As a beta reader, I had many many learning lessons stories. Let me tell you them and what I learned in each of them.
Lesson One: Never compromise my rates
This was during the early days that I was working as a paid beta. During those dry spells, I received a message from a man. He didn’t want to pay my rates and offered to give me a recommendation which is something that worried me. To add on, he said that if he needed to pay someone to read his book he would fall down a “very deep hole psychologically”. That gave me a red flag, and especially as he said I would enjoy the twists.
i did not as his book turned out to need a ton of work. I was trying my level best to not drop the book. When I finally completed it and sent him the feedback (it wasn’t really positive, but I had been polite and told him objectively). He never replied. There was no shoutout, not even a thank you.
Even worse, he had sent the chapters through email. That was the one dealbreaker for me. As I think that anyone with common sense would figure out that the manuscript should be attached as a separate document as a separate document.
After this, I learned to never compromise myself and sell myself short.
Lesson Two: Stand My Ground
This was in the early days of my paid beta reading but it was nothing as bad the one at the top, that taught me a lot about how I should do my beta reading service. In hindsight, I should have really stood my ground and demanded it. But I let him push me around because I was new and figured that the work couldn’t be bad.
And I was ripped off. I read not only one, but two works of the guy hoping that I’ll be paid and I was naive and rather new to the field. Only to realize that he wasn’t. And I was too shy to really demand it. But on the bright side, he had given me a referral.
This told me to realize that I have to demand things upfront or I simply won’t get them.
Lesson Three: I have to drop works too
This was by a woman who had messaged me about her story. I had read a sample chapter and found it okay. It was not exciting but did not have any glaring holes either. I decided to ask for the full manuscript as I wasn’t really doing anything during those times.
It was only upon the arrival of the full manuscript that I regretted my decision. The main character was a Mary-Sue; I had been crueler to my own side characters than she had to her main character. The majority of the story was railing off nowhere. And I came to the realization that I wasn’t really reading a finished product, I was reading as an alpha reader.
Somewhere in the middle I had given up and decided to just send back the manuscript and the feedback up until then. There wasn’t any thank you from her and as such, I did not feel as though I wanted to get a referral or felt that I needed it. But I slogged through the manuscript even when my better sense told me that it simply wasn’t worth it. And after that, I simply went onto being more stringent in what was accepted.
This are some of my learning experiences, I had a lot more but these were the most profound and taught me how to handle myself with future clients and how I can ensure that I will be treated fairly.