Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Request for Beta Readers

Work in Progress: cover art for Book 2 of the
Rubricate Chronicles, Conspiracy of Crows.
First of all, if you took the Bear seriously when he said he was not going to blogging much and are just checking in, there is some stuff you might have missed below.

It's That Time Again

As you know, the Bear is the uncredited ghostwriter for some other guy's novels. (As if anyone but a Bear could write something like Judging Angels.)

Anyway, it's time to get Book 2 of the Rubricatae Chronicles ready for submission. The working title is Conspiracy of Crows.

What Does a Beta Reader Do?

Bear's good friend says,
"Only you can help the Bear."
What does a beta reader do?

He or she just reads a manuscript and provides feedback to the author That's it. It's not editing. You don't have to be a grammar expert or have any special qualifications other than being able to read a novel written in English and provide your reactions.

It's a job for ordinary people who read books.

The Bear just wants to know what you liked, and especially, what you didn't, and why. "Oh, I'm not smart enough to do that!" is no excuse. The Bear wants the reactions of ordinary people.

You do not have to have read the first book, Judging Angels, but it would probably help.

The Biggest Obligation is Just to Do What You Say You'll Do

Mainly, a beta reader understands the job is an important part of preparing a novel for publication and is committed to following through. If for whatever reason someone decides they don't want to read the manuscript and provide feedback after all, that's fine, of course, but the Bear does expect to know where you stopped reading and why. (I hated it, I had to have gallbladder surgery, the whole feedback thing felt too much like work, just never got around to it, whatever.)

It's just a matter of simple courtesy.

Beta readers are famous in publishing for their washout rate. The Bear is looking for folks who will take the commitment seriously. And, of course, if you are accepted as a beta reader, the manuscript is for your eyes only. The Bear would get quite cross if he saw if somewhere online (not that any of the Woodland Creatures would.)

Why Beta Readers are Important

Beta readers helped Judging Angels
become an award-winning novel.
It is no exaggeration to say that it was good beta readers who made Judging Angels a pretty good novel; at any rate a lot better than it was originally.

How much feedback is expected? Enough to be useful. The best provide real-time reactions chapter by chapter, or even scene by scene. The Bear likes beta readers who will send him an email after each reading session, or chapter by chapter. That not only helps him meet his deadline, it lets him know you're still engaged in the process.

What does the beta reader get out of it?

It's a favor to the Bear. Perhaps a way of showing your appreciation for all the free, eclectic articles he provides on a regular basis - 1,431 one of them to date. The best get included in the acknowledgements, if they want to be, under whatever name they wish. All get to look at a published novel and say, "I helped make this happen."

If you've read this far, maybe you're interested. The Bear is thinking some of the regular commenters, like Nancy, for example, might help out. If so, email the Bear. Please put "Judging Angels" in the subject. (That way it doesn't get lost in all the spam.) And please let me know under what name you post, if you are a commenter.

You may sign your commitment in blood on your own and keep it where it will remind you that your Bear and the literary patrimony of Western Civilization depends on you.


  1. Where did you get that photograph of the crow?

  2. Hmmmm, methinks I must have forgotten to hit publish before and then closed the tab, but I'd be honored to beta read once more! Email me!


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