A bit of an overview: Beta readers are voluteers who provide feedback on the characters, character development, plot, world building, and development of the story. Then say when something works for them, or doesn't work, and why or why not. Beta readers are not (not!) editors or proofreaders! They're not responsible for correcting grammar, typos, etc., and they should get as clean a copy to work with as possible. Mind you, every writer does it differently, but the above are the basics that are pretty much understood.
The process itself also varies from writer to writer. After much thought and experimentation, here's what I've come up with for how I do it It's pretty straight-forward:
Please review the synopses below, and if you are interested in being on my Beta Reader team, please email me at writer1 (at) alliemccormack (dot-com), or you can privately message me on Facebook or Twitter and let me know which manuscript you're interested in.
If you are new to beta reading and not sure how it works, the last section on this page gives details and some youtube vlogs (vlog = video blog) by Jenna Moreci, that I use for my model for the process.
I've also just found this FABULOUS blog post on What is Not Required of a Beta Reader... PLEASE read, it'll give you a really good idea of what you don't have to do, no matter who you read for! As the author points out, you are a *volunteer* ...don't let anyone take advantage of you.
There are a few steamy/explicit adult scenes in each book, appropriate to the story line and the development of the romance; make no mistake, however! I am not writing erotica nor am I writing "sweet" with the bedroom door shut.
(I like to stress the "appropriate" part)
I'm working on a three-book light paranormal romance series, Wishes & Dreams. My primary desire is for my stories to be romantic, charming and with lots of humorous moments. My heroes and heroines (as well as an antagonist) include Djinn (genies) and shapeshifters. For the most part the world-building, especially for the Djinn, I've tried to make uniquely my own; i.e., not based off of Disney or Barbara Eden or anyone else's. I've incorporated a lot of cultural touches from my experiences in the Middle East, as noted in the Sons of the Desert section above, again for some color and flavor :)
A CAT FOR TROY
third in the series
Veterinarian Troy Shelton has no idea what he's letting himself in for when he rescues a friend's cat from the shelter after a dog attack. The friendly but demanding calico soon has Troy and his pregnant collie wrapped around her furry paw. But strange things begin happening in Troy's home when he was away, and he could almost think someone else was living there besides him.
Torn and hurting, Katerina appreciates Troy's gentle care. She also appreciates his strong form and handsome face as much as the way he cuddles her. She's trapped in her cat form until her wounds heal, but once she's well again she finds herself oddly reluctant to resume her human form and life away from Troy. But someone else is interested in Troy, and that someone else has already tried to kill Cat once.
WHEN DARKNESS FALLS is a sweeping fantasy romance set in a medieval middle eastern city (think of Arabian Nights or Kismet). There are paranormal elements: vampires, djinns, shapeshifters, and others. It's a trilogy; that is, one major story arc separated into three parts/books (think Lord of the Rings). It's not a traditional romance in the sense that the hero and heroine do not meet immediately (but when they do, all hell breaks loose!), but the romance is nonetheless the main focus of the book, even if it does take a long time to build up to it. But I do need to make this distinction so that the reader does not have the expectation of the meeting and romance immediately. These are not stand-alone novels; It's my intention to sell the 3 books as a boxed set, not individually (at least in digital format).
Book 1: The Palace
Book 2: The Dark Lord
Book 3: The Prophecy
Ruled by a gracious, wise Sultana, the humans of the great desert city of Al Khair dwell in uneasy peace with the vampires and demons who claim the lands as their ancestral homelands under the leadership of an ancient, powerful vampire. Their shaky truce becomes strained when a young human woman arrives from distant lands.
Orphaned since childhood and outcast, Alyssa joins a caravan to the fabled Al Khair where she seeks only to make a new life for herself. A life that quickly becomes complicated when she draws the attention of the Dark Lord himself.
A thousand years ago, Lord Damien permitted the humans to build their city. When he senses a new, immensely powerful magical being in the land, Damien suspects the humans of plotting to overthrow him. Furious, he searches for the source of this power, but he cannot stop thinking of the young woman in the tower who had seen through the glamour spell that cloaks him from humans. When he discovers that Alyssa is the mysterious being he has been seeking, his determination to have her for his own threatens to pit the two races, human and vampire, against each other in all-out war.
MY BETA READER QUESTIONNAIRE
These are the 9 questions I send for each chapter*:
1. What are your initial thoughts and impressions after reading this chapter?
2. What are your thoughts on the hero and/or heroine?
3. Other characters in the chapter, if any: How do they come across to you?
4. Scenes in the chapter: Does each scene work? Do you understand what is happening?
5. World Building: Does it work for you? Why or why not? Do you get a sense of time and place?
6. Were any parts confusing or inconsistent?
7. On a scale of 1-5, how much did you enjoy the chapter?
8. On a scale of 1-5, how eager are you to read the next chapter?
9. Do you have any predictions, i.e., guesses as to what will happen next or in the future? (optional... I leave this in because you all seem to like it so much, and it tickles me to see your predictions)
*The questions are a little different for When Darkness Falls, since there are fantasy elements & world-building involved
NEW TO BETA READING?
Okay, Jenna Moreci is my goddess of the Beta Reader process! She has a series of youtube vlogs on beta readers. It's from these that I'm basing my own beta reader process. Here's a comprehensive list of her vlogs on the subject. These are really fun to watch as well as informative, she's just fabulous! And yes! I will be using the specific questions she suggests! She'd done some older vlogs, but has started a new, more updated set of vlogs on the topic, the newest first:
Then these two older ones, which are also well worth watching:
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