Request for Beta Readers

I’m currently working on a story that I’m very excited about; the working title is The Dreams of Andrew Rhodes (but that may change).  It began as a story story a few years ago and has grown and grown and now looks like it’s becoming a novella or short novel, at least.

In my story, a poor friendless gravedigger in 1919 -- Andrew Rhodes -- is befriended by a strange man who has a particular craving for souls but needs the gravedigger to help provide the best souls for him.  In exchange, the stranger will provide Andrew with everything he desires: limitless whiskey, a home and family, and the woman he adores.  But the price may be more than Andrew is willing to pay.

There is gore, and horror, and weirdness.  The themes are abusive relationships and addiction.

I hope to have my rough draft completed before Oct 31 (since National Novel Writing Month begins the next day and I already have another project lined up for November).  Then in December, I’ll go through the rough draft and fix up the prose so that it’ll be ready to send out to beta readers in January.

Your mission, should you accept, is to be my beta reader, i.e. you will read this early draft and provide written feedback (in the form of an email).  I may have a very short list of questions, but it won’t be like a literature class and your work will not be graded.  You can even ignore my questions entirely and just tell me what you thought.  I will want a little more than merely, “It was good,” or “This was a waste of my life,” however. Also, it’s not about finding typos, although any you report will be appreciated.

What I’m asking is that you provide me with thoughtful honest reflections about what you liked and disliked about the novel, as a reader.  I will then use that feedback to revise the novel.

If you agree to help me, here are the conditions:

  • I can provide the manuscript to you during the first week of January, either as an PDF email attachment, or I can send you a printed out copy via snail-mail.
    • If you read it as a PDF, please do not use electronic annotations on the PDF.  Please collect your feedback in a separate file (e.g. an email).  You can say things like, “On page 47, I didn’t understand why Andrew …”
    • If you read it as a old-school hard copy, you can use a colored pencil or pen (not black ink) to write directly on the actual manuscript, and longer notes you can write on the backs of the pages.  Please just make your handwriting legible.  Or you can send your feedback by email, as above.
    • I can send it as a PDF and you print it out, or I will print it out for you and snail-mail it.
    • If you use a print-out, I will reimburse you (via Paypal) for the postage to snail-mail it to me.
  • I ask that you take no more than 30 days to read the story, write your feedback, and return the feedback to me.
    • If I don't get your feedback in time, (obviously) it won't help me revise the book and you won't get your free copy.
  • In exchange for your time and effort, I will:
    • acknowledge you in the book (unless you ask me not to, for any reason)
    • provide you with a free final version, which will be an ebook via Amazon Kindle.
    • if I do have hard-copies printed (not currently planned, but not impossible), I will send you a free autographed copy.

If you're interested, please email me to volunteer.

This site was last updated on Thu 2 Nov 2017.

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