Seeking Beta Readers for Vaetra Unveiled

Vaetra Unveiled Beta Reader Program I surprised myself this week by finishing the first draft of my first fantasy novel, Vaetra Unveiled, right on schedule. My project plan for the novel had me finishing the first draft by the end of July, and it actually happened.

The next step in the plan is to start on the second draft, which is scheduled to be completed by mid-September. The first draft is a little too raw for me to show it to anyone except my wife. However, I plan to release the second draft to beta readers.

If you are interested in being a beta reader for Vaetra Unveiled, see the last section of this article for more information.

I could wait until the entire second draft is complete and then put it out there, but that would mean I would have down time between the second and third draft (which will incorporate beta reader suggestions). Obviously, the beta readers would need time to read the book and respond.

I have a better idea (maybe).

The Beta Reader Program

Rather than wait until the entire second draft is complete, I’m going to release it incrementally, in seven weekly installments. For the beta readers, it will be a lot like reading a serial story in a magazine. Using this approach, I can get feedback as the chapters are released and get started on my third draft the moment I finish the second draft.

The challenge in doing it this way is managing the beta process. Here are the requirements I’d be facing:

  • Keep track of everyone who wants to be a beta reader.
  • Provide instructions and review questions to beta readers.
  • Deliver chapters to beta readers.
  • Collect feedback from beta readers.

I could do all of this through email, but that would be messy. Also, I think I’d get some interesting conversations going if the beta readers could see what the others are saying.

You may see where I’m going with this. It is starting to sound like some kind of membership site, right? Or perhaps a private forum.

Well, it just so happens that I have free access to some web software that satisfies all of these requirements, so I’m thinking about taking advantage of it. My only concern is that I don’t want it to seem “too hard” for the beta readers, or they won’t participate.

The software I’m thinking about using is actually training software. The way it would work is that each chapter of the book would be a “lesson,” and each scene would be a “page.” I can also provide a downloadable PDF of the week’s installment for readers who want to read off-line. The final page of each chapter would ask the review questions. The best part is that each lesson has a dedicated discussion area, so readers could comment on the chapter and comment on each other’s comments. The software has built-in notification capability, so readers would have the option of being notified when anyone else makes a comment.

The review questions I’m talking about are just specific things I’d like to have feedback on. For example, “how did you feel about X,” or “did I give you enough information about how Y works.”

Hopefully, I’m not making this too complicated. I have a tendency to do that. But I honestly think the entire process will be a lot more fun for everyone this way.

Of course, I have to get the training software developer to make one little tweak to make this all possible. But let’s just say I have an “in” with that individual. 😉

Sign Up to Be a Beta Reader

In the meantime, if you are interested in being a beta reader for Vaetra Unveiled, please let me know. Use the contact page to send me your contact information (I need at least your name and email address), and I’ll let you know when I get this all set up. I’m shooting to release the first installment on August 5, 2011.

Please note that Vaetra Unveiled is in the Swords and Sorcery (or possibly “low fantasy”) genre, so if you hate reading stories that involve magic or fantastical creatures, this beta program isn’t for you. However, if you do like reading stories like that, I’d love to get your feedback.

Here’s a short description of the novel:

Vaetra Unveiled relates the adventures of mercenary soldier and “problem solver” Jaylan Forester as he accompanies a secretive and distractingly attractive Sword Sorceress named Sulana on her mission to retrieve a stolen artifact. Along the way, he discovers that sorcery has intruded into his troubled life more deeply than he ever expected or wanted.

I know, I need to come up with more than that. I’m working on it.


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