Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Beta Readers

The long march to complete The Lost Star's Sea, the companion volume to The Bright Black Sea and conclusion of Wil Litang's adventures is nearing its completion. I'm hoping that by the end of February I will have reached the end, in first draft. Like The Bright Black Sea, and perhaps even more so, this story is episodic, which is to say, its a series of fairly self-contained stories in chronological order. The first episode is the Castaways story that I release last summer. There will be seven more which I am planning to send out one at a time to any beta readers interested in reading them. Castaways is done, and at the moment, the next three episodes are just about ready to be proofread, I need to go over them one last time for a final bit of polishing – hopefully minor. The next two episodes are a bit rougher, in 2nd or 3rd draft mode. With any luck, they'll need only one more draft and then a final polishing. I'm halfway through writing the penultimate episode now, and may even have a 2nd draft of it done by the end of this month. Which leaves only the last episode to write in February/March. I know what I want to do in the last episode so I am looking forward to writing it, so that I'm fairly confident that I'll have a good 2nd/ 3rd version of it done by the end of March. All of which is to say, that I'm hoping to start sending out, episode by episode, versions ready for my volunteer beta readers to go over in April (2017).

I'd like the nearly final version of this book read by volunteers who would give me feedback on the typos they encounter, and the questions or any criticism they wish to offer on the stories. Hopefully by doing this I will avoid the mistakes of my first novels, and will eliminate as many typos as possible. However, like all my books, I plan to release The Lost Star's Sea as a free book, so that I don't even have a free ebook copy to offer to any volunteer proofreader/beta reader. I have only my heartfelt thanks and “editorial mention” in the book itself naming and thanking any proofreaders/beta readers who help make the book better. In the unlikely event that I go to print with any of my books, I would send signed copies to all the beta readers who contribute to this book. But, as I said, this is unlikely, and should not be taken into account when volunteering.

The flip side of this is that because I have nothing to offer but thanks, and will be releasing the book for free, I would be glad to send out these sections to anyone interested in reading the not-yet-final, and slightly rough version with no strings attached. You can simply sign up to receive a copy with no obligation at all to contribute anything in return. They can simply be considered advanced copies.

I will have my in-house proof reader, my dear wife, read through each section before I send it out. I am very prolific with typos and very blind to them, so that I believe she corrected hundreds of typos before I sent Castaways out to my volunteer beta readers – who found perhaps 50 or so more typos and suggested so points to clear up. Which is to say that these sections should be close to publication quality, but may well still have a significant number of typos. They might also have formatting errors, since I will be doing a simple down and dirty epub conversion if you choose to receive the stories as an epub (for reading on you ipad or non-kindle ebook reader or app). (Smashwords and Amazon do their own conversions.) I will also offer it as a PDF for reading on a computer/ tablet as well.

If you think you would like to be a volunteer proofreader, beta reader, or just read an advanced copy of the story, episode by episode over the course of a few months, Send me an email at and I will put your name on the list. (I will only use this list for this purpose. My marketing effort consists of pretty much doing nothing.) I will send out an email when the first section is ready for to be sent out, so that you will have a chance to confirm that you want to receive it – if all goes well, some time in April. You need not commit to anything, and can decide what, if anything you want to contribute after you receive the section.

If you have any questions, just drop me a line. I will provide more details closer to the time when I will be sending out the advanced copies.

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