Should beta readers get paid ?

Beta readers are sneaky people and you don’t even know whether they’re reading your book or not . So , why do you have to waste your money on random people who might be skimming your book just for the sake of payment ?


I didn’t realize there are people who don’t pay beta readers and advice others not to before googling ‘how much should beta readers be paid ‘ and boy is it disappointing to  see people arguing about if somebody should get paid for doing their job . Like , how would YOU feel if somebody refused to pay you ?

The main argument put forth to justify this is , ‘ Beta readers are ordinary readers , meaning they can’t give you insights into what is good literature and what’s bad ‘ .  That’s like…you’re saying the people who read endlessly don’t know what good literature is ?

Over the years , beta readers have provided their services for free and so it should stay that way …or not . I really don’t think it’s cool for people to expect others to put so much of their time into an unedited book for nothing .

I think there’s something in saying , ” they just tell you whether or not they like your book . Anybody who buys your book could that ” . But the point is that the beta readers also tell you why your book is not good . They sit and read for hours , slowly and take notes at all points of the book .

So , yes . I personally think beta readers should get paid .

What do you think ? Would you ever beta read for free ?  Why ? 



6 thoughts on “Should beta readers get paid ?

  1. Hello! Thanks for sharing this. For me, the answer is negative. I’ve never even contemplated such a thing. Under no circumstances beta readers should get paid. If anybody demands a fee, that automatically is a red flag in my book

    Beta reading is not a profession. It is not editing. It is not proofreading. Beta readers are experienced readers and sometimes writers themselves who will go over a manuscript and point out plot holes, inconsistencies, problems with pacing, parts that lack clarity, faults in characters, themes weakly explored etc.

    That means that beta readers are part of our reading audience. They function in a similar way to members of a writing site or a critique group. The only difference is that they can see the bigger picture and provide an holistic view of a work, in lieu of having to give feedback on each chapter individually.

    The members of writing sites or critique groups do not get paid. Why should beta readers be an exception? In the writing process, things move in a circle. We beta read someone’s work and someone else beta reads ours. And that, for me, is payment enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for brining that up . Yes , it is okay to not pay when you exchange your works . But what of those who get nothing out of it ? Reading is the easy part . Sitting and analysing why something doesn’t work is hard . But going over the arguments on the Internet , I think there are two types of beta readers – the ones who just say whether they like something or not , and then the ones who over work and give comments para by para , suggesting how something can be changed , and even making notes of the grammar in the book . As a person who has no involvement in the process , it seems odd to me that people would do that sort of work for free .

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I believe it’s very important to clarify what a beta reader does and doesn’t do so that writer and beta reader don’t waste precious time and end up getting frustrated because of not ultimately getting what they want out of the deal.

        Fiest, there are people out there who offer their beta reading services and think that this requires fixing speeling and grammatical errors and editing wrong word choices and awkward phrasing. But that is not beta reading. That is called proodreading and editing, and there are specific professionals for this type of paid service.

        Second, beta reading doesn’t require someone giving detailed feedback paragraph by paragraph. That’s the actual job of writing workshops and critique groups. If a work is that problematic that the beta reader needs to dissect it sentence by sentence or chapter by chapter, then that means that said work is still on its early drafts and therefore needs a critique group, not a beta reader. And if a beta reader receives such a book, he/she should refuse to proceed and explain to the writer that it’s not yet ready for beta reading because it needs more work.

        Third, beta reading is not merely an expression of like or dislike. It’s much heavier work than that. Beta readers are called to comment on plot, characters, pacing, clarity, inconsistencies, word-building, narrative, writing style, story arc etc. They are called to look at the bigger picture and offer comments and criticism about the whole of the book.

        When we send a book to beta readers that means that it is almost ready to see the light of day, therefore it must be as polished and well-thought as possible.

        I’m talking as a writer right now. Personally, I wouldn’t seek for beta readers who are not writers themselves, and I know many other writers who think likewise. The reason is that it’s in our interest to build stable relationships with each other and help each other out. A beta reader who is only a reader, no matter how experienced, doesn’t say much to me because he/she lacks the technical knowledge a seasoned writer possesses. He/she won’t be able to offer me the kind of advice a seasoned writer who is within the game would give me. And that makes a huge difference in the end.

        Because I’m not looking for someone to tell me whether they merely liked my book or not. Anybody can do that. I’m looking for someone to tell me where the weak spots are and how I can fix them. And that is not something anyone can do.

        That’s why I insist that helping each other out is payment enough. Many writers seek advice from their own kind for that reason alone.

        If someone demands money to beta read, that’s their prerogative. For the reason I explained above, I stick to those who are interested in reciprocal beta reading, so I have no dog in this fight. Each to their own.

        Liked by 1 person

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