Writing a book — even a relatively short one — is a lot of work. There’s the writing itself, which is the easy part. Once that’s done, there’s editing, cover art, typesetting, and proofreading that all has to happen before your work is ready to go to press, be it physical or digital. The problem is that it is entirely possible to do all of these things and still fall short if the plot is boring, poorly-constructed, or difficult to follow. As the author, it’s almost impossible for me to recognize this because I’m too close to the story. If a reference doesn’t make sense, for instance, I probably won’t realize it because of course I know what I meant.
This is where you come in. I’m looking for beta readers — people willing to read an early copy of the manuscript and provide valuable feedback. If this sounds like something you might be interested in, keep reading.
Who can be a beta reader?
The short answer is “anybody over thirteen.” Really, though, I’m looking for two groups of people.
The first group would be those who are more or less unfamiliar with the setting of Archer – those who have not previously read any short stories, story bibles, or other related material or participated in the Colossal Heroes Collaborative Fiction Forum, where Archer has its roots. I need feedback from these people because it will tell me how effectively the story engages new readers.
I also want feedback from people who are already familiar with the setting (you know who you are) — people who are already fans or are already interested or emotionally-vested in some way. I need their help to make sure that the official, published incarnation of the universe stays true to the things that you loved about it to begin with.
For now, I want to keep the circle small and manageable — that means that for now, I’m going to restrict the number of beta readers to a very arbitrary ten. We’ll likely be expanding this pool for future projects, but I’d like to establish a close circle of folks and then focus on growing the community from there.
What are the requirements of beta reading?
Beta readers will be given an early eyes-only copy of the manuscript and will be given approximately two weeks to read it. When they’re done, they’ll be asked to fill out a short questionnaire asking some specific questions about how they feel about the story, and any changes or errata they’d like to submit. This is pretty straightforward, given that Archer is a relatively short story and will take no more than 2-4 hours to read.
Are there rewards for beta readers?
Yes! As it happens, we’ve got some pretty cool ones planned, including, but not limited to:
- High resolution prints of the excellent cover by Aaron Wood
- Bonus material in the form of an excerpt from the journal of the Madman in the Mask
- A sneak preview of our next work in progress: Ronin
These rewards will be made available exclusively to our community of beta readers, upon publication of Archer.
How can I get involved?
Getting involved is as easy as dropping me a line via any one of a number of outlets:
- via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- via Google+, Facebook, or Twitter
- Leave a comment here!