Beta Read & Sensitivity Read

Beta Read & Sensitivity Read Services from SRD Editing Services in Orlando, Florida

Editor Cortni Merritt operates SRD Editing Services in Orlando, Florida, but she is ready to provide beta reader services and sensitivity reader services to writers all around the United States. Whether or not you’re a Central Florida author, Cortni would love to work with you! If you are located in the Central Florida area, you may be able to meet in person. Let’s chat about it!  

SRD Editing Services: Helping dreams become books

What is a "beta read"? What does a "beta reader" do?

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A “beta reader” represents your target audience for your book. He or she reads an early version of your manuscript and offers feedback for final revisions.

Congratulations! You’ve finished a solid draft of your manuscript and perhaps put it through a round of developmental editing and self-editing.

You might be ready for a few people to “test out” what you’ve written. You might be ready to hear some people’s reactions before you fully put your book up for sale for everyone to buy.

Like an advanced movie screening or dress rehearsal, putting your book through a round of beta readers can guide you in making final tweaks to your art before you parade it through a competitive market.

When Should You Hire Book Beta Readers?

Only consider hiring beta readers or sensitivity readers once you have a completed draft of your manuscript. Only when the storyline is fully developed, or all references have been appropriately incorporated – only when a writer feels confident in showing the work and receiving honest critique – should the manuscript be submitted to beta readers (especially paid beta readers)

A beta read can occur before or after line editing, depending on your personal timeline and preferences. Most writers prefer to self-edit the manuscript for errors and obvious issues that can occur in the writing process – such as incomplete sentences, inconsistencies, word choice issues, typos, and basic spacing and formatting concerns. 

Some writers prefer to have a professional line editing performed before releasing “advanced reader copies” to beta readers, sensitivity readers, and others who will see the manuscript before it’s finalized for publication. This can create additional costs and time to completion; after the beta reading, if the writer decides to revise based on feedback from beta readers, sensitivity readers, or others, the writer may need to have any new material reviewed for errors with an additional thorough paid line editing. 

Most writers prefer to self-edit their manuscript before releasing advanced copies to beta readers, and save the line editing until after all revisions are finalized and no more changes will be made to the manuscript.

Target your Beta Readers

It’s recommended that you have at least four people in a round of beta readers. Aim for two who are members of your book’s target market, one who is a member of your book”a secondary market, and one who represents an outlier — a member of a group you’re not targeting, but who you’d like to capture.

Editors at SRD Editing Services are not the ideal beta readers for every book. If we do not meet the description of your target audience, we’ll try to help you find beta readers who do.

Genres Available for Beta Reader Services

SRD Editing Services provides thorough and helpful beta reads for specific genres and categories, based on expertise and interest.

If we are not a good match to be a beta reader for you, we gladly provide recommendations.

Fiction

Nonfiction

  • Children’s literature (any age)
  • YA literature
  • Fantasy
  • Science Fiction
  • Contemporary Fiction
  • Women’s Literature
  • Literary Fiction
  • Romance
  • Erotica
  • Memoir
  • Self-help/Psychology
  • Business/Entrepreneurship/Leadership
  • Humanities, Philosophy, Spirituality

Beta Read Process from SRD Editing Services

A beta read includes:

  • Reading the book in its entirety.
  • Summarizing general thoughts and impressions in a multiple-page Editorial Letter, in which we address genre-focused feedback, including more than a dozen questions about character, plot, story structure, and other elements for fiction manuscripts and questions about pacing, organization, references, quotations, and consistency for nonfiction manuscripts.
  • Recommendations for any content warnings or disclaimers that should be included on the copyright page of your published book.

A beta read does not include:

Professional beta reader services from SRD Editing Services do not include feedback on technical elements of writing, such as suggestions for word choice, or corrections to grammar, punctuation, capitalization, or other elements of style. Our beta read focuses on elements of organization, story, and readability rather than specifics that should be addressed by a line editor.

Average timeline for beta read

2 weeks per 25,000 words.

Beta Read Pricing

Contact SRD Editing Services About Your Beta Read Needs

Sensitivity Read

What is a "sensitivity read"? What does a "sensitivity reader" do?

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A “sensitivity reader” represents a member of your target audience who could potentially be misrepresented by content in your book, or a reader who can help you catch insensitive, stereotypical, or inaccurate portrayals of characters or language that may be offensive to some readers. He or she reads an early version of your manuscript and offers feedback with a specialized focus on sensitive issues.

If you’re writing characters, settings, or details outside of your personal lived experience, you may want to consider having sensitivity readers who have lived those experiences on your team. If your book deals with sensitive social, political, or historical topics, you may want to consider including at least one sensitivity reader for every group.

These days, writers know that diversity matters, representation matters, and inclusivity matters. But, what writers must also consider, is how a person outside a group can be insensitive when portraying members of a group. Writers are often told to “write what they know,” but those limits in personal experience do not always limit the stories that a writer attempts to tell. And when a writer attempts to tell a story that’s outside what they personally “know,” it can be highly beneficial to have someone who does “know” give their opinion.  

If you, as the writer of your manuscript, have written characters who are not the same race as you, the same gender as you, the same cultural background as you, same abilities as you, same mental health status as you, the same sexual orientation as you, or the same lifestyle as you, please consider submitting your manuscript to sensitivity readers for review.

Our Editors Complete EFA Sensitivity Reader Courses

SRD Editing Services editors have completed the following sensitivity reading webinar trainings provided by the Editorial Freelancers Association

  • Sensitivity Reads: What to Know
  • Trans Allyship for Writers and Editors
  • Authenticity Readings for Editors

Sensitivity to Mental Health

Sometimes, writers include characters who struggle with mental health, mental illness, or even personality disorders. Many stories now include neurodivergent characters (with ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, etc.). Many stories also depict real-world struggles and events that can trigger traumatic responses in their readers.

If your manuscript includes discussions of mental health, traumatic events, or mental illness, or if it depicts characters with defined disorders, please consider consulting with sensitivity readers who focus on psychology and mental health topics.

Target your Sensitivity Readers

Consider all potentially sensitive material in your manuscript — ask your developmental editor! — and list types of readers who may be misrepresented.

Aim to have a sensitivity reader for each type of potentially misrepresented reader. And be patient, ready, and willing to engage with their feedback.

Sensitivity Reader Demographics

SRD Editing Services provides sensitivity readings for manuscripts on topics based on expertise, personal experience, and interest.

If we are not a good match to be a sensitivity reader for you, we gladly provide recommendations to help you hire a sensitivity reader who can better address your specific concerns.

Fiction & Nonfiction

  • Gender and feminism
  • American/Euro-centric language and ideas
  • Mental health, mental illness, and basic psychology (including anxiety, depression, PTSD, and post-partum depression)
  • Parenting and motherhood (esp. of boys)
  • Interracial (Black/White) relationships
  • Sexual assault, violence, and rape
  • Childhood trauma and abuse
  • Philosophy, spirituality, religion, and atheism

Sensitivity Reading from SRD Editing Services

A sensitivity reading from an SRD editor includes:

  • Reading the book in its entirety
  • Summarizing general thoughts and impressions in a multiple-page Editorial Letter, in which we address genre-focused feedback, including more than a dozen questions about character, plot, story structure, and other elements for fiction manuscripts and questions about pacing, organization, references, quotations, and consistency for nonfiction manuscripts.
  • Recommendations for any content warnings or disclaimers that should be included on the copyright page of your published book

A sensitivity reading from SRD Editing Services does not include:

Professional sensitivity reader services from SRD Editing Services do not include feedback on technical elements of writing, such as suggestions for word choice, or corrections to grammar, punctuation, capitalization, or other elements of style. Our sensitivity reader rates include a focus on elements of readability rather than specifics that should be addressed by a line editor.

Average timeline for sensitivity read

2 weeks per 25,000 words.

Sensitivity Read Pricing

Contact SRD Editing Services About Your Sensitivity Read Needs

Legal and Contract Questions, Refund Policy

Beta readers and sensitivity readers with SRD Editing Services sign a standard Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA) and freelance editing contract with every client. For more about our contract terms, privacy policy, and refund policy, please visit this page.

Steps After Beta Read / Sensitivity Read

If you receive feedback from your beta readers or sensitivity readers that prompts you to consider a full re-write or heavy revisions to your manuscript, a developmental edit can help you focus on both large and small issues. 

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Done with your revisions? Congratulations! Your manuscript deserves to be thoroughly line edited by a professional to catch all technical, grammatical, and formatting errors.

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