Browsing Tag

beta readers are gold

Queen of Souls

Who wants to beta read Queen of Souls?

Now that I’ve finished my obligations with Carina and the Rebels of Adalonia trilogy, this means I can turn more attention this year to what I’m going to work on next. I have a few remaining obligations for the 2012 Kickstarter backers–I’ve got to finish owed novellas, and I’m still pondering as to whether I’m going to release those individually to the public, or do a collected volume so that I can also print it. More on this in another post.

This post, however, is about what’s likely to be my next novel release at this point–my Greek mythology-based story Queen of Souls.

I had to put it on hold though while I was dealing with the Kickstarter and with the Rebels trilogy. Now, though, since it’s the next actual finished manuscript I’ve got, it’s finally time for this book to pop off the queue.

Tomorrow, I’ll be having a conversation with my agent (words I’m still not used to saying, ha!), and I’ve sent her a copy of the current QoS draft. I’ve offered her first shot at it, to see if she likes it and would like to try to sell it. If she does, what will happen next is that I’ll turn QoS over to her and let her see if she can find it a home.

If she declines to take it on, I will be moving forward with publishing it myself, similar to how I did Faerie Blood and Bone Walker.

Either way, I’m also in talks with the editor I worked with at Carina, to engage her freelance to take on an edit pass through this story. Since I already know I can work with her, and that she’s really good at tightening up my prose, I think QoS will benefit from her eyes on it. I’m already working on doing a light edit pass through the book myself, based on what I’ve learned from my experiences working with Deb on the Rebels books.

But before I turn the book over to Deb for editing (currently roughly scheduled for some time in April), I’m going to want beta reader eyes on it too. This is where y’all come in, Internets!

Who wants to beta read the next draft of Queen of Souls?

Some of you out there have seen the first draft, and I did get in beta commentary for that that I never did finish looking at either. But I think a totally fresh beta pass is called for, especially given that I’ve expanded the beginning of the story. There’s now a Part One, three chapters long, laying down the setup for what’s going on here amongst my Olympians, and to give us a transition from ancient times to the current day. Part Two, starting with Chapter Four, picks up where the original first draft started, with Kori in Pike Place Market.

I’ve also decided that the chapters of this story actually need titles. This is because I really liked the idea of a chapter called “The Horse of the North Wind”–so I figured I’d better go ahead and give titles to all the chapters, too. Chapter titles don’t seem to be in vogue as much anymore, at least not in the books I’ve read over the last few years. But there’s something of an old-school classical feel to having named chapters for me, and that’s an appropriate overall feel to invoke for this story and the mythology involved.

What I will need out of potential beta readers:

  • As always, look for typos. You don’t need to go over the whole manuscript with a fine-toothed comb necessarily–remember, this story IS going to get handed to an editor–but if you feel ambitious and WANT to go over the whole book looking for typos, you have my gratitude in advance.
  • Commentary along the lines of “this chapter ends weirdly because X and Y” or “I’m a Greek mythology geek and you’ve invoked this particular detail wrong/weirdly” or “oh hey you have a continuity error about A and B between this chapter and that chapter” is helpful.
  • If you’re feeling really ambitious, commentary about story structure is also welcome. Though again–that’s usually the kind of commentary I expect to get from an editor, so that’s not required for a beta pass.

It would be easiest on me if people who want to beta for me have access to Microsoft Word, so that they can go through the manuscript file and mark things with Word’s comments feature. Then the file can be handed back to me and I can have Word in revisions mode so that I can whip quickly through proposed revisions. In the past, I’ve done things like let people just send me email about this or that typo, or post comments to me here on my blog on a locked post–but I’ve found that that actually creates extra work for me. This time, I’d like to make it a bit easier on myself so that I can focus more time on the actual revisions.

If you want to beta and you don’t have access to Word, please note also that a quick google indicates to me that revisions comments in both LibreOffice and Pages should come back to me successfully in Word.

If you want in on the beta effort, I will be releasing QoS to beta probably some time in the first week of February. So talk to me! Drop me a comment here, or in email, or on the various social networks.

Looking forward to unleashing this story on you all. 😀

Bone Walker

This just in: first draft of Bone Walker is DONE!

A lot of you have now seen me post about this either to the social networks OR to Kickstarter backer notices, but for those of you who have not, I am thrilled to announce that I just finally completed the very first draft of Bone Walker, Book 2 of The Free Court of Seattle!

The book clocks in at just over 86,000 words, so it’s a leaner and meaner book than Faerie Blood–and in more ways than just word count. There’s more action here than in the previous book, and more ensemble cast action as well, as for the first time I’m introducing scenes from the points of view of other characters besides Kendis. Christopher, Jude, Jake, and especially Elessir all get camera time, along with the story’s primary antagonist.

I’ve sent the book off to editor JoSelle Vanderhooft, and have also made it available to all the Kickstarter backers who bought in for that specific book. I will also make it available to people who specifically want to beta read for me, so if you didn’t get a chance to support the Kickstarter but you’d really like to see Book 2, now’s your chance!

JoSelle’s taking three weeks to do her full edit pass, and will be doing developmental edits on it as well as lower-level copyedit changes. But I’d really love to get beta reader feedback as well, and so if you can beta in the next three weeks, you can see the first draft!

Once changes are incorporated from both JoSelle and anybody who chimes in on the beta run, I’ll be doing a second draft which will also eventually need to be beta read. So there’ll be a second opportunity as well for those who aren’t able to join this first round. All beta readers will of course get their names in the Acknowledgements, and anybody who isn’t already getting a production copy due to Kickstarter backer status will be entitled to one as well for your efforts!

So if you’d like in, go look at this post. The password is ‘bugbash’.

Let the beta reading begin!

Bone Walker

Beta reading Bone Walker

And now, a status report on Bone Walker!

I am now in the final push to finish the first draft. As of this writing I have signed off on the new Prologue and chapters 1-4. I have chapters 5-25 yet to go, and am hoping to hand them off to editor JoSelle on Friday, or at the very least some time this weekend. (Since it’s a three-day weekend, I suspect I’m going to be blowing a lot of it finishing the sweep.)

The book’s current word count is 84,048 words, and I am pretty sure the first draft will be coming in at not too much above that–which means, still shorter than Faerie Blood.

What happens once I finish the draft will be this: I’m going to send it to JoSelle, who will then do her sweep through it. She’s going to be doing a thorough edit, both copyedit-level changes and bigger-picture development stuff.

However, I will also simultaneously release the book to anybody who wants to beta read it. Kickstarter supporters are going to get automatic access to the draft as well.

Since the book is being professionally edited, this first round of beta reading will not necessarily need to be as extensive. This is not to say, potential beta readers, that you should not beta read the hell out of it! It’s just to say that this is more optional than it would otherwise be if I hadn’t engaged an actual editor to look at the book. 😉

Note also that this will indeed be the first round of beta reading. When I finish incorporating JoSelle’s recommended changes as appropriate (and any changes from beta reading round 1), I will also need eyes on the resulting second draft. So if you don’t get into the first round of reading, there will be a second opportunity!

All beta readers will get their names into the Acknowledgements. I will offer a free digital copy of the finished book to beta readers as well–I cannot unfortunately offer print since print copies will be limited in number. But beta readers can definitely have a digital copy in the format of their choice if they’re not already getting it via supporting the Kickstarter!

So talk to me, people, if you want in on either round!

Faerie Blood

Faerie Blood on the Kobo store, reported typos, and bonus bouzouki pics!

In the interests of further updates about my self-pub situation, I report that Smashwords has finally approved me for ‘premium’ status in their catalogue, which means they’ll deploy me out to other sites for which they function as an aggregator. I was going to use this as a means to get onto Kobo, except that Kobo’s new “Writing Life” program has finally gone live!

And so now I’m working with the Kobo site directly, similarly to how I’m working with Amazon and iTunes and B&N. For those of you out there who have Kobo readers of any stripe, you can now buy Faerie Blood for the Kobo right over here! I particularly like how the site hooks up to Goodreads–if you scroll the page down, you’ll see the Goodreads reviews for the book down at the bottom. I got that to work by making sure Goodreads had a record for the new ebook edition, using the same ISBN. Nifty, huh?

Meanwhile, speaking of Faerie Blood, one of my sharp-eyed Kickstarter backers (who happens to also be one of my coworkers) reported a typo in the book that I hadn’t caught AT ALL before the Second Edition was deployed! And in fact, this typo dates all the way back to the Drollerie Edition, so it hadn’t gotten caught then either! The typo is a misspelling of the name of the demon Azganaroth–in one part of the chapter, there’s an extra ‘a’ in there, so it comes out as ‘Azganaraoth’ instead. Oops. *^_^*;; I will be fixing this ASAP for the electronic editions, as well as for the second print run of the book. Those of you who have first run print copies, or who will be shortly getting them, you get to have a unique typo in your copies!

(All print copies have now been mailed out to Kickstarter backers, minus the ones I’m hand-delivering! All copies going to people who have directly bought from me should be going out by the end of this week as well.)

Naturally, I promptly signed my coworker’s copy because people who report typos to me get their books signed. New rule! And he’s volunteered to beta read for Bone Walker. I will be taking him up on that, because clearly, I need him!

Also! My aforementioned coworker/backer was curious about Christopher’s bouzouki in Faerie Blood, so just in case any of the rest of you are also curious about what a bouzouki looks like, you can find an excellent picture of one right over here. This is the photo page on the website of Le Vent du Nord, and in the first album of photos on that link, you’ll find a picture of their guitarist/bouzouki player. Christopher’s bouzouki looks a lot like Simon Beaudry’s, except maybe a little darker. And while I have yet to inspect M. Beaudry’s bouzouki up close, I’m pretty sure his doesn’t have an inscription in Gaelic. 😉

Faerie Blood

Ahoy, beta readers! All hands on deck!

I have just completed my proofing sweep through Dara’s layout of Faerie Blood, the second edition–and now Dara and I need your help, people!

We need at least three sets of eyes to read over the PDF for us. Unlike with Lament of the Dove, what we need here is not big-picture proofing–this time we do in fact need nitpicky, fine-tooth-comb level inspection! We’re looking for any layout problem here, whether big or small, so that Dara can adjust it in the final version.

Also, since I’m updating “present day” in this edition of Faerie Blood, I’ve had to adjust various references to time. Anyone who has the book’s first edition handy and who would like to sanity-check the changes I’ve made, that would be very good as well.

So if you’d like in, email me or DM me on the social network of your choice, and I’ll send you the PDF! Note that the only modifications we expect to have to do at this point are to add the names of any appropriate Kickstarter supporters to the Dedication page and to the Acknowledgements. But other than that, the text should be considered final.


A small but awesome milestone

Tonight I found a message waiting for me on Facebook from someone who said she’d just finished reading Faerie Blood and really liked it–and that she was volunteering to jump in on beta reading Lament of the Dove for me. To which I had the following reactions:

One, holy crap, a complete stranger actually read my book and wrote in to say she liked it EEE!. This does not happen to me very often at all, people. Faerie Blood hasn’t sold more than a few hundred copies to the best of my knowledge, and believe me, I’m still totally double-taking at the thought that people I don’t actually know have actually read it!

But with that in mind, O Internets, I urge you: if you loved a book, take the time to write in and let the author know. It doesn’t have to be effusive or detailed. It can just be ‘I really enjoyed your book, thank you so much!’ Even hearing that much is music to an author’s ears. We’re putting our darlings out there in the hope that somebody will in fact read ’em, so any proof that they’re getting read? Gold.

And two, holy crap this complete stranger wants to read more of my work! Sure, it’s work that hasn’t actually been published yet, but in some ways that’s even more awesome. That’s taking an active interest.

So I’ve flung back a Facebook note to the person in question, and we will see where this goes. In the meantime, public mad props to Ghislaine for taking the time to write in!

All the rest of you? If you loved an author’s work, thank them. And if you’re an author, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that your readers are made entirely of awesome. Or that your beta readers kick up the awesome another order of magnitude entirely. Hug your beta readers today!