UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who has offered to beta read Tangled. I now have enough beta readers. HOWEVER, if you’re aged between 15-18 years old and regularly read contemporary realistic YA fiction, I’d still love to hear from you because you’re smack bang in my target audience!
You may remember that a couple of weeks ago, I set myself a deadline of 5 September for micro-editing the first 50K of my novel-in-progress Tangled. I’m excited to report that I’m still on track to achieve that goal, having edited 30.5K to date.
My progress has got me thinking – what do I want to do once I’ve finished this round of editing? And the answer (as you probably guessed by the headline) is that I want to hand it over to beta readers. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, beta readers are people who read a manuscript in draft form and provide feedback on what works and what doesn’t. This feedback will inform future rounds of editing before (hopefully) publication. (You can read more about the role of beta readers in this marvellous post at the Open Vein.)
Because Tangled is such a hefty manuscript (175K to be exact), I think it would be best if I provided it to beta readers in parts. That way, I can start getting feedback sooner than later and people aren’t confronted with the whole book to critique in one hit. Now, before you run screaming at the word count, let me say that 175K was the final word count of the first draft. Of the chapters I’ve edited so far, I’ve reduced their word count by an average of 28%. If I continue at this rate, the word count will come down to about 126K. (Maths isn’t my strong point so if this don’t sound right, let me know!).
So, this is me putting the call out. Are you interested in beta reading Tangled (find out more about Tangled)? If so, keep reading…
Who I’m looking for
- I’m seeking people who regularly read young adult contemporary fiction.
- Ideally, I’d love to have a couple of beta readers who are in my target audience, i.e. 15-18 year olds. If I could get feedback from at least one girl and one guy from this age group, I’d be ecstatic.
- I’m looking for people who are willing to make a commitment to read and provide feedback on the whole manuscript over time (and have an ongoing conversation about suggested changes and ideas).
- I’m still deciding how many beta readers I’d like as I can see benefits to having a few (more detailed conversations) and to having a lot (able to see whether feedback is consistent or unique to one individual). Any feedback on this would be appreciated.
What I’m looking for
- Honest feedback. I’m not looking for a pat on the back, I’m looking for genuine thoughts on what works and what doesn’t.
- Feedback on all manner of things, such as:
- Are the characters believable? Relatable? Likeable?
- Does the plot move at a good pace? Does it ever lag or go too fast?
- Are there any plot holes, character inconsistencies or sentences that jar?
- Is there anything about the story that you particularly love or loathe?
- At the end of the first part, where do you think the story is heading from here? What do you hope happens? What do you think WILL happen?
- Anything else you feel I should know.
OR if you’d don’t have time to provide detailed feedback but would like to read it and provide general thoughts, I’d be happy for that too.
What are the timeframes?
- I hope to have the first part ready by 15 September (it will be about 40K if my current reduction rate continues).
- I’d like to receive feedback by mid-November. By this point, I hope to have finished editing part two. But before I send out part two to my beta readers, I will consider the feedback provided for part one. Depending on what feedback I get, I may need to revise part one and make subsequent changes to part two before I send out a second round.
- My overall deadline to have the manuscript 100% complete is mid-February next year. Time will tell whether this is achievable!
- Would you like to be a beta reader? If so, please comment on this post or email me at callyjackson at gmail dot com.
- I’m new to this beta-reading request caper, so if there’s anything here that stands out as a bad idea, please let me know. 🙂