What I do:

Keen Eye LLC reads pre-published novels and gives feedback.

What you do:

You’ve written a novel. You’ve revised it multiple times, edited it, and are ready to see what people who are not your friends or relatives think of your writing.

Beta Reading Portfolio:

Beta Reading Novels

As a beta reader, I’m giving feedback about my reading experience. Though I am a copyeditor, I will be reading your novel with my leisure eyes, as if it were one of the many sitting on my nightstand.  Does something catch my interest from the first pages? Am I captivated by the plot or the characters and want to keep reading? Is the setting something I can visualize?

I beta read stories that are polished. They have been through several drafts and are ready for a general audience.

Of note: If your novel is a fantasy, I’m not the best reader unless it takes place in the present and could happen to me:

  • The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim-type fantasy=yep
  • Game of Thrones-type fantasy=nope

Here’s How It Works

First chapter feedback

Rate: free

  • You pick a question you want answered from my list of ten first-chapter beta reading questions
  • You send me your first chapter (maximum 15 pages)
  • I send you feedback
  • If we’re a good fit, I send you a quote for the basic and deluxe feedback plans.

Basic feedback plan

Rate: $0.0015 per word ($15.00 per 10,000 words)

  • You pick ten questions from my list of 85 beta reading questions
  • You send me your full novel
  • I send you a contract
  • You agree to the contract and pay me a deposit
  • I read and provide feedback for those ten questions

Deluxe feedback plan

Rate: the basic feedback plan + $100

  • You decide you want me to answer all 85 beta reading questions
  • You send me your full novel
  • I send you a contract
  • You agree to the contract and pay me a deposit
  • I read and provide feedback for all 85 questions

How much will the basic feedback plan cost for my novel?

I’ve done the math for you in the chart below.

beta-reading-novel-pricing

First Chapter Beta Reading Questions:

Main character:

  • Was it easy to get oriented fairly quickly at the beginning as to whose story it is?
  • What did the main character look like?
  • What were the character’s goals?

Other characters:

  • Were the characters believable?
  • Were there the right number of characters?

Conflict:

  • What are the stakes?

Plot/pacing:

  • Is the goal strong enough to sustain the XX,XXX-word story

Questions:

  • After reading the first chapter, what questions were unanswered?

Setting:

  • Was the setting clear from the beginning?

Structure:

  • Did the story hold your interest from the very beginning?

All Beta Reading Questions:

People

Main character

  • Was it easy to get oriented fairly quickly at the beginning as to whose story it is?
  • What did the main character look like?
  • What were the character’s goals?
  • What three words describe the main character?
  • Was the main character relatable?
  • Did the main character behave inconsistently?
  • What characteristics were endearing?
  • Is the author masquerading as the protagonist?

Other characters

  • Were the characters believable?
  • Were there the right number of characters?
  • Which character was most enjoyable?
  • Do the characters behave inconsistently?
  • Was it easy to visualize each character?
  • Were there emotions between the characters?
  • Were any characters too much?
  • Were any characters stereotypical?
  • Do any characters get in the way of the story?
  • Do I care about the characters?
  • Do the names fit the characters?

Conflict

  • What are the stakes?
  • What are the stakes after the first chapter?
  • Are the stakes high enough?
  • Was there enough conflict?
  • Is the antagonist sympathetic?
  • Is the antagonist believable?

Dialogue

  • Is there enough dialogue?
  • Did it bog down in places?
  • Was the dialogue interesting and did it sound natural?
  • Are the dialogue tags good?
  • Were the characters doing things while they were talking?

What happens

Plot/pacing

  • Is the goal strong enough to sustain the XX,XXX-word story?
  • Is the rhythm of the story good?
  • What parts were funny or sad?
  • What was the main plot?
  • Was the main plot strong?
  • What were the subplots?
  • Were the subplots strong?
  • Was there a point when the story lagged?
  • Were there parts where you skimmed?
  • Was there anything problematic?
  • Was there anything missing?
  • Does the pace suit the genre?

Interesting?

  • What made the plot unique?
  • Were there any parts where the plot was predictable?

Questions?

  • After reading the first chapter, what questions were unanswered?
  • Was anything confusing?

Story logic    

  • Were there points that were unbelievable or illogical?

Tension and release

  • What was the most suspenseful moment?
  • What were the most emotional scenes?
  • What were the most detached scenes?

Setting

Where does it take place?

  • Was the setting clear from the beginning?
  • Was the setting interesting?

Does the world make sense?

  • Did you have to re-read any part to understand why the world is this way?

Time period

  • Were there any inconsistencies in the time period?

Style

Prose

  • Does the writer have a distinctive, engaging style?
  • What does the prose do best?
  • Is the viewpoint in the right tense?

Imagery and description

  • Was there the right amount of description?
  • Did the descriptions seem vivid and real to you?

Balanced show vs. tell           

  • Is the story told using the active voice?
  • Are there any info dumps?

Unique

  • What scene was the most memorable?
  • Did anything strike you as predictable?

Structure

Beginnings

  • Did the story hold your interest from the very beginning?
  • At what point did you think “now the story has started”?
  • When did you want to put the book down?
  • Is there too much backstory?

Middles

  • What are the balls that are in the air during the middle of the story?
  • Is conflict rising?
  • Do readers need a break?

Endings

  • What was your immediate thought upon finishing?
  • Was the ending satisfying?
  • Was the ending believable?
  • Does it fulfill the book’s promise?
  • Was the ending worth reading the book for?

Mechanics

Grammar, Spelling, Syntax

  • Were there any repeating grammar errors?
  • Were there any repeating spelling errors?
  • Any other quirks?

Comps

Adjectives

  • What are three adjectives to describe this story?
  • What three words would you use to describe the voice?

Read alikes

  • What books did this manuscript remind you of?

Beta Reading Portfolio:

Let’s Get Started

Tell me about your novel!

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What I Like:

Here is a list of five-star reviews on Goodreads:

  • City of Girls—Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Daisy Jones & The Six—Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Dietland—Sarai Walker
  • Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride & Prejudice—Curtis Sittenfeld
  • For Every One—Jason Reynolds
  • Freedom—Jonathan Franzen
  • Little Fires Everywhere—Celeste Ng
  • Metropolis—Elizabeth Gaffney
  • One Day—David Nicholls
  • Prodigal Summer—Barbara Kingsolver
  • Soon I Will Be Invincible—Austin Grossman
  • Swing Time—Zadie Smith
  • The Art of Fielding—Chad Harbach
  • The Brothers K—David James Duncan
  • The Goldfinch—Donna Tartt
  • The Last Thing You Surrender—Leonard Pitts Jr.
  • Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts—Kate Racculia
  • You Think It, I’ll Say It—Curtis Sittenfeld