Working Speeds

“Draft Team” – the default Ubergroup team, also known as a “home team.” 4-6 members all post the same amount of work every week, and critique each other. Draft teams exist for manuscripts and short stories in all stages, both polished later drafts and incomplete first drafts. Please specify what stage your manuscript is in and we will match you accordingly.

There are three speeds of draft team: Standard, Fast Track, and Full Draft. A Standard draft team posts one chapter, short story, query/synopsis, or outline (approximately 2-4k words) per person, per week. A Fast Track draft team posts double to triple that (approximately 6-10k) per person per week. A Full Draft team posts 1/6th of every manuscript (approximately 15k) per week, with the goal to have read everyone’s entire manuscript by the end of one cycle.

You may participate in a Standard or Fast Track team with an incomplete manuscript; your draft must be complete and roughly proofread to be on a Full Draft team. New applicants should note that Full Draft teams are rare; willingness to join a Standard speed draft team for at least your first cycle will significantly expedite your entry.

Beta and demi-beta, explained below, are only open to veteran members in good standing. New applicants who wish to beta in the future may apply to be crit-only on a beta team for their first cycle.

“Beta Team” – beta is focused on late-stage, submission ready manuscripts. The manuscript is read in gestalt and discussed as with a book group or university-level literature class. There are no line-edits.

To qualify for beta, your manuscript must have been fully developmentally workshopped and revised at least once, ideally on an Ubergroup team. It must have been thoroughly proofread by someone besides yourself, or an electronic proofreading service such as prowritingaid. You must be able to clearly articulate your publication goals and provide two comp titles in your genre that illustrate the tone and style you seek to achieve.

You must be able to succinctly articulate the main “premise” (“moral” “theme” “direction” or “point”) of your story and define your main character’s growth arc, so that your team can verify if you have achieved these goals. You must be able to verify that your word count is typical for a debut novel in your genre and age bracket.

In addition to discussion by your team, the entire Ubergroup is given a beta feature of the week in the bulletin, and asked to browse the blurb as if they were browsing in a bookstore. Provided it is a style/genre they really would read, many give an off-the-cuff reaction as to whether or not they were hooked.

Full speed beta reads one novel per week (5 per cycle, with a built-in catch-up week). Demi-beta reads one novel per two week period (3 per cycle). To apply for a beta team, you must query the individual captain as if they were an agent.

Note: As of cycle 18, it is now no longer permitted to do a beta team simultaneously with any other type of team. This is because of the really high failure rate: approximately 80% of the time someone attempts this, they fall very behind and everyone is upset. We ask that everyone make realistic commitments, and that is why it is the Ubergroup norm to find critique partners who follow through. Every one of us enjoys the fact that here, it is normal and expected that people will critique your work as promised, by the date promised. Please help keep it that way by only making realistic commitments, and learning from the mistakes of others: beta + anything else is not realistic.