Comparison between Beta Reading and Developmental Editing


If you are uncertain on whether a beta read (BR) or a developmental edit (DE) is the right choice for your book, I’ve created a little list below comparing the services I provide to help you decide.

Is my book ready for a BR or DE?

Beta Reading: You’ve recently finished writing your book and could use a second opinion. You want to know whether the book “works” and want to identify overarching or general areas that could be improved. You are not sure if the direction of the story is the best path and need someone outside of you to give feedback and guidance.

Developmental Editing: You have gone through several rounds of self-edits on the book and may have sent the book to a handful beta readers already. You feel like you are almost ready for publication but need someone outside of yourself to go through the book with a fine-tooth comb. You want someone to point out every plot inconsistency, plot hole, potential problem and flaw so you can fix them before sending the book out to the world. You need to know what needs changed and what should stay the same before committing to publishing.

What is the difference in feedback?

I would recommend checking out this page to see examples of feedback for both BR and DE.

Beta Reading: More general feedback, shorter and more concise. Identifies the problems but may not provide solutions. Comments about what works well or what can be improved but doesn’t delve into the whys. Comments tend to be about 2 per page.

Developmental Editing: Highly specific and pinpoint feedback. Generally comments will identify a problem, explain why it is an issue, and provide suggestions on how to solve or avoid the problem. Comments tend to be 4 to 6 per page. Each developmental edit comes with two rounds of editing. After the first round, the author can decide if they would like the second round done on the same manuscript or take time to edit the manuscript and then have the second round be on the edited manuscript.

What is the difference in price and turnaround time?

Beta Reading: $2.50 for every thousand words. Turnaround time is 2 weeks or less. Please allow additional time for manuscripts over 60k words.

Developmental Editing: While I am building my portfolio for developmental editing, I will charge 1.5 cents per word. I require half-down at the start of the first round of edits, then the second half at the beginning of the second round of edits. Turnaround time is 3 weeks per round of edits. Please allow additional time for manuscripts over 60k words.

Why is there a difference in feedback and price?

Beta Reading tends to be more of a gut-check for the author – does the reader enjoy the story? What are areas that could be improved or changed? What works well and should stay? The time commitment for beta reading is about 8 hours.

The purpose of Developmental Editing is to be the final round of edits prior to publication. Each book is edited twice through to better catch any potential problems or errors. The feedback is far more in-depth and is more frequently provided. The time commitment is approximately 60 to 80 hours per book.