Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What do puppies and Beta readers have in common?

The answer to that question is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. However, pictures of cute puppies are much more appealing than...say...a picture of yours truly. Also, most of you have seen the cover of my upcoming release, DEAD: Snapshot--Leeds, England. This is the second stand-alone title that I have released set in my DEAD world and I am actually very happy with this spin-off series.

Speaking of my Snapshot series, I am dipping my toes in a new (to me) promo site:

I will be submitting UnCivil War: A Modern Day Race War in the United States, and if it goes well, then I will give DEAD: Snapshot--Portland, Oregon a spin.

I will probably do three or four of these a year for the foreseeable future. What I won't do is write a 13th book in the DEAD series. Book 12, DEAD: End (coming this October) is the conclusion. I have more respect for the fans of my series than to pad it and water it down after you read what you expect to be the finale. This is NOT a "The Who" farewell tour. 

Yes, I write for a living, and that makes you, the wonderful people who part with some of your hard-earned money to buy my books, my employers. I do work for you. That is why I will probably have a short series of a few books that cover the story of what happened to Kevin and Catie in that 10-year interim. And then there are the DEAD: Snapshot--{insert town here} titles. At present, they are designed to be stand alone books. That is not to say that one or two offerings won't span a two or (at most) three book arc. Also, I will eventually be doing one for each of the branches of the United States Armed Forces.

That said, on to my interview with my Beta Reader, Jeff. I did things different this time, and I wanted the responses from a few of my wonderful Beta readers about the process. So, without further delay.

1. What do you like about being a Beta Reader (maybe not just for me, but for others as well).

I would say it’s the feeling of helping out and being a part of something bigger then one’s normal life.

2. For somebody seeing an announcement for being a Beta Reader, help demystify the situation for them and tell them what it is all about.  

When being a beta reader it basically means 3 things. 1st the author is looking to have you basically proof read it but for more than grammar or spelling mistakes but also to look for actual character errors or reference errors. 2nd is overall feel of the book. Basically you are noting any issues you have with the flow of the book. Is there something you feel is wrong or is it what you expected. The toughest part is criticizing the book but at the same time the author truly wants to hear the good and bad. Sometimes a change is needed and this is how it is found and fixed. And last up is to write a review of the book upon release, this is what helps the author to get the initial push off. Overall it can be fun and at the same time you get to make a difference in the books final outcome. 

3. I did things different with this title. I sent a single chapter at a time every day or every other day. Then, I packaged up each third AFTER making the fixes or addressing issues raised by some of the Beta Readers. What were the positives and negatives of this method versus sending an entire project at once? 

On the positive side is that you only have to focus on 9 or 10 pages. So one fast read and then a second slow read is easily accomplished. On the negative-It sucks when you get into it and your at the end a few pages later and end up saying dammit Todd just 1 more page!!!

4. Do you prefer this “new” method of Beta reading, or would you rather receive the entire project at once? 

I think it will weed out the “free book beta readers” . My only concern would be it took 6 chapters to get any semblance of who is the main characters and where the story is going. The other rough side is you are into a month long project vs a weekend project. HOWEVER I think the fact that a author could basically rewrite sections of the book at any point without the entire book already having been written, Gives the author much more flexibility for change prior to the final cut.

5. What can an author do to entice more people to become Beta Readers? 

Not sure why you have problems here. Maybe we need to make A Fan Page on FB. I know that a lot of authors have a core group of beta readers that they use and it is hard to get into the group. So I would guess it’s more of a retention issue that may need to be addressed. Once you get a group built you're happy with do what you can to keep them.

6. Now, we talk about DEAD: Snapshot—Leeds, England. If there was one reason to grab this book, what would it be? 

Well the obvious is its related to the DEAD series and its ZOMBIE’S

7. Without giving away any serious spoilers, what scene stood out for you? 

Ask me at the end of the story.

IF I WAS allowed to change any 1 thing in this book. I would remove the rape scene from the book. It is way too early in the story and instantly makes the story Brutal. I feel you could have had the rape happen prior to our jump into the story or leave it out and let her commit suicide from the death of the family. I’m seriously afraid of you turning people off that early in the story.

8. What makes the DEAD series stand out from other zombie series? 

It’s not a 1 book wonder it’s a series. Series means the ability to have characters we get to know. The dead series stays in the realm of “this could happen” not that military attitude or the “its only zombies”. A good Apocalyptic story must involve the degradation of man also as well as the good in man.It must have the ability of survival with a possible decent outcome otherwise what is the point.

9. The DEAD: Snapshot—{insert town here} series is a spinoff with each book being a standalone story set in a specific location. My hope is to capture the feel of the location and make the reader feel like they are “on location”. I bring up Google Earth and go down to the street level view as I write to try and bring the location in as a secondary character.  How likely are you to pop over to Google Earth to check out a strange and unfamiliar locale just to get a feel for where the adventure is taking place? Or does the location not really matter? 

Yes and No. I wouldn’t likely google it but at the same time if I knew the area I would be disappointed if it wasn’t right.

10. Should I make it a point to invite the readers to utilize Google Earth in my introduction? 

Absolutely any interaction with the audience is always good

12. Last question: You are being asked to determine which of my main characters survives. Any pressure? 

Nope. Simon all the way so far

1 comment:

  1. Puppy is.... ridiculously cute... cannot.... resist... typing like.... Shatner talks.....