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How do you send your work to beta readers?

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by 33percent, Apr 12, 2017.

  1. TyrannusRex

    TyrannusRex Member

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    I'm just having a group of close friends read it for me. They know not to tell anyone, mostly because the story is more or less written for me and them. I printed off the first chapter, asked if they were interested; getting an enthusiastic response, I began emailing them chapters for review as I wrote them.
     
  2. B93

    B93 Active Member

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    Quite possible for self-publishing if one tries to make a first-class product. Cover art is important (even as an illustration for selling ebooks) and can be expensive. Professional editing is expensive. And if you are self-publishing, save some $ for promotion.

    If you can get traditionally published, you don't have most of those costs, but hiring an editor before you submit to the agent/publisher may improve your chances.

    Each book must stand alone with its own story. Concentrate on telling a good story with a satisfactory ending in 100k words.

    If two or more books involve the same characters and/or setting, then they can make a fine series. But I would be angry to find a cliffhanger at the end of a book. Cliffhangers are for chapter endings, only.

    Most friends, unless they are language teachers or writers themselves, will just tell you they really liked it. It is rare for casual readers among friends and family to provide much help in plot, character development, or editing.
    ---------
    As to how to deliver it to readers, ask them what they are comfortable with. I would read someone's paper copy, Word file, or PDF (and have done so), but would refuse to deal with Google Docs or other cloud systems, which I find too clumsy.
     
  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose Contributing Member

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    since the advent of print on demand publishing like createspace and ingram spark the cost of self pub has come down, but as B93 rightly points out there is still a cost to cover art and editing services - and while you can do them yourself to save cash can doesnt mean should
     
  4. Lew

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    $2 to $4K is probably a good estimate, if you are seriously going to launch a quality finished product and reach readers outside your immediate circle of friends. I am in that range for "The Eagle and the Dragon," with a professional editor, a good cover, and various organizations that I have joined, writers' conferences attended, hotels and meals at book fairs, promotional schemes and scams, and so forth. The small things add up fast. Fortunately I can afford it, accepted that I would have to prime the pump, and am started to see spontaneous sales showing up.

    Having said this, do NOT repeat do NOT deal with any publisher who will publish your book for just $2 to $4K and do all the marketing for you while you sit back and cash the royalty checks. Publishers who charge you up front to publish do not even deserve an answer, and rarely deliver.

    And yes, size matters, and splitting a book can be a real challenge for all the reasons @TWErvin2 gave. E&D was 240K words, and I had exactly the problem he cited... how to end book 1 so it stood alone, and start book 2 with my rather large cast of characters and subplots without beginning with a boring synopsis of book 1. So I decided to leave it intact and self-pub, and it typeset at a respectable 550 pages.
     
    jannert likes this.
  5. jannert

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    The date-stamping is proof that you sent it to yourself on that date, not proof that you wrote it. What would be helpful to prove you're the writer is to include earlier drafts, notes, etc in your email attachment, so it's obvious you've been working on it for some time. But again, I really wouldn't worry. Nobody is going to steal your work. Really. They're not.

    I noticed you mentioned a beta (cousin) who didn't do anything but critique your grammar, etc. You seemed slightly put out by that, but you shouldn't be.

    If your grammar isn't up to scratch, it doesn't matter how good your story is—the story won't get conveyed to the reader. Grammar isn't something you 'clean up later.' Grammar is something you get right all along. Grammar is a basic when it comes to writing.

    If you let slip an occasional typo (like one or two per chapter!), it's probably forgivable and overlookable. But that doesn't excuse it either. Don't send out something that's a grammatical dog's breakfast (I'm not saying yours was, BTW ...just a general piece of advice) and expect your beta readers to simply ignore the mistakes and focus on your story. It's like hitting dozens of wrong notes when you're playing a tune on the violin, and expecting your audience to enjoy the tune anyway. They won't.

    I'd say NEVER give something to a beta reader that isn't the best you can make it. Then take their suggestions on board, and make it even better before you give it to the next beta. Rinse and repeat.
     
  6. jannert

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I know I prefer to receive stuff to beta-read in wordprocessing format. Makes it much easier to give feedback.
     
  7. Lew

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    I only had a handful of beta readers doing my first draft as it was written chapter by chapter, and those chapters didn't get released to them until they had passed muster of my eagle-eyed wife @K McIntyre , who can tell the difference between a comma and a period at 100 yards. She also insists that there should be at least two periods in every ten lines of text.
     
  8. 33percent

    33percent Member

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    I was aiming for a standalone book which is the story I do have, but I didn't expect myself to write almost 200k words. The LOTR fellowship of the ring is 178k words which I do find motivating I can still publish a book with that size. I want to go traditional publishing route it's going to be tough sell to just because the word count is over 100k. I do think the google drive is a great idea, for now I'm going to share it to my close friends. Majority of the book is a mixture of suspense/thriller and drama. I have a other idea that could possibly make into a 100k, but I will be writing a extended story what I have now. In my 3rd draft, I am trimming the fat of unnecessary stuff. All I can is my grammar has improved but it's not like perfect, but I do need to work on dialogue in my book.
     
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  9. Christopher Bliss

    Christopher Bliss New Member

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    Have you tried putting your books in beta bookshops?
     
  10. 33percent

    33percent Member

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    What is a beta bookshop?
     
  11. big soft moose

    big soft moose Contributing Member

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    its a site full of work looking to be beta read I think ... it doesn't appeal to me either as a writer or a reader
     
  12. joe sixpak

    joe sixpak Banned

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    True self publishing is from free to a couple thousand dollars.
    Vanity publishing is from 'cheap' to 20,000usd and up.
    The cost depends how much you diy and how many useless 'services' you buy.
    I would budget $600 and expect to hit that target.

    You need to send the best mss you can. Many trad pubs do not do any real editing any longer.
    And do check out WM for how to package your book proposal in general. And read the target's website for specifics they want.

    Your work is copyrighted the moment you fixed it in a medium. You could register it at LOC if you are afraid of theft. Note you can't copyright ideas only the expression.

    Do you really think beta readers are looking to steal your work?
    Hire an editor to do the job and sign agreements if that makes you feel comfortable.
    I would suspect that it is hard enough to get beta readers without the hurdle of asking for legal forms being signed.
     

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