Gail Anderson-Dargatz  

Alpha and Beta Reading Service


Alpha and beta readers give feedback on a manuscript from a reader’s perspective. An alpha reader looks at a rough draft in development, while a beta reader considers a polished manuscript.

At either stage, an alpha or beta reader might answer the following questions and more:

  • Does the opening pull a reader in?
  • Does the pacing lag or move too quickly?
  • Is the character relatable?
  • Is there enough conflict or drama to keep the reader reading?
  • Do all the story elements make sense?
  • Is the manuscript meeting reader expectations for a given genre?
  • Is the ending satisfying?

An alpha or beta reader gives a writer a crucial second opinion on their manuscript -- one that can move the project forward.

How it works:

Click on the appropriate green button to the right to purchase at any time. We'll email you right back to schedule your reading.

You'll then email your manuscript to us. Your assigned alpha or beta reader will read your manuscript and, depending on the length, offer either a marked-up copy (for shorter manuscripts) or two to three pages of notes (on a longer manuscript).

This is not an editing or review service and, to keep the cost low, there is no follow-up meeting or email discussion as there is for Gail's other services.

For an in-depth editorial critique of a manuscript, see Gail’s blue pencil sessions, fiction mentorships, clean sweep and developmental editing service.


Alpha or beta reading for a short story of 4000 words or less: $40 + GST/HST.


Alpha or beta reading for a longer story of 20,000 words or less: $80 + GST/HST.


Alpha or beta reading for a novella of 45,000 words or less: $160 + GST/HST.


Alpha or beta reading for a novel of 100,000 words or less: $300 + GST/HST.


All manuscripts must be in 12-point, Times New Roman, double-spaced.

For more information or to submit your manuscript for an alpha or beta reading, email Gail’s office at


Thank you so much for your input and guidance on my story. I have pored over the notes and have learned so much about my own (of course flawed) process -- admitting that it's flawed being part of the process!”

-- Florence MacDonald, an award-winning, internationally produced playwright and short story writer

Work with Gail

Gail works with writers at all levels, from newbies to pros. Choose the course that best suits your project.

The Clean Sweep

Writing is messy. Clean it up! Get a detailed edit of your story, pitch package, grant application or any short project under 20,000 words.

Alpha and Beta Reading Service

Alpha and beta readers give feedback on a manuscript from a reader’s perspective. Move your project forward with this affordable service.

Writing Retreat

This week-long writing retreat in the Shuswap region of British Columbia is timed to coincide with the sockeye run on the Adams River, a natural wonder.

Creative Writing Course

This course is offered free to writers enrolled in Gail's fiction mentorships, developmental edits, and fall retreats, to support instruction.

Meet and Greet

Meet Gail for a 20-minute Zoom session to get a sample edit or discuss which one of Gail's services is right for you.

Blue Pencil Sessions

Not your average blue pencil session, this consultation with Gail is a full workshop. Book at any time.

Fiction Mentorships

Gail's flagship course. In this one-on-one, private, four-month online mentorship, Gail will guide you as you put together your fiction project.

Developmental Edits

For writers with a complete draft. Gail digs deep into your manuscript's big picture story elements -- themes, story goals, conflicts and structure, character arcs, pacing, point of view, and dialogue -- to help you develop your project to the fullest.

About Gail

Gail's novels have been national and international bestsellers and two have been short-listed for the Giller Prize, among other awards. She works with writers from around the world on her online teaching forums.