July 23, 2011

Indie Adventures – Part 4 – Beta Round 2 (or One More Time for Good Measure)

If you missed it, See Indie Adventures – Part 1 – The Starting LineIndie Adventures – Part 2 – Beta Readers or “How the Hell Do I Know If This Book is Any Good!?”, and Indie Adventures – Part 3 – Evaluating the Beta Read

Before we get into Beta Round 2, first a word from our sponsor.

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But seriously folks, I wrapped up Beta round 1 over 3 months ago, and only now am I getting Beta round 2 wrapped up.  Ouch. Very Ouch.

It’s not that I haven’t been writing; I have. My short story goals are going very well; it is just that I was not focused on the novel.

Today that changed. Why, you ask? Because I actually sat down, created an Excel spreadsheet, and now have a timeline with all the many things that need to happen to get this novel out to the world. Seeing that it is likely going to be September before I can get everything done has lit a fire under my arse.

So without further ado:

Beta Round 2 (or One More Time for Good Measure):

If you’ll recall from my ramblings that occurred from the evaluation of Beta round 1; my trusty beta readers found lots and lots of little corrections (and many of those correction didn’t overlap; in other words, everyone found unique issues), this sold me and doing it one more time.

My imperative is to release a novel that is well written and professional. Going the indie route makes this double important, the stigma of “self-publishing” not being completely gone.

So round 2 is more of the same. I used the same procedure (printed out manuscript, red pen, critique… see the other posts for more details) as Beta round 1.

This round was smaller, 2 instead of 5 (with one of the 2 being me, more on that in a bit).

I have a few observations from this round

  • One of my beta readers did not read (it was going to be 3). It is a good idea to plan for this kind of attrition; it’s going to happen.
  • Everyone, yet again, found unique issues.
  • Far fewer issues were found. I am very please with this, it is a sure sign that the manuscript is shaping up.
  • I have ended up feeling better (and more confident) about the book.

Like I said, I was one of the readers on this round, and it did me a world of good. First of all, it has been a least a year since I sat down and read it from start to finish (and yes, this book is taking me a very long time to write;  it’s my first, so I’m OK with that, there is a lot to learn, and a lot to get over). Not only do I have 6 readers telling me the loved the book, I did too. It may seem a bit strange, but enough time had passed for me to be more objective when I read it. As happens with books that I really like, I got to the point where I couldn’t put the book down (and yes, I knew exactly what was going to happen, and yet it was still hard to put down), and I was a bit sad when it was over. This novel is my kind of book. It may not work for everyone, but I am finally convinced that it works a novel and has an audience.

I am not saying it is a great book or that I am a fantastic writer. What I am saying is that, based on my Beta readers feedback and my own experience, it is a real-live readable novel with interesting characters, an interesting plot, and provides a satisfying emotional experience.

Maybe what I am saying more succinctly is that I have finally got past enough of my own crap to see and believe in the novel that I have written. And that is huge. And if that took an extra 6 months or a year to pull of it is easily worth it.

Next up: Bringing in the Pros

Don’t miss: Indie Adventures – Part 1 – The Starting LineIndie Adventures – Part 2 – Beta Readers or “How the Hell Do I Know If This Book is Any Good!?”, and Indie Adventures – Part 3 – Evaluating the Beta Read

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Robert J. McCarter

Robert J. McCarter is the author of more than ten novels and over a hundred short stories...... learn more

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