offer up both a critique and my praise for the story.
I promise to be honest, specific, and encouraging. Typos, errors, and vague or confusing scenes don’t make a good story bad. They can certainly mar a good story if left uncorrected though. As a writer, I’m familiar with those feelings of self-doubt that we face, and with the wonderful boost that kind words can give.
I am not an editor. I’m not looking to get paid. I do think that I would make an excellent copy editor or proofreader however. Therefore, beta reading is the thing for me. Contact me if you have something you would like me to read.
Also, click here for a little article about working with beta readers if you want more info.