Dandelion Boys Beta Reading

Would you like to read DANDELION BOYS months before everyone else and also help me make the story even better before release? Read on!

Regarding the Holidays: please don’t stress about beta reading during the Holidays. I’m starting the beta now, and then whoever wants to get some reading in before/during the Holidays can do so if they have the time/energy, but I fully anticipate that reading will be slow throughout December, and that some people might get very little done until January. That’s fine! December is already so stressful, I definitely don’t want to add on more obligations for anybody!

The purpose of beta reading

Beta reading is the process that comes after the novel has been fully drafted. The process lets me ‘test’ the almost finished novel on a small group of readers to see how the story is received. The feedback given by beta readers can help point me to where the story might be slow or dragging, which scenes feel redundant, or even if parts of it make no sense. Twenty eyes are way more efficient than two! Often, beta readers help me spot issues with the story I haven’t noticed that I can then iron out before official release.

What is expected of me as a beta reader?

If you’re interested in signing up but you’re worried about the workload, don’t be! Over the years I’ve made an effort to streamline the process to make it less work for everyone. Since beta readers don’t get paid, I want the process to be as enjoyable and smooth as possible. In exchange for you getting to read the story early, all I want is your honest feedback, and I really mean honest! If you feel like a part of the story doesn’t work well, tell me! Of course, don’t go searching for problems where there are none (you’re allowed to say there’s nothing wrong with a chapter!), but the beta process is meant to help me identiy problems with the story, so definitely don’t feel like you need to only tell me the good stuff, although it is also useful to know when I’ve done something right.

I don’t expect you to write essays worth of feedback (although if that’s fun for you, go ahead!). So long as you don’t respond to every single question with one-word answers, you’re good! All I ask is that you can say yes to both of these statements:

  • you think you’ll be able to read a full length novel in a maximum of 3 months.
  • you consider yourself generally able to describe how certain parts of a story made you feel, and why. Again, not expecting essays. 1-2 sentence answers are just fine, and some questions do only require one-word answers.

    Please note: The beta manuscript is not an ARC. The beta manuscript is unfinished and still needs final edits. Please refrain from rating the beta manuscript on Amazon or goodreads, since you won’t be rating the final story, so ratings based on the beta draft risks giving future readers a wrong or skewed idea of the book, since the story betas read and the story ‘ordinary’ readers read will not be exactly the same.

So what exactly will happen once I’ve signed up?

I recently found a couple websites with an interface that is supposed to help authors streamline their beta process. I’m using two different websites simultaneously, since each site only allows for 3 readers to sign up. These websites allow authors to upload their manuscripts, and for readers to give feedback directly through those sites. Now, these sites are both very new, and I have not tested them, so if they turn out to be rubbish, I’m going to move the manuscript back over to google docs with questionnaires like last year. So please make sure that you have an email you can access google drive/docs files with.
Once you’ve signed up and the reading process starts, I’ll contact you with information about how to access the manuscript. Then you can start reading completely at your own pace! Once you’ve read a chapter, there’ll be a short questionnaire with questions related to the chapter you just read. I’ll probably ask you what the pacing felt like (fast or slow), if you noticed any errors or plot holes, if the end of the chapter made you want to keep reading etc. Please finish each questionnaire before continuing, since I don’t want your feedback to potentially be influenced by something you read in the following chapter. Rinse and repeat until you reach the end of the story! Beta will probably end sometime in March.

What if I get 3 chapters in and really hate the story? What if the beta is about to end and I still have 10 chapters left? Or what if a cryptid breaks into my home in the middle of the night and steals my wifi so I can’t finish reading?

You are NOT obligated to finish the story!

If you for any reason regret signing up to beta read or don’t feel like finishing, that’s fine! Just tell me that you’d like to be taken off the reading list so that someone else can have your spot. I won’t ask you your reason for quitting. If you get halfway into the story and decide you’re just not having fun, that’s perfectly okay! Not every story is a perfect fit for everyone. So long as you let me know you’d like to be taken off the list, all is well!
If we reach the end of the beta period and you still haven’t finished reading, that’s also fine. The feedback you managed to provide is still going to be super useful, and you’ll be able to finish reading once the story is done. Don’t sweat it!

Sometimes, a beta reader will get 2 chapters into the story and then stop responding. In those cases, if a reader is unresponsive, I will wait 2 weeks before kicking that reader so another can take their place.

That said, please reconsider signing up to beta read if you already know ahead of time that you likely won’t have time to finish it. It is important to me that as many readers as possible finish the story because their feedback on the story arc as a whole is super valuable (like the way the characters evolve from the beginning to the end). But if you need to take a sudden and temporary break from reading and you don’t expect to be away for a month, just message me and I’ll reserve your spot!

Since I’m a little pressed on time, I can’t make any promises, but I hope to be able to offer some extra rewards to beta readers in return for helping me out with DANDELION BOYS. I don’t know what that’s going to be yet, but I’ll let you know once I know! Of course, as always, every beta reader who makes it at least halfway through the manuscript will be gifted a free e-book of the finished story upon official release.

Now, for the serious bit
By signing up to beta read DANDELION BOYS, you must agree to not publicly talk about or share any part of the story with anybody prior to the book’s official release. This includes hints to plot or characters not shared online by me, information about the story not shared online by me, quotes, page excerpts, downloads, links etc.

As always, if you have any questions about the beta process or anything else, don’t hesitate to send an email to zayafeli@gmail.com and I’ll help you out! Betas will be contacted within a week. Reading will likely begin in mid-December.