Jorie | the Beta Reader

My journey into being a beta & alpha reader for authors!

A newfound passion of helping authors understand how their stories are resonating with ‘first readers’ & potentially helping them fine tune the bones of their narrative to articulate their vision for their stories. I appreciate being able to give honest feedback that points to potential issues & suggest ways in which the flow of the narrative can be improved to sound better as it’s read for the first time.

This page is being updated per each beta/alpha project I undertake, with feedback directly from the authors reflecting how I was able to help them with their writerly pursuits.

I appreciate your consideration in seeking my help

with your story; WRITE on!

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Beta Reader Badge created by Jorie in Canva

I was honoured to become part of the Beta Reading Team for the serial fiction series “The Gin Thief” in July 2014. It has been an incredible experience to help an author see how the words he’s written translates to a reader and as a reader whose a writer herself, the honour has been mine to give feedback to help the story evolve.

“The Gin Thief” is projected to be a story told through 7 serial editions. I betaread for Volume 1: Becoming Scarlet whose publication date is: 2 November, 2014 for the paperback edition. The serial is cross-released in ebook formats as well.

I will continue to betaread for Mr. Barrus as long as the serial proceeds forward and my contributions are warranted to aide his writings. (*By January 2015, Mr Barrus had taken a break from writing the rest of the series and therefore my participation was suspended until such a time where he could complete the series.)

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Jorie was one of the beta readers for my serial The Gin Thief. Her insight was fantastic, and her unique perspective added a depth to the feedback I received from my beta readers that simply would not have been there without her. Her comments were frequent, thorough, and insightful. She understood the tone of the story, the complexities of the characters, and the rhythm of the plot, and offered valuable feedback in all these areas and more. I fully expect to utilize Jorie’s talents as a beta reader again, and can confidently give her my highest recommendation.

– S.C. Barrus February, 2015

Review originally posted on Bibliocrunch; republished with author’s permission

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Why I believe I am a good ‘betareader’ for an author:

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. (see also #LibraryLoot, No.2 for more about my reviewing style)

I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013, I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. A year later, in Autumn 2014 I became a betareader for S.C. Barrus on behalf of his serial steampunk series “The Gin Thief”; of which I helped him on Volume 1 which became published in both ebook and print editions.

I am not merely ‘beta reading’ the story, as I am looking over the manuscript with the eyes of an early proofreading editor based on my own personal experience as a writer whose a voracious reader. To see a preview of how I interpret stories from a reader, please visit my Story Vault, as you can scroll by Genre to find a potential match to your own style of story-telling.

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Additional Skills:

Book Blogger | Marketing: Blog Tour Hostess | Author Interviewer

Author Street Team (Brenda S. Anderson) + (Nicole Evelina) | Book Cheerleader

Joyfully Bookish Tweeter & Bookish Conversationalist

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My approach to Beta Reading:

I work on manuscript drafts in Word using the Track Changes app, wherein the writer can see in-line edits as well as comment/story/character/etc. suggestions in the margins. I was a writer before I was a reader, which is why as I read I view stories through the lens of both equally. I am seeking the following within the narrative, dialogue and structure of the story itself:

* Checking for pace and flow of the overall conception of story; continuity is important
* Fluidity for character interaction and narrative voice
* Back-story evolution between past, present, and future of where story shifts through arc or character journey
* Definition and full-bodied presence of who the character is vs. how the character translates to the reader
* Scope of the setting and the visual elements of the world-building

* Compelling interest in reading the story based on what is written; does it grab me by context, curiosity, suspense, or an aspect stemming out of synopsis that translates to chapters

* Consideration for violence, vulgarity, and other explicit elements that may or may not befit the choice of genre and/or type of story for thematic choice. Consideration taken per genre/thematic, whilst being openly honest about my own impression and interpretation based on how the ‘story and characters’ read to me, whilst providing honest feedback on how it reflects as I internalise the story. I do accept reading manuscripts outside my own comfort zones whilst honouring the choice to accept it, yet seeking an open-minded writer who will accept critical feedback if need be. This provides a wider net of where the story will be accepted across reader to writer influences for other readers who are seeking stories in new genres and/or literary wanderings.

NOTE: Mild to moderate stronger language is acceptable; if your story is writ explicitly to the extreme please seek a different beta reader. Likewise if you use the f word quite liberally, I am not the betareader for your project. Similarly if you write explicit graphic violence and/or grisly bits of suspense, mystery, or historical fiction please seek a different betareader. Prime examples of what I flag in stories I read as working against what I accept are threaded on my blog under the category “Fly in the Ointment“. I do recommend you read my Review Policy as what is disclosed not only stipulates what I accept for reviewing purposes but does translate to betareading.

* Overall conception and believably of the story is foremost important, including but not limited to the style of words as pertinent to the era and/or setting of the story; if your basing your Fantasy world on the Victorian age for instance (as I happen to love Steampunk), it has to have certain ‘clues’ to that time setting. You can take liberty and freedom to evolve this into it’s own unique bent on the setting, but certain elements such as word choice and/or wardrobe, mode of transportation and energy sources need to remain ‘relevant’.

I am a reader who seeks out characters who etch themselves into my mind’s eye and draw me forward into their internal and external journey within the context of where a novella and/or novel can lead me to travel. I seek out well-established worlds whose setting and backbone confluence of ‘time’ and ‘presence’ is well-lit by the companion of having narrative that shines a light on ‘where’, ‘when’, and ‘how’ this world translates through not only the character(s) themselves but how the writer interprets this world to the reader’s point of view.

I am willing to work with authors I have previously read and/or reviewed. I already have a strong sense about their writing style, voice and tone. Even if they change genre or literary styling, I feel I am a betareader to consider as I have established a ready interest in following their writerly careers. If you are an author I have read previously do not hesitate to contact me for a future beta project; you will not be disappointed as you also already know how I read and digest the stories I am reading.

For these reasons, I am not merely ‘beta reading’ the story, as I am looking over the manuscript with the eyes of an early proofreading editor based on my own personal experience as a writer whose a voracious reader.

It’s full confidential non-disclosure on my end. I never share anything about a beta project I take-on until either the author gives me the greenlight and/or the book is published. I do mention I am ‘betareading’ on Twitter on occasion but I do not reveal for which author (unless I gain author’s permission to disclose) nor do I talk about the story itself. It’s merely a nod of an update to alert other writers I am a betareader who enjoys the work she is sent by writers who trust her betareading skills.

*coincidentally, my ‘approach’ is outlined on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta_reader *further more, my style is also outlined as a Content Editor on Chron: Stay At Home Jobs with Publishing Companies

——

Terms ahead of Project Acceptance:

  • Prefer to use Dropbox (personal referral link) for sharing your files back and forth. The referral link is to help you get your own free Dropbox account if you don’t already have one. The only thing I get in return if you click it to join is extra space in my Dropbox. I was not compensated or obligated to post a referral link for DropBox. I simply love the ease of using it and want to share the joy!

* Preference for a manuscript in Word and/or WPS (rather than PDF)
* Turn-around is based on length of the manuscript
* Available to be reached via DM (on Twitter) and/or PM (email) if need arises for in-project questions/enquiries/updates
* Ability to print the manuscript to read and conduct first reading edits/notes
* I will update the edits/notes directly to the original doc sent to me with Track Changes/Sideline Notes turnt on

  • If your story only needs a ‘first reader’ test to see how your story is resonating with your projected audience without needing copy edits or suggestive corrections, I can return feedback on pacing, continuity, thematic elements and how the character is presenting it’s journey whilst how I felt overall reading the story for the first time. As well as focusing on what I disclosed above in ‘my approach to betareading’; thereby giving you a layered opinion on how the story held it’s core of narrative.

* Complimentary copy of the finished book in print (as I would love to see how my betareading benefited the writer to help curate a better story) // if available

  • I am humbled by authors wanting to include me as a betareader in their Acknowledgements Section. I only request to be attributed as: Jorie Story (jorielovesastory.com).

(* reason for ability to print: any manuscript of a considerable length needs to be read in print not digital; this is for my own ability to consume your story in a way I can read and interpret what is written. It remains confidential and inclusive to me and will never be shared.)

NOTE: If the manuscript is of considerable length, I will ask for an Advanced Draft and/or ARC (print copy) for reading purposes where I will make notations and notes as I read the story. I will require a secondary copy in Word in order to upload the notes directly with Track Changes to send back.

  • Once I submit my notes on a betaread, I do not provide advice or feedback on an author’s submission’s process. I acknowledge I know of publishers who publish certain genres, but this is strictly from a reader’s observation but not privy to information in regards to submit a query. Authors must follow publisher submission processes and wait out the query process therein. I do not provide advice on how to pitch publishers or anything connected to the submissions process itself. I do hope an author I’ve worked with will respect my role as their betareader as an early proofreading editor/first reader perspective of analysis (as outlined on this page) and realise I hope their story will find a publisher who believes in their story. However, it would be a conflict of interest for me to comment further once an author exits the betareading stage of their writing and starts to seek publication and/or representation by an agent. I do appreciate a follow-up after publication, knowing a story I helped the author edit has been published.

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I look forward to discussing your project.

I work as a freelance (pro bono) betareader from the United States.

I accept projects from the USA, Canada & the UK.

I will consider projects from Australia & New Zealand.

I personally write in a hybrid style of American & British English. I feel I would be a good match for writers who write in variants of my native language.

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Genres I do not accept under any circumstances:

Erotica and Horror*

*I will entertain Cosy Horror (see this post for definition, I created the terminology!)

Read my review of Corvidae to better understand the scope of what I consider ‘Cosy Horror’.

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Calling Card created by Jorie in Canva.

I look forward to working with you,

if you feel I would be a good fit for your betareading needs.

Revised: July 2017

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Completed Betaread Projects:

The Gin Thief     Steampunk Serial,          142 pages by S.C. Barrus July 2014
*Working Title
YA Spy Thriller series,     188 pages by Doug Solter | @DougSolter August 2016
Peach Literary Introspective Fiction, 633 pages by W.S. Barton | @waynesbarton Sept & Oct 2016
Prequel to PEACH Literary Introspective Fiction, 225 pages by W.S. Barton | @waynesbarton Spring/Summer 2017

NOTE: (full betaread): The Treasonous | YA Magical Realism (Clean!), TBA | by Rachael Ritchey | @RachaelRitchey – was cancelled due to personal health reasons; instead I am reading this series for review on my blog and look forward to another project with Ms Ritchey in the future where I can assist her with betareading. 

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Feedback & Praise on my Betareading Projects: from 2016 & beyond:

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Your notes are very good and helpful. You’ve challenged many things which I like, it makes me think hard about why certain things are not coming across clearly as they should and I appreciate that. I do agree with the title. I’m going to go with my original idea of doing titles in this series that are playful tributes to other James Bond Books and other spy movies. It’s straight forward and a reader can immediately identify what kind of book it is. For the first book in the series, I think this is very important.

Again, thank you so much for your notes and feedback.

– Doug Solter, author of The Gems YA Spy Novel Series

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One thing any writer requires during the creation process is an honest and impartial pair of eyes. Jorie is thorough, honest and insightful; I found engaging her services as a beta-reader invaluable as she gave in-depth reasons to why she highlighted elements of my manuscript. I would work with Jorie every time if I could and I’d recommend her to anyone who is writing a novel.

– Wayne Barton, author of PEACH

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Betareading Calendar 2017:

[Tentative] British Mystery | Author TBA | time frame open-ended 2017

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ALL DATES CLOSED schedule to resume TBA.

ClOSED to new projects!

Fill out my form below and let’s talk about your project!

(will be considered after October+ 2017)

Due to personal reasons, I am taking an indefinite leave of absence from betareading until further notice. You can contact me via the form below but I cannot commit to any projects at this time.

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{Sources: Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweet embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Blogger/Book Reviewer/Betareader Calling Card; Betareader badge promoting project with S.C. Barrus and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2013-2017.