The writers' groups I'm a member of are full of these new pay-for "beta reading" services that promise all sorts of "reader analytics." Usually I know from a beta reader's comments if the person spent any appreciable time reading, so I'm skeptical about what they can really offer.
In an email to a similar, but different service, the founder admitted it offered no more "security" for your MS than sending a pdf or .docx to a specific email address and keeping track of who you sent it to. Readers intent on stealing content can always take screen shots, so don't try this if you're concerned about someone stealing your MS.
But, I've rewritten DL for the 11th time, based on feedback from the 1st 5 Pages Writing Workshop, and I thought I'd try out this beta reading service, BetaReader.io because it offers a limited trial for free. And it might be fun?
The free trial includes up to 3 beta readers. I'm recruiting folks who want to try the service and read the manuscript. Some of my beta readers have already asked that I send them the manuscript in a .docx format, which is fine. A lot of folks prefer to write in-line comments in Word, and I understand that.
If I've critiqued or beta'ed for you, you know I do things "old school" -- I print out, write comments, and send the pages via the Scannable app (LOVE Scannable for all sorts of purposes, not just beta reading).
This is what BetaReader looks like from my end, the author:
Apparently, I can raise the "Reader Limit" by either reading others' works, in increments of 50K words, or by inviting others to join. I'm not a big "invite others" to spam, even when it's fundraising for my kiddos school teams and extracurricular events, so I think I'll pass on that. And it would probably just be cheaper, in terms of my time, to pay to upgrade the service, than spend time reading others' pages (unless I've beta or critiqued for you, in which case, I'd gladly do it!).
You click on the title, and get this screen. I've invited one reader thus far, who I asked and he agreed to try it out. As I get feedback and reader analytics, I'll share what those look like (without using his name!), as well.
The manuscript's settings are private, which means only an invitation via the link can get you there. If I understand it correctly, it just doesn't show up in their searchable database.
If you've tried one of these new services, what's been your experience with it? Good? Indifferent? Please share! I'd love to hear from you!