Where Do Betas Live?

Can anyone help? The first draft of my new book is nearly finished – and I’d really like to round up a whole pack of beta readers before moving on much further.

I must admit I’d never heard the term ‘beta readers’ a year ago. (I know, I know – I’ve led a sheltered life and really ought to get out more and talk to people rather than just chat to the voices in my head.)

But, the truth is I started this blog mainly as a way of providing a platform for my books. I didn’t start writing ‘proper’ posts until last summer, which is also when I started really reading other people’s blogs and discovered the huge world that is the blogosphere.

I’ve really appreciated all the things I’ve picked up from reading other people’s blogs – one of which is this concept of beta readers. I suppose it’s fair to say that I understood the concept before learning the term. There are a few people who’ve had the dubious pleasure over the years of having my writing inflicted on them while it’s still in the ‘development’ phase.

But I want MORE! I’m not just being greedy and it’s not that I’ve alienated all my friends and family. One of the main reasons for wanting some extra betas is that my new work is a bit of a departure from the books I’ve written previously. My novels are all different but the three already published under my name all involve elements of mystery, crime, social commentary and contemporary British settings.

Church of the White Rabbits – as you might guess from the title – is a bit more quirky. It’s very loosely inspired by Cold Comfort Farm, an old BBC TV series called A Thousand Acres Of Skye and a love of wild, Atlantic settings. (The humour may owe a bit of a debt to Tom Sharpe. It amuses me, anyway.)

Basically, White Rabbits is the story of an eccentric bunch of characters living on a remote island and how their lives, feuds and desires intertwine as the community approaches the beginning of the 21st century. Kind of soap opera/saga/not quite sure.

If anyone reading this post thinks they might be interested in a spot of beta reading, I’m not looking for a line editor but people who’d be willing to cast their eye over an early draft and tell me what works and what doesn’t. There are links to PDF files of the first four chapters if you want to try them for flavour.

Alternatively, any hints on the whereabouts of beta readers would be gratefully received.

That’s it for tonight. Off to watch the next installment in Treme Series Two. Wonderful storylines and even better music. Perfect for a Thursday night in.

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7 responses to “Where Do Betas Live?”

  1. Maddie Cochere says :

    I wish I could be of assistance, Huw, but I’m editing an existing book, writing the new book, and packing and shipping the old used book business out of my life. I wish you good luck in finding good betas and success with your new book.

    Feel free to edit my comment to remove the next two items if you wish:

    On your sidebar, it would be really nice if your book covers linked to Amazon. I wanted to check your pricing (because of the next item), and I finally just went to Amazon and looked you up. Eventually, I realized if I would have clicked your page about your novels, I might have found links, but many people rarely click into the other pages and follow links. This thought isn’t original, someone told me to do it, so I’m passing it on. If you would put a graphic in your side bar – above your work in progress – that would take someone right to your Amazon page, it would make it easy for visitors to your blog to buy. http://www.amazon.com/Huw-Thomas/e/B0034PUI0A/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1366313437&sr=8-1

    Also, I read this post and all the comments today: http://thewritersguidetoepublishing.com/do-bookbub-ads-work-to-find-new-readers Coming to your blog today, it dawned on me that this type of advertising might be perfect for you. With your backlist and your willingness to price lower at times (and even free), I think this could work well for you.

    All just suggestions. Feel free to ignore. šŸ˜‰

    • Huw Thomas says :

      Hi Maddie.
      I’m sure you’re busy so no sweat there. But thank you for the advice – I’m not going to delete it!
      Always happy for any pointers on how to get more readers – and other people might find your ideas useful too. I’ll check out all your links and take action! šŸ˜‰

  2. Allen Watson says :

    Thanks for the post! Glad you’re going the beta route. Now, will the betas be reading pre or post editing. I ask because your beta readers will need to know what they are looking for. Are they editing (spelling, grammar, etc) or just giving story feedback.

    That said, I’m interested in helping. Check out my blog to see if you’d be comfortable with me.

    • Huw Thomas says :

      Hi Allen. Thanks for the reply – and for the sensible questions!
      I’m not looking for betas to edit. I’m hoping to give them a copy that has had a first edit – so may not be perfect but should be basically correct.
      What I really want is story feedback about what works and what doesn’t.
      I’ll check out your blog and be in touch again soon. Cheers, Huw

  3. Cathy Nobles says :

    I would love to be a beta reader for you. I do love thrillers, particularly those featuring archeology. I just finished Pagan’s Sphinx and enjoyed it immensely. The book could have used a more thorough proofreading, however. If you like, I can offer you input on the story as well as proofing for spelling (British, as much as possible), grammar and punctuation, with accommodation for “author’s license,” of course.

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