Member since January 2017
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I recently joined Beta Books and am now ready to abandon all other writer critique sites. This one requires no economy system of earning "points" or "credits" through critiquing dozens of other works before you can post even one chapter of your own. Instead, you can post an entire work and invite in your own readers. That's right! No one else sees your work unless you allow them to. On the downside, it does mean you must bring your own beta readers with you who've agreed to read and critique your work without any compensation of a "credit" system. But there are options to advertise your story in a reader pool and gain new readers that way. And stories remain posted for as long as you want, giving leisure time to work on your story, revise it and keep past drafts in place. Joining is by invitation only, and there are some paying options with added perks. But the mods are great guys who are easy to work with sans all the drama and egos some other sites have. Finally! A serious critique site that puts writers' beta needs first!
I joined Scribophile about five years ago and have watched it evolve over the years. I have benefited from the critique format, but it has it's limitations. Written works are posted through an economy system earning "karma" for critiques given and spent when posting works for critique. The mods try to make earning karma a carrot dangled over members' noses and are miserly with how they dish out and even tax the effort of giving away karma to fellow members. There are also hidden karma fees for non-paying members that aren't always clearly stated. The main moderator who runs the site can be vindictive and childish in running the forums. He does not like to be challenged and can be downright abusive when crossed. Last year he shut down one active member's site for speaking out about the abuses she suffered at the hands of other members. Any attempts to return and open a new account were countered. It's not a good place to be and has many punitive rules to follow. Writers aren't allowed to discuss anything close to politics or religion even when it pertains to fictional writing or the the craft of writing. Members are "shamed" when speaking their minds in forums and some members have been threatened with banning from the forums for speaking out for their rights.
It's not the serious writer site it proposes to be. It's an alright place for beginners to get a start on critiquing their work, so long as one slavishly follows all the rules and agrees with every condition the mods put in place.It would seem that's what the site aims to be in keeping writers at a low level of writing and discussions and never aspire to anything higher. It keeps them paying the expensive Premium fee of $65 which is really not worth it. Most of the benefits can be achieved for free and the hassles with paying are simply not worth the price. The main benefit of Premium membership is posting an entire novel rather than the limited 2-chapter postings for free. However, there's no guarantee you'll get equitable critiques for your entire work which could take literally years to get enough members on board to critique the entire thing, let alone the time it would take you to earn the karma to post an entire novel. And then there's the karma tax for anyone who tries to help their fellow members by sharing karma between them. Most just use it to network and beta read offsite which can be gotten for free.
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