I've loved words and books and reading for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I had a reputation for always having a book in my hand, and that's still true today, even if that book is sometimes on my phone's Kindle app. As I grew older and realized there were people behind books, I wanted to write them too. I've been writing ever since.
In December, I finished my Bachelor's degree in English and secondary education with honors. Soon, I will begin my job as an English teacher.
I'd like to think that college has helped me become better at a lot of things, including being a beta reader. I'm learning more every day, and I want to be as helpful as I can to those I beta read for. I'm pretty flexible when it comes to beta reading. One of the things I try to remember from the education classes I've taken is that everyone approaches tasks differently, so I want to be able to find what works best for both of us. Ultimately, I'm helping you, not myself, so I should be focused on what works best for you, not works best for me. Always know that you can speak up and tell me if something I'm doing isn't working. This is your story we're working on after all. I'll listen to whatever expectations you have, and while I'll say something if I don't think a situation will work out, I'll try to compromise and figure out what system works. That includes: how and how often we'll send documents back and forth, what types of things you want me to look for (typos/grammar, focus on the plot/story, focus on characterization, and things like that), and anything else you'd like me to help with.
There are three methods for beta reading in my view: There's reading purely to correct grammar. There's reading to comment on aspects of the story. And there's reading for both. I'm willing to do any of the three. When you ask me to be your beta reader, please let me know which of the three methods you'd like me to take with your story. If you don't, I'm going to ask before I agree to beta for you. Also, if there's something specific you want me to look at because you're struggling with it or feel like it's a weak point with you're writing, let me know. If you want me to look at both grammar and story, I'd appreciate getting to read the chapter, provide feedback, you make any changes you feel necessary, and then I can re-read for grammar.
Something I can't say enough: Please, please, look over your own story once or twice for the blatant errors before you send it to me. I can't tell you how often I get stories with tons and tons of typos that the writer's spellcheck should have picked up on. I'm not asking for it to be perfect. If it was, I wouldn't be needed. But I don't want my job to primarily become right clicking on misspelled words that are clearly underlined in red and letting spellchecker change for you. It's blatantly obvious when you haven't done this, and I will say something to you. If you continue to send me chapters with many blatant errors, there's a good chance I'll tell you that I cannot beta for you any longer.
If English isn't your first language, I'd appreciate you letting me know as well. I have experience working with non-native speakers in English, not just as a beta reader but as a teacher. That won't affect whether or not I beta for you, but it does change how I might approach the process, depending on how good your grasp on the language is. One example of how I might approach it differently: When I find something worded awkwardly in a native speaker's story, I may just point it out and expect them to get why it sounds awkward (depending on the exact situation), but if the writer isn't a native speaker, I get that I'll probably have to give a more detailed explanation because it might not naturally sound awkward to your ears.
When I beta read, I highlight each change I make in the document so that the writer can clearly see it. I do this for two reasons: 1. I want whether or not the change stays in the story to be the author's final decision. 2. I've found that writers make a handful of mistakes over and over again. Everyone. I don't think I've ever worked with a writer (and I'm including myself in that) who doesn't make the same set of mistakes repeatedly even if they hardly make any other types of mistakes. My hope is that, if I highlight the mistakes for the writer to go over, you'll realize what your repeated mistakes are so that you can work your skills in writing.
As I do have a full plate outside of the world of fanfiction, there will undoubtedly be times when I'm so busy that it interferes with my availability as a beta. I will answer any messages you send me as quickly as I am able to, and if you send me a chapter that I think will take longer than usual to get back to you, I will be upfront with you about it.