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, 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. She joined Quiethouse in 2016.
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. Her favorite authors are Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, and Thea Harrison; her favorite genres are paranormal/urban fantasy, romance, and comedy. She joined Quiethouse in 2015.
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.
Goodreads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/HKelleyB-Editor
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 Savage 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)
My Goodreads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/25561408-jesse-s
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.
Justin is a writer and an avid reader. He completed his undergraduate degree in English literature, and he also studied grammar and copy editing as part of a publishing certificate program. He is primarily interested in speculative fiction and young adult fiction (his absolute favorite being young adult fantasy), but he enjoys reading most genres—he especially loves 18th and 19th century literature.
Age range: 25-30
Location: Toronto, Canada
Hobbies: Writing, Music Collecting, Songwriting
Favorite Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, Young Adult
Favorite Book: Fight Club
Favorite Authors: Jane Austen, Robert Asprin, Daniel Handler
Genres/Material you will not read: None
Kat is an editor of speculative fiction and specializes in fantasy and science-fiction manuscripts. When not editing, Kat can be found playing with her two sons, baking, writing, and reading.
Hobbies: writing, gaming, baking, reading
Favorite Genres: fantasy and science fiction
Favorite Books: The Time Master Trilogy by Louise Cooper.
Favorite Authors: Louise Cooper is my all-time favourite, but I am a lover of Feist and Le Guin, too.
Genres/material I will not read: Religious nonfiction, anything depicting gratuitous sexual abuse.
My approach to beta reading: For me, beta reading is about getting your work off to the best start possible. It’s about getting your work in order, making sure it’s well rounded, and helping you to develop more skills and knowledge. I’m a second set of eyes in the early stages, experienced in developmental (structural and substantive) editing, as well as author coaching. My job is to give you constructive, useful information, while maintaining a friendly and supportive approach.
Something I want authors to know: All writers need help, even editors. Don’t be shy, we’re here to help.
Things that make me a good beta reader: I have seven years’ experience, and most of my work includes a more complex version of beta reading. You can be sure that when you receive your beta read, you’ll have a pair of kind but constructive eyes, which will take in every detail to help you on your way to become a successful author.
After working in both the private sector and government for several years, Katherine is transitioning to freelance editing and proofreading. She has a BA in English literature as well as courses in copyediting and publishing. Katherine has very eclectic tastes and enjoys many different genres. When she’s not working or reading, you can find her spending time with her husband and two dogs.
Age range: 40-45
Location: Ontario, Canada
Hobbies: reading, language learning, crafts, DIY, photography (I try), studying animal behaviour (or at least my pets’ behaviour)
Favorite Genres: fantasy, romance, historical, cozy mysteries, paranormal, YA, mainstream, literary fiction
Favorite Book: not just one favorite, too many to list
Favorite Authors: Robin Hobb, Naomi Novik, George R.R. Martin, Jill Shalvis, Kristan Higgins, Tracy Brogan, Lisa Kleypas, Deanna Raybourn, Krista Davis, Sarah J. Maas, Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy
Genres/material I will not read: explicit horror
Keri was born amongst kittens and the green hills of Georgia. Her love of books began at age 3, when she started learning to read, and carried her through childhood as a reader of novels and a writer of manuscripts still buried on an old laptop at her mother’s house. When she’s not busy studying her @ss off for her creative writing degree, she is a freelance editor and mom to two tiny fluffy dragons.
Age range: 20-25
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Hobbies: Reading, writing, hiding from human interaction
Favorite Genres: Fantasy, YA
Favorite Book: A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin
Favorite Authors: J.R.R. Tolkien, Heidi Heilig
Genres/Material you will not read: Children's (under 12), erotica, religious
Something silly about you: I hate mayonnaise.
Kristina has a passion for reading that started at a young age. In class, she was constantly getting in trouble for hiding novels behind the textbooks she was supposed to be reading. During the day, she works as an administrative assistant both at a hospital lab and at her husband’s financial planning firm.
Age range: 30-35
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
Hobbies: Reading, playing video games, refurbishing old furniture
Favorite Genres: Literary Fiction, Chick Lit, YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi
Favorite Book: The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton
Favorite Authors: Liane Moriarty, Kate Morton, Kimberly Freeman, Ami McKay, Jennifer Robson
Genres/material I will not beta read: Horror
My approach to beta reading: I strongly believe that there is a reader for every book, and a book for every reader. When beta reading, I try to put myself in the shoes of the ideal reader and attempt to experience the book through their eyes.
Something I want authors to know: You are all amazing for having the gumption to put pen to paper, over and over again, until you have told the story you need to tell. That takes guts!
Things that make me a good beta reader: I am a fairly positive person, so I bring that energy into my feedback.
Melissa is an engineer living in Southern California. She is a mother to two handsome boys, one great dane, a poodle, a staffie, and one tiny wiener dog whose sole purpose in life is delivering licks to the world. When Melissa is not at work, she can be found hiding with a Kindle book in a darkened room, pretending not to see the fingers (and paws) poking under the door.
Age range: 35-40
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Hobbies: writing, reading, running races (slow, slow races)
Favorite Genres: urban fantasy, epic fantasy, paranormal romance
Favorite Book: King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
Favorite Authors: Brandon Sanderson, Ilona Andrews, Brent Weeks, Karen Moning, Mark Lawrence
Genres/Material I will not read: nonfiction
My approach to beta reading: I read through the entire document first, perhaps highlighting as I go, but holding back on comments until the end. I like to get a feel for the flow of the story without interruption before making comments.
Things that make me a good beta reader: I’ve been through many critique sessions, and I know what types of comments have been helpful to me with my own work (usually those that include lots and lots of examples). I provide the type of feedback that I would want from a beta reader.
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.
Nick is an engineer and an indie author. He lives in Mulberry, Florida, with his daughter and two bossy wiener dogs.
Age range: 35-40
Location: Central Florida
Hobbies: reading, writing, and anything that involves working with my hands and being outdoors.
Favorite Genres: Horror, Paranormal romance. Things that scare the hell out of me and/or a romantic element are things that keep me reading.
Favorite Book: I have many favorites, but the first one to come to mind is Anne Rice’s Tale of the Body Thief.
Favorite Authors: Anne Rice and Laurell K. Hamilton’s earlier books.
Genres/Material you will not read: anything involving the abuse of children.
Things that make you a good beta reader: I am well-read, analytical, honest, and thorough. I have been through the editing and revision process many times, and I understand the mechanics of a good book. My insights, while subjective, are concise and considerate.
Nicole lives in Minnesota, where she earned her BFA in creative and professional writing. She has critiqued and edited dozens of projects, both independently and as a university writing tutor, and currently proofreads for an e-publisher. Her favorite genres are speculative fiction, mystery, and romantic suspense. In her spare time, she reads voraciously and obsesses over hockey.
Age range: 20-25
Location: Minnesota, USA
Hobbies: Horseback riding, nature walks, writing, watching hockey
Favorite Genres: Mystery, thriller, speculative fiction (especially fantasy—contemporary, urban, high, alt history, dystopian, steampunk, you name it), romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and most types of YA. That said, I've read and enjoyed material from a lot of other genres, too.
Favorite Book: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor…everything in Jane Casey’s Maeve Kerrigan series and Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series…Sabriel by Garth Nix.
Favorite Authors: Everyone mentioned above. Jennifer McMahon and Chris Wooding, too, among others.
Genres/Material you will not read: Honestly, (almost) anything can be compelling with the right voice, so I don’t have much in the way of “hard no” material. Nonfiction can be a bit hit-or-miss for me, depending on the subject.
Your approach to beta reading: I think it’s important to offer comprehensive feedback about a manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses, so I include both praise and example-based constructive criticism. I also use a lot of in-manuscript comments to provide reactionary feedback and to pinpoint areas I particularly like or that pull me out of the story.
Tracy is a high school English teacher in Southwest Kansas. She has already read the first three Harry Potter books to her 9-month-old son and hopes to continue the tradition when his little sister is born. She loves reading, writing, and teaching as well as being outdoors and spending time with her husband and son.
Age range: 25-30
Hobbies: I love to read (of course!), and I really enjoy writing. Both activities warp time in ways that nothing else does. Granted, sleeping has always been a dear hobby, and with an 11-month-old son, and a daughter arriving soon, I'm sure it will be my favorite pastime for a while. I also love my job teaching English to high school students; getting to share my passion for reading and writing every day is truly a blessing.
Favorite Genres: I love YA fiction, especially fantasy and dystopian.
Favorite Book: Choosing one is always hard because so many books have changed and shaped me, but To Kill a Mockingbird still stands at the top of my list.
Favorite Authors: JK Rowling, John Green, and Laini Taylor
Something silly about me: I love candy so much that at parades I have to talk myself out of stealing it from little children.
My approach to beta reading: I guess I approach beta reading both as a writer and a teacher. As a writer, I know what sort of feedback I look for and value when others read my writing. I appreciate honesty and openness, and I really appreciate it when others don't just point out what they don't like about what I've written but also when they give suggestions for improvement. As a teacher, I know how to give a more critical, unbiased view of a piece of writing in ways that helps the writer grow, and I've had a lot of practice doing so!
Things that make me a good beta reader: I have a lot of experience reading a wide variety of genres. As a teacher, it's basically my full-time job to beta read my students' work, so I've had a lot of practice. I genuinely love helping writers develop their pieces, and as a writer, I know the overwhelming anxiety of allowing others to look at the words I've put together. You may not know me, but you can trust me with your work. I know firsthand how much time and effort it took to get to this point in the writing process. Way to go!