Analysis · Reflection

To Charge Or Not To Charge

Asking such a question has always been something that I needed to ask as a beta. Because I got some authors who were trying their luck with me, often trying to get me to read their book for free. And I often told them that I charged for it?

Why? Because what I do as a beta is way above the normal for most. I write a thorough analysis of a book, not just a review. I go into the strengths and weaknesses of the story and give suggestions to improve them. Those things take hours, it also takes me a long time just to read the book to that extent and objectively analyse it.

I was doing much more than a normal beta. I often went into what was wrong with the story, I critiqued it. And thus why I started charging. This took hours off my weeks, meaning that I had to dedicate time to it as compared to simply reading a book. I could do that in a day and write a sarcastic review or in a day and gush all about it. The same cannot be applied to what I do when I beta read.

And yet, I had so many try to get me to read it for free. And the one time I accepted I regretted the decision. He never got back to me, perhaps thinking that I enjoyed his book that I will not care that I simply bended my principles just that one time.

And well, he never even thanked me for the feedback I gave him. Another time was a guy who sent me two manuscripts and got away with it for free. I was stunned and angry at what happened. But I was new so I didn’t dare to ask any form of payment. I got better and often asked for payment upfront.

I offered so much more than normal unpaid beta, there are those who this for free. But for me it eats up my time when I could spend it doing other things. I take pride in it and analyse just what was wrong with the story. And yet, I was being ripped off.

Sometimes I wonder should I just have went back to beta reading for free. But then I get a client who willingly paid or thought that it was way too little for the amount of work I was doing.

And then I remember that it wasn’t too bad. And that sure I could go back to reading for free but then I was simply attracting more of the kind who cheapened the amount of work I did. Either by pretending that it was for a paid service or simply trying to get away by citing that I will credit you in the acknowledgements. (Only one of them did, it was the first author I worked with.)

And by offering a paid beta I was crediting myself for the effort and amount of work I put into the story. And having a chance to filter out the authors who were simply looking for someone to tell them whether their story was good or bad.

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2 thoughts on “To Charge Or Not To Charge

  1. You seem to have enough experience at this point, not to mention customers, that you deserve some compensation for your work. Have you thought of trying something like Fiverr to market yourself as a paid beta reader?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I once did it. But it really wasn’t getting me anywhere. Fiverr is incredibly hard to rank and my clients came mostly from Good reads and email (occasionally). So I’m mostly sticking to that.

      Liked by 1 person

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