Author Topic: Developmental Beta Read, an affordale alternative  (Read 6363 times)  

Offline Blerg et al.

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Developmental Beta Read, an affordale alternative
« on: July 30, 2015, 11:40:21 AM »
I just had one spot open up at the end of July. August is filling up fast. If you're one of my regulars don't worry, I've saved a spot for you and your rates haven't changed.

You know the service by now. I call it a Developmental Beta Read. If the book really needs it I will I fix sentences and catch typos, but most of the time I am focusing on plot and character. The cleaner the draft, the more I detailed developmental work I can do with it. It is a single pass, but meticulous, I read about 15k a day. I've had customers hire me for a second pass instead of getting a traditional edit.

Discount for Military Fantasy still applies (see bottom of this post). 15% discount if you book four or more months in advance.

Developmental Beta Read - $3 per 1,000 words

How I work:

Developmental Beta is my basic service. You get a little developmental editing, some line edits, feedback on the plot and characters, comments throughout your manuscript, and a 2-4 page editorial letter. I can do about 50 pages a day.

I'm big on actionable critique: I don't tell you that something is bad. We figure out why it isn't working and where to fix it.

Often when a scene doesn't work it's because the pacing doesn't match the tone, narrative focus is in the wrong place, no motivation, stilted dialog, a million little variables. We don't scrap the chapter. We make it work. That's my strength, but the formula changes depending on which pass I'm doing. (Oh and I have a four year degree in poetry, so my line-edits can be a little intense.) I get really into my authors' books. I follow their releases and cheer them on. Need help with covers and publishing? I might be able to point you in the right direction.

Drop me a line if you have any questions.

---
Bio:
I've been editing for other authors since I graduated college in 2009 (and in workshops long before that). A friend in publishing was sending novels for me to work on. I charged $500 a book and made just enough to pay the rent. (At the time I lived on a leaky sailboat in the Gulf of Mexico and got around by bicycle, so it didn't take much to keep afloat.) That lasted a few years, then I was a professional artist, a wildlife researcher for a couple of summers, and wrote and published my own books. These days I'm living in the Keys, where the snorkeling is fantastic. I have a real job, a dry-land apartment, and a lovely long-time girlfriend who doesn't mind me spending all my time playing with words.

Editing isn't a hobby anymore. It's been my part-time job for over a year now. In 2018 I'm going full-time and there's going to be a lot more travel in our lives.

Just got my webpage up. It says the exact same thing as this post, but there is a contact form on there as well as links to my own books and my art business. (March 2018 I'm remodeling, so certain parts of the webpage may be down or not working correctly at times.) http://www.dustinporta.com/editing.html

You can post here if you're interested, or pm me on kboards.

Edit 1: I've had a few submissions. I've got room for one more, really awesome, epic fantasy. Any takers? 
Edit 2: A little science fiction would also be fun.
Edit 3: Done with free beta reads for a while. Did as many as I could. Sorry if I didn't get around to yours. Once I'm ahead on paid work, I'll offer some more freebies.
Edit 4: Opening a few free beta slots. :)
Edit 5: Updated Bio. Thanks HCH for the kind words.
Edit 6: Closed free beta. Thanks Vale and Jessie, you rock!
Edit7: Changed the names of my services. Changed prices. Free Dev Edits March
Edit8: Freebies Closed. Thanks everyone for the testimonials. HC, Rex, Kal, Vidya, y'all are awesome!

Edit9: I've been very busy, and trying to cut back on my workload. I raised the price another 50 cents. This allows me to slow down to four books a month, and still pay a few bills. Haven't changed the rates for existing customers.


35% off to anyone who brings me Military Fantasy this month.

For some reason I'm itching to read some. No paranormal or urban, no guns. Nothing modern. Strictly swords and magic, something like Black Company. Though I would consider steampunk.

So bring out your mage-powered artillery, your giant with a bettering ram on his shoulder, your elvish black-ops. Bonus points if your main character is not a front line soldier but some kind of support staff like gnome corps of engineers, or a combat medic cleric, or a battle bard.

Tags: dustin porta, editor, manuacript critique, beta reader, editing, alpha reader
« Last Edit: July 17, 2018, 01:56:55 PM by Blerg et al. »

Offline Blerg et al.

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Re: free beta reading and developmental edits
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2017, 08:12:36 AM »
Happy Friday! 8)

I've edited the original post, so go read that!

I hope to work with some cool folks.
I should mention: I've been doing a lot of worldbuilding lately. So if you've got something in the early stages and want a sounding board, that would be fun.

For the time being, I want to keep it free. That means I'll be doing a lot of free work and hopefully I do it well enough that clients come here and say a few nice words.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2017, 09:40:18 AM by blerg et al. »

Offline Blerg et al.

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Re: free beta/dev edits(may I edit your fantasy novel?)
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2017, 09:45:31 AM »
*bumping*

I've tweaked the original message to emphasize that I REALLY like to edit fantasy.

So send what you've got, and I'll do a free edit for you!
If it's not a great fit, I'll still do a beta read and give some feedback.

Offline Herefortheride

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Re: free beta/dev edits(May I edit your fantasy novel?)
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2017, 09:50:03 AM »
Hey everyone! Long time lurker, occasional poster. :)


I'm doing free beta reading and free developmental edits, to get my name out and rebuild my editing skills.

The developmental edit includes comments throughout, an editorial letter for each chapter, and one for the whole manuscript. I may do complete line edits...depending on how clean your draft is.

My beta reads come with a 1-2 page editorial letter, sort of a mini developmental edit.

---

Four years ago I quit editing to write full-time. Turns out, I'm a book-a-year writer and I hate marketing.
I've come to terms with that. I like to sit with a story and turn it over in my head for a week before I write a chapter. I do good work and I see many successful authors who work at this pace. They just take (much) longer to break out.
If I must be working, I want to do something that keeps me at the top of my game. I have always enjoyed helping other authors and I'm hoping to make editing my full-time gig.

---

I've been editing since 2009 after I got my BA in English/Creative Writing. A friend in publishing was sending the odd novel for me to work on. I charged about $400 a book and paid the rent. (At the time I lived in a leaky sailboat on the Gulf of Mexico.)  These days I read the odd draft for friends, but I would really like to hone my skills and try to make a career of it.

I have four books of my own: a poetry chapbook from 2010, when self-pub was new; two science-fantasy epics, about 300k words; and a 50k side-novel coming out in a month or two. They're not written to market so I don't promote heavily, but reviews trickle in and I enjoy writing them.

---

Post here if you're interested, or pm me.

I'll have to pick the books I'm most likely to enjoy.
That means fantasy will get preference.
But I read it all, so don't be shy.

Let me know which services you'd be interested in. Obviously I'll have more spots available for beta reading.


Edit: I've had a few submissions. I've got room for one more, really awesome, epic fantasy. Any takers? 
::)

How about one chapter of epic fantasy? I just added a new prologue to add a little excitement to my story. I'm looking for good editors for upcoming books three and four in the near future. 1800 words opening scene. Just looking to keep the sentences flowing smoothly and any errors in the text.  =  )
Havenglade Mysteries (Book 1) developmental editing: 75%

Daughter of Dragons(DoH book4) prologue and chapter one: 17%

world-building and conlang for new series: 1%
H.C. Harrington

Offline Blerg et al.

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Re: free beta/dev edits(May I edit your fantasy novel?)
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2017, 08:24:37 PM »
How about one chapter of epic fantasy? I just added a new prologue to add a little excitement to my story. I'm looking for good editors for upcoming books three and four in the near future. 1800 words opening scene. Just looking to keep the sentences flowing smoothly and any errors in the text.  =  )
Absolutely.
I'm booked through next week, but after that, I should have plenty of time.

Messaging you now.

Online willow163

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Re: free beta/dev edits(May I edit your fantasy novel?)
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2017, 05:52:42 AM »
Hi! I have a fantasy book that needs another beta and to be edited. I'm not quite sure it would be your style, it's "low fantasy", first person POV, and the MC is female. If you think you'd be interested or had the time though, let me know. Thanks!

Offline Blerg et al.

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Re: free beta/dev edits(May I edit your fantasy novel?)
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2017, 07:33:27 PM »
Schedule is starting to fill up.

I have availability in september. Definitely open slots for beta/alpha reading. Full edit, depends on how quickly I finish the current manuscript.

Services are still free, at least for another month while I'm getting back in the swing of things.

Still prefer fantasy.
Some hard science fiction would be fun to read also. Any takers?

Offline C. Gold

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Re: free beta/dev edits(May I edit your fantasy novel?)
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2017, 12:33:01 AM »
I have a fantasy story that's at 88k and not quite done (3 chapters left-ish) if you are still interested. ;)

Offline Blerg et al.

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Re: "Does you need a editor?"[sic] I'm available.
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2018, 10:38:50 PM »
Booking for the new year. Updated original post with the details

Online Becca Mills

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Re: Does you need a editor?[sic] I'm available.
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2018, 10:43:47 PM »
Goodness, blerg et al., looks like we never welcomed you as a vendor! Apologies! Here's our boilerplate ...

You're welcome to promote your business and website here in the Writers' Cafe.

Now that you have an official thread, you'll want to add your listing to our Yellow Pages, found here: http://www.kboards.com/yp/. The listing is free to KB members and is completely self-service; you can add and edit your listing from the page. More information on our Yellow Pages listing can be found here.

In your thread here, we ask that the same basic rules be followed as we have for authors in the Book Bazaar: you may have this one thread about your service and must post to it rather than start a new thread each time. New threads about the service will be removed. Please bookmark this thread so that you can find it again when you want to post. You may not make back-to-back posts to the thread within seven days. If someone responds (as I'm doing with this post), you may reply to them, but otherwise you must wait seven days. Any pattern of posting designed to artificially bump your thread to the top of the forum is prohibited. Please note that very short or (one- or two-word) posts with no meaningful information are discouraged and may be deleted at the moderators' discretion. Lastly, your posts and images will need to meet our "forum decorum" guidelines, which is the case for every member.

You may find that members ask searching questions -- about how your service works, for example, or what they will get for their money, or whether your service adheres to Amazon's terms of service. Such "vetting" is a common here.

Note that members are allowed to provide civil and honest feedback about your service in this thread. This feedback may include criticisms as well as kudos. You may respond to criticism in a civil manner, but name-calling, badgering, accusations of lying, and other breaches of forum decorum can lead to loss of vendor posting privileges.

Any and all disputes between you and your clients should be handled off-site.

Thanks,
Becca
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(Note that this welcome does not constitute an endorsement or vetting of a service by KBoards. Members should do due diligence when considering using a service.)

Offline Blerg et al.

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Re: Does you need a editor?[sic] I'm available.
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2018, 05:55:11 AM »
Thanks Becca,
I was wondering when you'd catch me.  ;)

Offline Herefortheride

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Re: Does you need a editor?[sic] I'm available.
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2018, 06:07:41 AM »
Just got beta-reading feedback for my soon to release third book and was pleasantly surprised at the depth and useful tips I received. Well worth the price.
Havenglade Mysteries (Book 1) developmental editing: 75%

Daughter of Dragons(DoH book4) prologue and chapter one: 17%

world-building and conlang for new series: 1%
H.C. Harrington

Offline Blerg et al.

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Re: free beta reads (scifi/fantasy plz)
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2018, 04:11:28 PM »
I have some openings this month. Time for free beta reads.

There were so many submissions last time, I could only read a handful. But those went on to hire me for more so I must be doing something right.

Read below to learn how my beta reads work(disregard pricing of course). PM me a short description of your book and I will tell you where to send it.

(Will read anything but preference given to scifi and fantasy. I won't get around to everyone, but I'll do my best. If I missed you last time, I blame the hurricane, send it again. )

Offline Blerg et al.

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Re: Developmental Editing for Scifi/Fantasy
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2018, 06:45:44 AM »
Closing submissions for free beta reads in Jan. Thanks guys. Will start on these today. Might open for a few more in Feb.

(And a reminder. If you submitted a free beta read last year, around hurricane season, and I didn't get to it: Send me a new draft and I'll fit you in. I have lot more time now that we're not running from hurricane Irma and shoveling debris.)

Offline horsewisevt

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Re: Developmental Editing for Scifi/Fantasy
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2018, 08:00:13 AM »
heya- how are you with epic tantasy and character driven series? I am currently working on book four of a long series and my ongoing developmental support person isn't really available.  ideally i'd like someone who will follow the series and knows it well enough that I am not in need of "bringing someone up to speed" etc...

I do have a line editor/cleanup person... and am fine with keeping that second set of eyes... if that makes any difference

Teri

Offline Blerg et al.

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Re: Developmental Editing for Scifi/Fantasy
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2018, 08:42:17 PM »
heya- how are you with epic tantasy and character driven series? I am currently working on book four of a long series and my ongoing developmental support person isn't really available.  ideally i'd like someone who will follow the series and knows it well enough that I am not in need of "bringing someone up to speed" etc...

I do have a line editor/cleanup person... and am fine with keeping that second set of eyes... if that makes any difference

Teri

Epic fantasy is my genre. Love to work with it. Grew up reading the Dragonlance books, Narnia, Earthsea. Recently I'm catching up on Wheel of Time, Mistborn, and some urban fantasy on the side. Also Garrett B. Robinson's Nightblade books and Lindsay Burokar's Emperor's Edge, to make sure I'm reading popular self-published fantasy.

When I think of "character driven" I think of those new indie authors like Robinson and Burokar, where you really get inside the character's head. Urban fantasy is even better at being character driven. Old school fantasy has great characters, but they always take a backseat to fate, destiny, and big epic plot stuff.

I read both.

I'd be happy to look at your books to get a feel for your writing style. And we can chat about what style of edit you are looking for. I'll pm you my email and you can send some words my way.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2018, 09:00:18 PM by blerg et al. »

Offline Blerg et al.

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Re: Beta Reading Scifi/Fantasy(Free)
« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2018, 07:36:31 AM »
Free beta reads have been going much better than expected.

Most people go on to hire me for the next book. Which is encouraging.

It might have something to do with the fact that my beta reads are closer to a manuscript evaluation. I make notes on most every page. I mark spelling errors and awkward language. I try and offer a fix when there is a particularly awkward sentence. And I always write at least two pages, single spaced, in an editorial letter to the author.

The more familiar I become with this new hybrid process, the more I like it, and the faster I get. I imagine, very soon, I'll be only beta-reading and nothing else. I get to work with twice as many authors and read twice as many books.

So send me more books to free beta read. I have one opening next week, and one at the end of Feb.

Offline Rex Jameson

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Re: Beta Reading Scifi/Fantasy(Free)
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2018, 08:40:45 AM »
Is this beta service possible with a series? I would be interested in a paid beta reader for a 2nd and 3rd book that I'm working on in a series, but the 1st book has been heavily edited and beta'd. In that kind of situation, how do you prefer to handle the 2nd book? Send the first and count that in the beta reading cost?

Offline Blerg et al.

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Re: Beta Reading Scifi/Fantasy(Free)
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2018, 08:54:04 AM »
Is this beta service possible with a series? I would be interested in a paid beta reader for a 2nd and 3rd book that I'm working on in a series, but the 1st book has been heavily edited and beta'd. In that kind of situation, how do you prefer to handle the 2nd book? Send the first and count that in the beta reading cost?

I've done it a few times and have found that people who write series make for good repeat customers.

If the books aren't too long, and if you're paying for me to read the sequel, I'm happy to read the first one and get caught up on the series, for no extra charge.
And if you send me #1 as a .dor or .odt I can make a few comments along the way.

Offline Vale

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Re: Beta Reading Scifi/Fantasy(Free)
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2018, 03:49:51 PM »
I just wanted to take a moment to chime in. When Dustin was offering a few limited slots for beta reads I happened to get the slot and he went through one of my books.  My experiences were all positive. The turn around time was reasonable, even fast. I've had a few others look through the book, and he found their problems and more. What's more, his input made it easy to fix the problems. Sometimes with a beta reader (especially a friend/family/pet cat), while they know they have a problem, they aren't sure exactly where the problem started and why they feel the way they do. So even where Dustin found problems I was aware of, it was much easier to fix them.

And he found a lot of problems other people hadn't found, but which resonated with me. They were things I wanted to fix. He even had useful cover input.

I went into this wondering about the experience and how useful it would be. Curiosity was enough for me to put my hat into the ring to see what his beta reads were like, and I was convinced of the value. I plan to use him for the second book in the series and look forward to what he has to say. My spouse/friends/cat are enough to get my book to a good place, and Dustin's beta read is enough to get the story to where I want it for publication.

If anyone has any questions about my experience with Dustin, feel free to reach out to me.

Online Kal241

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Re: Beta Reading Scifi/Fantasy(Free)
« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2018, 07:52:50 PM »
Is free beta still open? I've got a partly-illustrated sci-fi WIP here, but it's long. (120K+) I understand if it's not possible to do.

An artist and a writer combined into one being. When you work with Kal, you get a 2-4-1 deal!  

Check out my artistry at: http://kal241.deviantart.com/
Writing samples of mine will be made available upon request.

Offline Blerg et al.

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Re: Beta Reading Scifi/Fantasy(Free)
« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2018, 06:19:05 AM »
I plan to use him for the second book in the series and look forward to what he has to say. My spouse/friends/cat are enough to get my book to a good place, and Dustin's beta read is enough to get the story to where I want it for publication.

Thanks Vale. I wasn't expecting this, but I really appreciate it.
I also have a cat who reads, at least that's what I assume he's doing when he sits on the keyboard.
I will say your draft was especially tidy. Most people would still need a proofreader after me.
Some editor friends have suggested I call it a manuscript critique instead. But whatever it's called I enjoy it.



Is free beta still open? I've got a partly-illustrated sci-fi WIP here, but it's long. (120K+) I understand if it's not possible to do.

Hi Kal241, schedule is filling up... but you're a familiar face on here. And I'm writing an illustrated novel myself (only one per chapter). I can put you down for early march and if I have a good month I'll read it sooner.

Online Kal241

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Re: Beta Reading Scifi/Fantasy(Free)
« Reply #22 on: February 01, 2018, 04:04:14 PM »

Hi Kal241, schedule is filling up... but you're a familiar face on here. And I'm writing an illustrated novel myself (only one per chapter). I can put you down for early march and if I have a good month I'll read it sooner.

Sounds good!

An artist and a writer combined into one being. When you work with Kal, you get a 2-4-1 deal!  

Check out my artistry at: http://kal241.deviantart.com/
Writing samples of mine will be made available upon request.

Offline Jessie G. Talbot

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Re: Beta Reading Great Epic Fantasy
« Reply #23 on: February 06, 2018, 04:24:23 PM »
I managed to score a free slot, woot! Dustin's turnaround was very quick and his beta was thorough and his breath was minty-fresh.

Seriously, he wasn't kidding about his talents. He spotted where I was leaping ahead without proper set-up and where my tangents were confusing him. Best of all, as I mentioned in a thank-you email to him...

You're very good with story structure and character logic but what I like best about your beta is the tone. You didn't pull any punches but you were never snotty or condescending. You also never pulled out your credentials and told me that it was your way or the highway. I usually cringe when a beta comes back because I'm sure I'm going to wind up insulted and furious but you were a real treat.


He really did make my book better and I'm very grateful. I'm off to make a few changes.

BUT, Dustin, dude, you really have to make that separate webpage for your beta/editing service. I had to do a search for this thread so I could leave a testimonial.

Jessie G. Talbot | Website | Twitter | Newsletter

Offline Blerg et al.

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Re: Beta Reading Great Epic Fantasy
« Reply #24 on: February 06, 2018, 06:47:32 PM »
He really did make my book better and I'm very grateful. I'm off to make a few changes.

BUT, Dustin, dude, you really have to make that separate webpage for your beta/editing service. I had to do a search for this thread so I could leave a testimonial.

Lol, yes my website is a travesty and has no links at all to my editing service. I will consider myself on-notice, and will get a real webpage asap. I may have to quote a few lines from your testimonial for said webpage.  ;D


And thanks again, for saying nice things in my thread and for making the extra effort to find it.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2018, 06:56:50 PM by blerg et al. »