Executive Summary – Beta Reader/Reviewer Matchmaking Service

Beta Reader/Reviewer

Matchmaking Service

Every writer needs feedback prior to publication. This is particularly true for new writers.

Before the pitch, before the query, before the post, and especially before hitting publish, a new writer needs a beta reader.

The Product

Matchmaking applications and algorithms are a staple of online life. Job seekers are matched to opportunities, potential boyfriends and girlfriends are put together, and even potential bone marrow donors and their genetically unrelated recipients are matched.

But new writers don’t have a means of finding their ideal beta reader matches. Instead, they turn to friends and family, who might be outside of a target demographic, or busy, or too polite, or just plain uninterested. This new matching application would put new writers and beta readers together, based upon data points like demographics (age, gender, native language), genres of interest (e. g. science fiction, horror, romance, etc.), specific reading interests or subgenres (e. g. LGBTQ stories, dystopian tales, sweet romance), particular needs (e. g. spelling, grammar, word choice, punctuation, continuity checks, research verification, readability, saleability), and availability.

The Customers

Amateur writers looking to turn professional are the main targeted customers for this service. In addition, amateur writers looking to improve and take their work to the next level are a secondary market. A staggered price structure could be used, whereby works slated for querying and self-publication would be priced at a higher level than works intended for free publication such as on Wattpad or Amazon WriteOn.

To start, beta readers would be able to join for free. At some point, if the interest was sufficient, beta reading could be used to offset the costs of having a piece edited and reviewed.

The Owners

A noncontrolling percentage of the ownership interests would be sold to smaller publishing houses as a means of helping them to identify, groom, and eventually market new talent.

The Future of this Industry

Large publishing houses are able to offer substantial advances to celebrities. But for independent authors who are not yet represented by agents, their only avenue to publication is the slush pile. If smaller publishers could be assured of initial vetting and better quality, and new writers could be assured of honest and helpful evaluations of their work, then the process would be improved over all.

Smaller publishers are looking for the next JK Rowling or EL James. New writers are looking to become published, either by a reputable house or via self-publishing. It is in both groups’ best interests for new works to attract the attention of reviewers and the press, but for the quality of the pieces and not for continuity errors, typos, misspellings, trite and tired plots, Mary Sue characters, and other negatives. The path to improvement leads directly through well-matched beta readers.

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4 thoughts on “Executive Summary – Beta Reader/Reviewer Matchmaking Service

  1. Dixie, this is a tremendous idea. I run into the exact same situation as a designer. Outside of some feedback from immediate friends and family, who aren’t exactly the best critics, it’s difficult to find quality feedback. I can imagine, as you say, writers must have the same challenge. I wonder how plagiarism would be handled in a situation like this? It would seem that there is an opportunity to steal unpolished ideas or concepts. I know that’s a touch cynical. I still think the idea is pretty great though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There probably is the opportunity to steal. I imagine an oath? Electroshocks? 😉

      That’s something to think about. How do you keep people from grabbing, even unintentionally?

      PS Thank you for your feedback!

      Like

      • I like oaths!

        I don’t think you can prevent that. We see that enough times with comedians and musicians. Sometimes you tread on someone’s material but it can very innocent. But that’s not during the development stage. I don’t think I would want someone to see my design work in the conceptual stage.

        Like

      • Beta readers are really helpful, so maybe the way to handle it is by keeping everything at the beta level, as opposed to the alpha level.

        The alpha level being where it’s just a collection of ideas, it’s a mess, the writer is looking for not just feedback but some genuine help/push/inspiration/easy way out (you name it). I’m thinking of things like people asking what to name a character, or who have grammar questions or research issues.

        All of that should be done before it’s called a beta review. I’ve been a beta reviewer, and I’ve been stuck with MSS where people clearly don’t know the difference between there, their, and they’re. It’s not a typo; it’s a regular problem. I think that’s alpha and not beta.

        Beta should be a finished MS which needs polishing. THE END should be written in it.

        Oaths – swear on a stack of Jane Austen novels?

        Like

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