Calling for Chamber of Ghosts beta readers

Posted on March 13, 2013 (Subscribe to Blog)

I'm now ready to compile a list of beta readers for the forthcoming Chamber of Ghosts (Book 6 in the Island of Fog series). I have four names already and would like about ten in total. Interested? Please email me at keith@unearthlytales.com.

What is a beta reader?

As Wikipedia says, a beta reader is "a person who reads a written work, generally fiction, with what has been described as a critical eye, with the aim of improving grammar, spelling, characterization, and general style of a story prior to its release to the general public."

You don't have to be a professional proofreader or anything like that. I just need fans of the series who are willing to provide some feedback with regards to anything that seems slow, silly, unrealistic, too dark, clunky, confusing, and so on – basically drawing attention to anything you feel could or should be improved. Also, some of you might be adept at catching typos and grammatical issues, all of which would be gratefully received and dealt with.

When will the book be ready?

I'm working on a quick sweep to eradicate glaring typos so that your copy is as clean as can be at this stage. I still need a bit longer, but even if it's not completely ready, I'm aiming to be send it out to beta readers on Wednesday March 20th (a week from now).

How long do I have to read it?

The publication date is set in stone as Wednesday April 24th. I need about two weeks beforehand to iron out any final wrinkles and put things in order, and to prepare the book for publication. So that means I need comments and thoughts back by April 10th, or as early as possible. That gives you exactly three weeks.

Do I have to review the book afterward?

No, you don't have to, but ratings and reviews would be very welcome. The thing about beta reading is that the book may not be at its very best – hence why you're beta reading. So if you read it and find things that could be improved, you would need to take that into account if and when you rate and review it. For instance, you might think it's a 5-star rating but only if a particular bit is rewritten, otherwise it's only a 4-star rating. And for that reason, I would suggest holding off on your review until you've seen the very latest pre-release version, or at least the relevant updated text.

What I don't want to happen is for beta readers to have posted reviews saying, "It was great apart from this really daft bit," when in fact that really daft bit was edited out before publication. So if you do rate and review the book, please take last-minute changes into account.

Where and when should I post a review?

You'll be able to post a review on Goodreads weeks before launch date because I'll have a book page set up already.

It would be great if you could copy-paste your Goodreads review into Amazon as well. Ideally, if you had to choose, an Amazon review is the most important to me. The problem is that you won't be able to post a review on Amazon until the book is actually published, so be aware that I'll be hounding you on launch day to go ahead and post those reviews! :-)

Do you care what rating I give your book in Goodreads and Amazon?

Heck yeah! Ratings are very important, particularly in the early days. I do want you to be honest, though, so if you think the book is only worth 3 stars or lower, then fair enough – but then please don't rate it. No rating is better than a low rating! I'm hoping for 4- or 5-star ratings only, so if you think the book is worth it, then please shout it out.

In what format will the book be available for beta reading?

For beta purposes, Chamber of Ghosts will be available as a Kindle .mobi file or a standard .epub file that will work on Nook or other electronic readers. I'll also make it available in .pdf and .doc format. You'll need to let me know what format you prefer. It won't be available in print. That just takes too much time.

Will I get a copy of the book once it's finalized and published?

Yes, indeed – those who provide useful feedback and/or a review will receive a free copy of the final book in either electronic or print form.

When the book is published, will it be available in print at the same time as on Kindle?

Possibly. It may be a few days later. When the book is finished, it takes no more than an hour to get it from a Word document into ebook format and uploaded to Amazon's Kindle system. The book is then available shortly after, usually within half a day. But the print process is much more complicated. Still, I'm aiming to get it in print on the same day. Just don't count on it.

Why are you pretending to be somebody else and asking all these questions?

Well, because – well – splutter! Look, this is just a nice, clear way to lay out a post, all right? Besides, I often talk to myself. Some of my conversations are really interesting, you know. Why, just the other day...

Anyway, stay tuned. And email me if you're interested in beta reading. Just to recap:

  • March 20th – send book to beta readers.
  • April 10th – last call for feedback.
  • April 24th – publish to Kindle!

If you want to be a beta reader, don't forget to let me know what format you'd prefer the book in.

Thanks!

Comment by CANAAN on Thursday, March 14, 2013...

I would love to beta read! I'm very excited about this one.

Comment by KEITH ROBINSON on Thursday, March 14, 2013...

Thanks, Canaan. I've added you to the list. Let me know what format you'd prefer to read the book in. :-)

Comment by ADITYA SAKY on Thursday, March 14, 2013...

Please add me to the beta readers list. :-) If you do select me, I prefer the epub format. :-)

Comment by SHERRY BOSWELL on Thursday, March 14, 2013...

Excited to read your new baby. I would like it on my kindle. I think all you need is my email address, but if you need more, let me know.

Comment by DEVIN on Saturday, March 16, 2013...

I would love to beta read.

Comment by KEITH ROBINSON on Monday, March 18, 2013...

Got you on the list, Devin.

Comment by SARAH on Monday, March 18, 2013...

Hi Keith,
I would love to be a beta reader for Chamber of Ghosts!
The Island of Fog series is absolutely fabulous!
If you chose me to beta read I would need it in Kindle format.
Thank you so much,
Sarah

Comment by KEITH ROBINSON on Tuesday, March 19, 2013...

Thanks, Sarah — I've emailed you.

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