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Genre Betas
Posting Access:
All Members , Moderated
writing, beta reading
Genre Betas was created in the hopes that finding a beta reader could be made into an easy and pleasant experience. Here's to hoping. ♥

Sister community to wrimobuddies


For those who might not know:
Here's a fairly coherent definition of genre fiction: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genre_fiction
...and here's a definition of a beta reader: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta_reader

This is primarily a writer/beta reader networking community. We only do open feedback sessions (where someone's writing is posted to the entire community) once a week and that piece is open to feedback for the entire week. If you'd like to have your work looked at by the entire community, please feel free to contact the list owner via email and submit your work. In general, however, you will either be a reader seeking something to read, or a writer seeking beta readers. This community exists to help readers and writers find each other so that they can exchange writing and feedback via email or comments on their personal livejournal entries.

How to use this community:
- Read all the rules.
- Read through the community posts.
- Post an introduction if you like.
- If you are a reader and are looking for something to read, you may post a short (under 200 words if possible) description of what you'd like to read, anything you specifically don't want to read, and what type of feedback you prefer to provide.
- If you are a writer and are seeking someone to beta read something you've written, please post a short description of the specific piece you'd like feedback on (try to keep it under 300 words if you can). Please ensure you include any sensitive subject matter, a word count, and a rating. Please also indicate what type of feedback you would like to receive (see the "Be clear about what you want" section below).
- Writers: please make a separate post for each piece of writing you'd like feedback on and please do not request feedback for more than one piece of writing per week (this way everyone has a chance to look at your request and we don't have any one person flooding the list with beta reader requests).
- When replying to someone's posted request (for something to read or for a reader) please include either an email address where that person can contact you, or a request that they comment on your lj. We recommend you mangle your email address in a recognizable way (e.g. turtle at domain dot net instead of turtle@domain.net) to avoid being harvested by spam bots.
- Any images larger than an LJ icon, anything not-work-safe, and anything over 100 words needs to be behind an LJ-cut. If you don't know how to do LJ-cuts, read the FAQ (http://www.livejournal.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=75). If you're still having difficulties, contact one of the community moderators and we'll help you out.
- We host an open feedback session on a piece of writing posted to the list once a week. If you'd like to submit your writing for the week-long open feedback session, please contact the community owner. The week-long open feedback session is the only time we post someone's full piece of writing to the community for beta reading. All other beta reading is expected to take place off of the community, either via email or through lj comments, depending upon the wishes of the author.

If you'd like to advertise in our community, whether you are advertising your new book, your website, or another community, please consult with one of the moderators first. We want a community that is open but we need to ensure it's not used as a method for spam.

Sensitive subject matter:
We have members from all types of backgrounds, ages, beliefs, etc. In order to respect everyone without censorship, we need to be clear about content. Sensitive subject matter needs to be clearly marked so that people are aware of what they are going to be reading. Examples of sensitive topics are: sexual assault, graphic nudity, graphic violence, violence towards animals, torture... Please also include a rating similar to what you'd expect to see on a movie if you were renting it.

Be clear about what you want:
If you're a reader and snakes bother you, say so. If you don't want to say so publicly, privately email the writer you're thinking of reading and ask them if there are snakes in the story. That way you don't end up reading about snakes and hating the story, and the writer doesn't end up hearing how much you hate snakes, without getting any useful feedback about their work.
If you're a writer and you are wanting to only hear about what you're doing well, say so. There is absolutely nothing wrong with making a "Postive-Only Please" request and no one will think less of you because of it. No one wants to find out that feedback they sent you made you stop writing your story. At the same time, if you are wanting people to scour the story for any potential flaws so you can make it as perfect as possible, you need to let people know or they may be hesitant to tell you anything negative for fear it might upset you.
If you aren't sure how to describe what type of feedback you're looking for (or giving), here's some suggestions:

General feelings: Do you like it? What do you like about it? How does it make you feel? What are your favorite parts? What do you think will happen next?

General suggestions: Where and how can I improve? Research suggestions. When editing, what should I absolutely not cut?

Constructive criticism: What should I consider re-writing, and why? What are the strengths and weaknesses of this piece? Was there anything disappointing? Are there any errors that you feel I should think about correcting?

Critical Editing Requested: Please be as harsh as you like, pick it apart, give me anything you feel is remotely dissatisfying. How can I make this perfect in your eyes?

Positive-Only Please: Please provide me only with positive commentary. I would prefer you kept negative comments to yourself. I do not wish to receive them at this time.

No plot/character suggestions please: Please examine the work as it is without attempting to suggest new directions I could go or new things my characters could do. I already know what is going to happen next. I want to know what you think of the story as I have written it.

Editing for Publication: I am planning on submitting this piece for publication. Please give me any info you feel might help me get it published, be it modifications to the writing or suggested places I can send it.

Include a word count:
While all of us would like to have all the time in the world to read and/or write to our heart's content, reality says otherwise. When you include a word count, it gives your potential readers an idea of how long it will take them to finish reading your work. Don't worry that a higher word count will scare readers away. Most of us have no issues with longer word counts - we just need to plan for them. Lack of planning ahead can often lead to situations where your reader is unable to finish reading your piece and may end up abandoning it - costing you a chance for valuable feedback. If your word processing software doesn't have the ability to count words, you can always use this website to get a good rough idea: http://www.javascriptkit.com/script/script2/countwords.shtml

Spelling and Grammar:
Some people are sticklers for spelling and grammar, some just don't care, some feel that the conventions of spelling and grammar are overly restrictive and cramp their style. Whichever type you are, let people know. If you're a writer and you don't care if your work has typoes, say so. If you are a reader and 2 or 3 spelling mistakes will make you stop reading, say so. We aren't going to regulate your spelling, but we do ask that if you aren't intending on complying with the rules of spelling and grammar within the English language, you make that clear. That way no one feels constrained by rules they may or may not agree with, and everyone can focus on enjoying the reading/writing experience.

Totally Off Topic Discussions:
Randomness and chaos are part of the creative process, but not everyone has time to scroll through tons of posts that have nothing to do with the community they signed up for. We aren't going to freak out if you post off topic stuff, as long as you do it politely and don't do it excessively. What's excessive, you ask? We don't have a hard and fast rule on that. Basically, if a moderator asks you to tone it down and stay more focussed on the goals of the community, please do so.

Bad stuff:

Please note, these things are not allowed:
- Not work-safe stuff that is not behind an lj-cut with a warning that it is not work safe. If a 6 year old shouldn't be seeing it, my boss shouldn't be seeing it on my screen.
- Personal attacks/flame wars/etc. We expect everyone, regardless of their age, to behave like an adult. Rational disagreements/discussions are acceptable. If it gets petty or personal, it's not ok.
- Proselytizing. Go ahead and write about converting people to the Flying Spaghetti Monster in your fiction if you so desire, but do not use this forum as a method to harass people into changing their religious, sexual, aesthetic or any other personal preferences.
- Critiquing the author, not the writing. That goes for both fiction and feedback. It's ok to comment on what someone has said. It is not ok to start giving people feedback on who they are. If you are finding someone overly abrasive, politely request they stop whatever behavior that annoys you. If they persist, contact the mods.
- Plagiarism/copyright infringement/other bad stuff. If it's not yours, don't say it is. If you quote someone, say who you're quoting.
- Don't post memes (surveys that tell you what lightsaber color you are, 20-question-stick-this-in-your-journal-too, or anything that looks like an email forward) to the community. They're annoying and while you may think it's essential for us all to know our inner-Yoda-nature, that's something that should go on your own personal journal, not the community.

IMPORTANT - FEPR: If you post your work in an open forum available for anyone to see on the Internet, you have used First Electronic Publication Rights and may have difficulties selling First Electronic Publication Rights to a potential buyer (e.g. e-magazines). If you choose to post your writing on your livejournal, we recommend you friends-lock the post so that you are not posting in an open forum and are therefore not endangering your chances of being published in future.

Any disputes, breaches of the rules, complaints, commendations, suggestions for the rules, harassment, etc. should be brought to the attention of one of the moderators.

In general: If you have a problem, contact a moderator. If that mod isn't helping you, contact another moderator or the list owner. If a mod contacts you and asks you to stop doing something, stop doing it. If you have a problem with what that mod has said to you, contact the list owner. The list owner has the last word on anything. Everything she says is final (unless she says otherwise :) ). We want this to be a forum where people can interact with respect and tolerance for one another's artistic creations. Sometimes that means having a moderator step in and tell people to calm down and back off. In extreme cases, if someone is being abusive despite requests they stop, we can and will remove them from the community. We really hate doing that, and will only do it if absolutely necessary. Quite frankly, it's a lot of work, and we'd much rather be reading and writing than beating people with virtual pointy sticks.