On Paid Beta Reading

Paid beta reading has attracted a lot of attention and at the same time many believe that it should be free. But there are some things about paid beta reading that keeps is paid. And as one who charges for beta reading, here are some of the reasons why I charge for beta reading.

#1 It is an in-depth analysis of your work 

If the work it offers has suggestions unique to the work, or the readers would spend time analysing your story for its themes, it’s plot, it’s characters. And most importantly, they are going to delve into why a certain part of your story works and explain when it doesn’t. Then it should be paid. 

Free beta reading is a general idea, of what a reader feels when they read your work. They give you the opinion of an average reader, whether they were feeling when they were reading. Were there any parts which were memorable or had them glued to the book? Is it a good fit for its genre? It isn’t going to go deep into your story and analyze just what makes it work, or why is it not working. 

#2 It is proofreading or line-editing your work

If the beta reader offers such a service it should be charged. It is tedious, and often time-consuming work. And most importantly not everyone can do this.

Especially if it is part of a package deal, their rates by this point would be fair.
Or when the beta is basically going in-depth, citing examples as to why a particular sentence isn’t good. Most people won’t pay attention to something that minute, sure it would feel strange but most won’t know how to fix it or can point exactly what is wrong with it. And in most cases, they’ll just ignore it. But they will notice if it is plentiful, and in some cases would even return it to you because you need a CP more or an alpha reader. 

#3 There is a deadline attached 

Especially if they are offering something by a specific time. As a paid beta, I always strive to get the work back to the author within a week or perhaps the timeline I set. The delivery time is important especially if it is paid, since people are paying you to do the work. And if they offer to be within a specific time limit. 

Free beta reading on most occasions would be more fluid in this regard. As these people are volunteering their time for free to read your book and their real-life commitments would always take precedence over this. So if an author wants a more specific deadline or one which is fast and most betas would struggle to meet you might want to consider using a paid beta. 

At the end of the day, there is a spectrum of reasons why beta readers may charge. And even reasons why they might offer such extensive work for free. It’s a spectrum, but in most cases, paid beta readers often have reasons why they charge.

However, this post is not accounting for all beta readers, paid or free. It is just a rough guideline that I figured out as I go along. So you would have to really look at each individual beta reader for their services and how in-depth would their feedback be.