Austin James is a Toronto based writer, poet, and musician. Writing stories, songs, and poems from a young age, Austin has always enjoyed varied forms of written expression. He is passionate about the LGBT community, mental health, and disability advocacy. When he’s not writing Austin enjoys playing music, watching movies, and wandering around aimlessly.
Age range: 20-25
Location: Ontario, Canada, Toronto
Hobbies: playing music, writing, watching movies, making origami
Favorite Genres: crime
Favorite Book: The Sign of Four – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Genres/Material I will not read: N/A
Something silly about me: I can make my tongue into a three-leaf clover.
Things that make me a good beta reader: I have a strong ability to pay attention to very minute details.
Bridgit has been a compulsive reader since she learned to read. She worked in formal and informal science education for many years before becoming a database developer.
Age range: 50-55
Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa
Hobbies: reading, group fitness especially step, Pilates, hiking, safaris, scuba diving
Favorite Genres: historical fiction, fantasy, science fiction, popular science, mysteries and crime
Favorite Authors: John le Carré, Elaine Proctor, Claire Robertson
Genres/Material I will not read: material with a high proportion of foul language and/or sadism
Something silly about me: I can wiggle my ears.
My approach to beta reading: I draw on two strengths – my open optimism and my rigid sense of what is right - to respond with sensitive candour.
Something I want authors to know: I am in awe of authors and grateful for books.
Things that make me a good beta reader: I read with my mind attentive, so I notice anomalies and disappointments, as well as strengths and delights, in a book. I take care in providing feedback to the author.
Christina is a voracious reader, and her taste in books is eclectic. Whatever strikes her fancy that day is what she reads; she does have a preference for fiction though. She has a BA in English and spends her days reading, writing, and taking care of her small human charges.
Favorite Genres: mystery, romance, sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal romance, biography…pretty much everything.
Favorite Book: that would be like choosing between my children.
Favorite Authors: I love so many it would be hard to write them all…Dean Koontz, Nora Roberts, Patricia Briggs, Michael J. Fox, I could continue writing authors' names all day!
Genres/material you will not read: I am pretty open to every genre. I am not particularly fond of the historical romance style that was popular in the early 90s, but I like the current style.
Something silly about you: I’m a huge geek; I become attached to the characters. I knit when stressed and love it when it rains.
Your approach to beta reading: As I read I will make comments on whatever I’m thinking. I want you to know my reactions, be it laughter, tears or annoyance.
Things about you that make you a good beta reader: I care about your book. Few things make me happier than finding one of the books I have beta read has been published (or self-published). I purchase almost all the books I have beta read and will recommend them both in person to friends and online if given permission.
Diane loves to curl up on the couch with a cup of coffee, a good book, and a chocolate chip cookie (or two). She has an Alaskan Malamute who has her well trained to open the door upon command and feed him cookies. She was an instructional designer for a heath care company and has a strong non-profit background, having served as executive director, board member, and staff at various non-profit agencies.
Age range: 60-65
Location: Southern California
Hobbies: reading, crochet, garden visualization (wanting a perfect garden but deciding that reading a book is more pleasant than pulling weeds)
Favorite Genres: Urban fantasy, paranormal romance, historical and contemporary romance, mystery, cozy mysteries (especially with dogs), suspense
Favorite Book: White Hot by Ilona Andrews (because, seriously, how can you not love a book that has a scene with ninja ferrets!)
Favorite Authors: Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, Annette Marie, Molly Harper, Shelly Laurenston, GA Aiken, Hannah Howell, Robert Crais, Leslie Langtry, CJ Box
Genres/Material I will not read: violent erotica
Something silly about me: I am the only one in my entire family who gets excited about reorganizing my kitchen pantry and having a label maker.
From County Durham in northern England, Fiona is an arts officer, singer, mother, and camper. A fast reader who does most reading during night feeds, Fiona is keen to help writers be the best they can be and tell great stories.
.Age range: 30-35
Location: Northeast England
Hobbies: singing, reading, camping, travel
Favorite Genres: historical fiction, mysteries, young adult, romance, fantasy... you name it!
Favorite Book: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. This is one of the first books I remember rereading, and I still find something new every time.
Favorite Authors: Diana Gabaldon, Ian Rankin, James Herriot, Michael Bond, Margaret Atwood, Stephen King
Genres/Material you will not read: I’ll try anything
Things that make you a good beta reader: I’m a thoughtful and thorough reader.
Heidi has her MA in interdisciplinary arts and BA with honors in comparative literature and creative writing (poetry). She moved to Vermont (from San Francisco) with her family in 2004, where she enjoys the dirt roads and natural landscapes. Heidi focuses her time parenting her teenager, reading voraciously, being outdoors in all seasons, and trying new recipes.
Age range: 55-60
Location: Central Vermont
Hobbies: being outdoors, photography, gardening, parenting, birding, cooking and baking, hiking, reading, and learning new things
Favorite Genres: historical fiction, cookbooks and food writing, poetry, contemporary fiction, Buddhism nonfiction, interior design nonfiction, children’s fiction, YA fiction, biography, memoir, and fantasy
Favorite Book: I can’t choose just one! I love All The Light We Cannot See (Anthony Doerr), The Orchardist (Amanda Coplin), The Best Day the Worst Day: Life with Jane Kenyon (Donald Hall) and The Snow Child (Eowyn Ivey).
Favorite Authors: so many! Geraldine Brooks, Ann Patchett, and Mary Oliver
Genres/material I will not read: not applicable
Things that make me a good beta reader: I have a nuanced “ear” for the manuscript’s flow as well as a fine “eye” for the small changes that can improve a book. I appreciate a wide range of literature and writing styles, and because of my background in poetry, I have firsthand experience with refining a select number of words to maximize an impact.
Helen is an editor, a proofreader, an indexer, a book reviewer, and a beta reader. Her specialty is fiction e-books. She studied at New York University. In another life, she was an accountant, working in the industry for almost 30 years. She was born in, and currently resides in, New York City.
Location: New York City, New York
Hobbies: writing, reading, traveling
Favorite Genres: thrillers, suspense, and mysteries are my top three, but I read every genre.
Favorite Book: The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy - "In families there are no crimes beyond forgiveness."
Favorite Authors: Michael Connelly, Walter Mosley, Lee Child, Toni Morrison, and Marie Force are my top five.
Genres/Material I will not read: none
My approach to beta reading: I always read a manuscript twice - once for enjoyment and again for content.
Something I want authors to know: I love my job!
Things that make me a good beta reader: Being an editor makes me a better beta reader.
As both a voracious reader and a writer, Jennifer understands the needs of authors seeking beta reader feedback. She has a BA in English literature from the College of William & Mary where she took as many creative writing classes as she could. She went on to earn a JD, and as a law school admissions professional, she reviewed and critiqued hundreds of personal statements. She lives with her husband and daughter in rural Virginia.
Age range: 30-35
Location: Virginia, USA
Hobbies: writing, baking, postcard collecting, toddler wrangling
Favorite Genres: young adult literature, science fiction/fantasy, upmarket women's fiction, classic literature, romance, horror (I will read just about anything!)
Favorite Books: Winesburg Ohio by Sherwood Anderson, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (and many more).
Favorite Authors: Jandy Nelson, Jodi Picoult, Neil Gaiman, Rainbow Rowell, V.E. Schwab, Stephen King
Genres/material I will not beta read: violent erotica
Something silly about me: my husband and I spent two weeks driving around Ireland in a Nissan Micra and it was amazing.
My approach to beta reading: I'm committed to providing careful, detailed, and constructive advice while enthusiastically praising the aspects of your novel that I love!
Something I want authors to know: Receiving beta reader feedback can be an emotional experience. Trust me, I know! Even constructive criticism can sting quite a bit and your first reaction may be anger or disappointment. Give yourself a little time to mourn the idea that your novel was already perfect (every author's wish!) and then use that feedback to make your novel outstanding!
Things that make me a good beta reader: I believe in showing authors my unfiltered reading experience by making a lot of comments in the manuscript.
Jesse resides in Vancouver, British Columbia, and works as a freelance closed captioner and editor. She is currently enrolled as a master of publishing student at Simon Fraser University and has completed her bachelor of communications (professional writing major) at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta.
Age range: 25-30.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Hobbies: reading, hiking/camping, knitting
Favorite Genres: drama, mystery, self-help
Favorite Book: Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Favorite Authors: Jodi Picoult, Cea Sunrise Person, Cheryl Strayed
Genres/material I will not read: N/A
Something silly about me: I have a rock collection!
Things that make me a good beta reader: keen attention to detail, big-picture reading (i.e following character development / consistency / watching for scene continuity)
Jessica has a BA in creative writing and an MFA. She spends her days reading, writing, and playing with her dachshund.
Age range: 30-35
Location: Kansas City
Hobbies: yoga, reading, hiking
Favorite genres: fantasy, paranormal, romance
Favorite authors: Julie Garwood, Patricia Briggs, Terry Brooks, Martha Wells
Genres/material I won’t beta read: horror
My approach to beta reading: My approach is one of honesty, what comes to my mind as I read it. This is different for each book and with each I attempt to explain, as well as I can, what I feel the strengths and weaknesses are.
Something I want authors to know: In case I don’t explain things clearly or don’t expand enough on something, I’m always available to answer questions through email. If I haven’t mentioned something that is important to the author, I don’t mind going back and adding more details.
Drawing expertise from her background as a queer woman, interest in all formats of entertainment, and extensive free time in the cornfields of the rural Midwest, Joslyn helps story creators navigate the complicated world of well-crafted, inclusive narratives. She is a beta reader who uses her skills to make sure the heart of stories reach their true potential. When not working with blossoming stories, she can be found drawing oddly charming cryptids, tackling a new craft that she has no expertise in, or playing with her petulantly adorable corgi, Mochi.
Age range: 20-25
Location: Michigan, USA
Hobbies: illustration, sewing, and playing with my corgi
Favorite Genres: YA fantasy, adult sci-fi, cozy mysteries, middle-grade fantasy, and anything with dragons in it
Favorite Book: Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce
Favorite Authors: Tamora Pierce
Genres/Material I will not read: sexual abuse, historical fiction centered on war
Something silly about me: I am of the firm opinion that Smokey the Bear is a cryptid, much like Bigfoot and Mothman, but he’s just more charismatic.
My approach to beta reading: Every story wants to touch its readers, and I’m here to try to help an author achieve that in their own unique style. Story building can be messy and chaotic, so I am a helpful pair of eyes to help parse out what’s working, what’s impactful, and what might have some opportunity for development.
Something I want authors to know: I’m always happy to answer further questions about my comments. If there are areas of interest that authors would like more explanation or my response, I am happy to expand on my thoughts.
Born a New Englander, Mary moved south in early adulthood, realized she actually likes winter, and promptly moved back north. She’s currently trying out life as a Michigander(anian?) with her boyfriend, who also actually likes winter. In her free time, Mary practices yoga, makes friends with her oven, and plots daring adventures for fictional people.
Age range: 30-35
Location: Michigan, US
Hobbies: yoga, reading, listening to music, learning too much Disney trivia
Favorite Genres: fantasy, soft sci-fi, quirky mysteries and romances, almost anything middle-grade, fairy tale retellings
Favorite Book: A Wrinkle in Time
Favorite Authors: Robert Jackson Benett, Marissa Meyer, Derek Landy, Sawyer Bennett, Brandon Sanderson, V. E. Schwab
Genres/Material I will not read: excessive gore/violence, psychological horror/dark suspense
Something silly about me: I like soup and hot chocolate in summer.
My approach to beta reading: I’m not reading your book. I’m meeting your story.
Something I want authors to know: I’ve written the manuscripts. I’ve been there, too. I’ve got your back.
Originally from Australia, Mark has lived and traveled all over the world (6 continents, 55+ countries). A former professional journalist, he turned his attention to creative writing back in 2009 and hasn't looked back. He has written and produced three short films, completed five feature scripts, and written a book, which he is set to publish. He's also written five children's picture books and is currently researching his second adult fiction novel, while getting set to write another screenplay.
Age range: 40-50
Location: Melbourne, Australia, and Yelapa, Mexico
Hobbies: writing, reading, hiking, travel, sleeping in
Favorite Genres: adventure, literary fiction, thriller/suspense/mystery, dystopian sci-fi, magical realism, historical fiction
Favorite Book: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts - the most exquisite novel I’ve ever read. A masterpiece!
Favorite Authors: Gregory David Roberts, Gillian Flynn, Cormac McCarthy, J.R.R. Tolkien
Genres/Material I will not read: Romance, but I will read erotica (hardcore or soft) if there’s a good story underpinning it all.
Your approach to beta reading: I write notes as I go, so that by story's end I am able to offer a greater overall review. After reading, I like to sit with it all before I offer honest, insightful, and practical feedback. I look for stuff you can use to strengthen and enhance your novel (and writing) further. I’m all for elevating the story and the writer’s own journey.
Something you want authors to know: As a writer myself, I know the creative writing process inside out. The difficulties, the challenges, but also those a-ha moments.
Things about you that make you a good beta reader: As a journalist, editor, copyeditor and proofreader, I understand the nuances and art of writing. I find all those skills come in very handy when evaluating writing.
Max is a trans parent of one wily kiddo, a lazy dog, and a psychotic kitten.
Age range: 40-45
Hobbies: watching movies, cooking, building models
Favorite Genres: sci-fi/fantasy/biographies
Favorite Books: Cry to Heaven by Anne Rice, Eisenhorn by Dan Abnett,
Favorite Authors: Chuck Palahniuk, Anne Rice, Mary Roach, Nelson DeMille, John le Carré, Guy Gavriel Kay, GRR Martin
Genres/Material I will not read: right-wing/fascist stuff
Nia is a freelance writer, editor, and beta reader. She is originally from Southern California, but is an avid traveler and has found herself fairly nomadic. She has a passion for exploring and loves learning about the ways in which culture influences an individual’s storytelling and creative process. She enjoys poetry and various genres of fiction, and she hopes to one day publish her own work.
Age range: 20-25
Location: San Diego, California
Hobbies: reading (of course), traveling, astrology, hiking, camping
Favorite Genres: romance, sci-fi, mystery/thriller, horror
Favorite Book: Letters to a Young Poet
Favorite Authors: Charles Bukowski, Vladimir Nabokov
Genres/Material I will not read: I’ll read anything, although I’m unfamiliar with western fiction, historical fiction, and the subgenre of sci-fi, steampunk.
Something silly about me: I’m terrified of mascots!
Something I want authors to know: I’m on YOUR side! I want to help you tell the best story you can, and all of my feedback stems from my love of great storytelling.
Things about you that make me a good beta reader: I’ll never tell you something “doesn’t work” without offering several suggestions on how to fix the issue. I believe that’s the only way to effectively communicate constructive feedback.
Shadae is a young adult writer, editor, and sensitivity reader originally from Las Vegas, NV. They studied English language at the University of Northern Colorado (bachelor's) and college student personnel at Bowling Green State University (master's). Shadae’s other areas of study include Africana studies and theatre arts. Currently, Shadae works full time in higher education and consistently advocates for the needs of minoritized students. When they are not working with students, they are spending time with their pets, hanging out in the mountains, or crafting crochet creations.
Age range: 20-25
Location: Ithaca, NY
Hobbies: hiking, crafting, kayaking, and video games
Favorite Genres: fantasy and young adult fiction
Favorite Book: I love so many different books. I enjoy several classics of the American canon, but also love a great number of high-fantasy novels as well. The Great Gatsby, Little Women, Anansi Boys, Becoming, A Song of Ice and Fire, The Stolen Throne, The Wheel of Time
Favorite Authors: Neil Gaiman, Brandon Sanderson, David Gaider, Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood
Genres/Material I will not read: I will read anything.
Something silly about me: I love video games so much, but I have a tendency to have to play a game as long as it takes to obtain every single achievement.
Something I want authors to know: I am a friendly, fun-loving individual and will go out of my way to make this process fun and enjoyable for you. I am happy to work with you however best fits your style.
Stacey is a vibrant Mixed Blood screenwriter, novelist, diversity editor, and filmmaker. She writes suspenseful crime stories that explore race, families, addictions, love, and healing. She’s co-owner of Through The Wilderness, LLC, a film production company dedicated to untold stories and new takes on old tales. TTW’s debut film she wrote, Blessed, a Native female action short about the struggle between becoming a mother or being a warrior to save one’s family, streams on Amazon Prime. She holds a MLS in interdisciplinary child social policy from the U of MN, an MFA in creative writing from Hamline University, and an MFA in screenwriting from USC School of Cinematic Arts. She plans to keep telling stories where she blows sh#* up.
Age range: over 40
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Hobbies: film, TV, reading and family
Favorite Genres: crime, mysteries, psychological thrillers
Favorite Book: too many to choose
Favorite Authors: Toni Morrison, Celeste Ng, Tayari Jones, Gillian Flynn, Stephen King and more…
Genres/Material I will not read: erotica
Something silly about me: I still love to dance to 80’s music and air jam in my car.
My approach to beta reading: The first time I read a novel, I highlight characters, passages, dialogue and make notes. I ask big story questions along with smaller more concise ones. On my second read, I revisit what was highlighted, now knowing where the story goes, and answer questions or ask more. I think it's important to know what's working, too, so I make note of that, also.
Something I want authors to know: My goal is to be a service to you and your novel. I want your novel to be the best that it can be. I keep that in mind as I read and in the report. To write a novel is a huge, exciting creative endeavor and I will to do my part to help you move your novel onto its next step.
Things that make me a good beta reader: I'm a voracious reader. I love story. I enjoy gripping, suspenseful stories with compelling characters. I'm curious.
Author Testimonials for Stacey