Those of you who read my newsletter will already know I’ve been singing the praises of The History Quill for months, compared to other review sites. I have been a Beta Reader for them for about a year now. I have always been paid for the work I do, I have never had to do a freebie first, or score sufficient points and have found them a genuine pleasure to work with.
The History Quill does what it says on the tin, they look at historical fiction from all periods. A Beta Reader reads a book prior to publication and gives feedback on what they liked, disliked, any inconsistencies etc. If you are chosen for a particular book you will have about 2 weeks to read it and submit feedback based on around a dozen standard questions. Some authors do set additional questions, but this is not common. The eagle eyed among you will note ‘if you get chosen.’ They only have around 6 Beta Readers per book and typically 2 books will be offered twice a month. This means they are usually over subscribed and you may not get a book to read every month. At the moment Beta Readers are restricted to UK residents only, but the CEO is considering opening it up to the US, so watch this space.
They also offer ARC copies; these are not paid but are open to those outside the UK. All they ask is some general feedback, any inconsistencies, formatting or typing errors. You will be invited to write a review when the book is finally published. Even the most successful authors really appreciate a review and it is a nice way of saying thank you for a free book.
At present, they only offer historical fiction, but they are considering looking at other genres. If you read Fantasy or Science Fiction, it may be worth signing up and being one of the first to review any new books. Equally, if you have never read much historical fiction, you might find you enjoy it.
To become a Beta or ARC reader, you need to sign up on the website, plus you also need to sign up for the Advanced Reader Hub. When you write your reader profile, include examples of the books you like – Diana Gabaldon Outlander, Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, Veronica Roth Divergence, Kazuo Ishiguro Remains of the Day, etc. The more varied your reading, the greater the chance of being chosen. Also, when you complete the section ‘join the Beta Team’ do a little research. Most authors will specify the historical period they are writing about, even including the year. Look at the major events and think about how this may affect the characters and the story. Authors like someone who makes a bit of an effort, it gives them confidence that you are going to produce constructive feedback.
You will not make a fortune Beta Reading, but you are paid via PayPal and if enough of you sign up, you will put me out of a job!