Running a beta readers group takes a bit of time. It’s been fun though getting the Freewrite House Beta Readers Group started. We just recently finished the first book review, and I can say for certain it helped the author. That’s because it was me!
I decided to submit my work the first round for a number of reasons, but the most important was I wanted a guinea pig. I knew there would be some ironing out of the process and it might not have worked at all this first go round. I’d hate to have things be all messed up for someone else.
And things did get a little mixed up in the process. It needed some tweaking as we went in terms of formatting and making sure everyone received the messages (and I’m not sure everyone did). The next go round will be smoother. I imagine though, that I’ll have to adjust more as we go along.
What I learned from my beta reviewers
Generally my story was well received. I got feedback that was very detailed including specific suggestions down to the sentence. There were more general suggestions too. There were readers who “got it”, that is what I was trying to do. And there were readers who didn’t and wanted it to be something it isn’t. This told me a few things.
First, I did ok for my first attempt at something publishable. But there are spots that need some work.
Second, I have a few writing habits that I need to work on eliminating. Commas and dashes are my downfall! Probably exclamation points too.
Third, and probably most important, I can’t make everyone happy. No one can. Some people will be fine with my world building, others won’t. And that’s ok, or should I say, I’m ok with that.
Changes I’m making based on the beta reveiw
In response to the feedback, I’m delaying my publishing. I want to address as much of the feedback as I think I should. So my new goal is by the end of May. I’m hoping to have it done before that but that’s the firm date.
I’ll be adding a couple chapters to the beginning to help establish my characters more. I’ll also have to change a significant portion of the existing first scenes so it matches up.
In addition to the feedback, I’ve been learning much more about the structure of fiction, characters, and settings. So I’m going to integrate as much as I can at this point.
Staying true to my vision
The story is intended to be “light” science fiction. It’s a serial delivered in short 12,000-15,000 word chunks. Kind of like pulp science fiction in days of old, but stronger on characters and less on the world building – still focused on plot though perhaps not as much adventure as those old magazines that inspired me.
I want them to be quick, fun reads but of higher quality than what is out there currently for kindle short reads. Seriously.
Go download the top ranking sci-fi Kindle shorts in the 1 hour to ninety minute category. Other than the ones based on The Expanse, I haven’t made it past the first chapter of a single one yet. I admire the authors for putting their work out there (which I haven’t done – yet) but I found them completely unreadable (as of this writing. There might be something better there tomorrow).
Back to my story, each episode, or book, in the series will end with cliffhangers until the final conclusion.
It might end up being a total waste of time and not do well at all – that is sell any copies. But this is my vision and I’m sticking to it. I will learn however it goes so it will be a win for me no matter what.
Want your own beta review?
Do you have a story you’re considering publishing, but want some feedback?
We’re actively recruiting manuscripts for our Beta Readers! My experience was incredibly positive, even when the feedback was “constructive”, it was all helpful. My final version will undoubtedly be much better as a result.
If you want to submit your manuscript for review, fill out this form to start the process – don’t worry it’s just a form and it doesn’t bite. There’s no commitment until you and I come to an agreement on dates. Then you’ll need to provide the manuscript and either 5 SBD or $5 USD (via PayPal) to secure your spot in the review.
Here’s the form to use to sign up:
Writer’s submission form
Happy writing (and reading!)