It’s That Time Again: Beta Begging Time


Hello, gentle viewers! I interrupt our month of Buffyversary posts for purely selfish reasons today. (But at least I’m honest about it, right? Right.)

I’m in the process of finishing the first round of edits on a new novel (working title: Storm in a Teacup), and I’d love to have some eyes on it. Since the last beta begging blog post worked so splendidly in August, I thought I’d try again.

Here’s some basics about the novel in question:

Genre: Adult urban fantasy
Length: 91,400 words (415 pages in MS Word)
Shorty Synopsis: In a world where killing monsters literally restores balance to the cosmos, demon hunter Ayala Storme is asked to investigate a rash of missing women. She instead discovers a new race of half-human hellspawn created by demons to tip the scales against humanity. Ayala banked on these creatures existing only for evil, but when one of them saves her life, she’s confronted with the one thing she never expected from demons: free will. Sworn to defend human life, Ayala faces censure and execution if she decides her vow includes protecting the creatures she’s been ordered to kill.
Squidgy Salutes: This book contains language, gore, violence, sexual situations, and the occasional fart joke. You’ve been warned.
My Style: If you were not one of my little circle of betas back in August, my style of urban fantasy tends to be rather dark, gritty, and quirky. I’m an adherent to Our Sensei Joss Whedon‘s admonition, “Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.”Β 

Here’s the nitty gritty on what YOU would do if interested:

  • Read the book.
  • Write a few paragraphs about your general impressions (and email them to me).
  • Answer no more than five follow-up questions.

That’s it. There is one little however, however. I’ve found that having both parties in accord for this sort of thing helps tremendously. Way back when, I used to send out my early work to whoever was like, “Sure, I’ll read it!” only to never hear from them again. (And, I’ll admit, I’ve done the same a couple of times.) That sort of process is just a teensy bit less than helpful. So here’s what I ask from my beta readers:

  • Respond within two weeks.

That’s all, really. I ask this for a couple reasons. First, I know that if I read a third of a book, put it down for two months, come back to it, read a few chapters, and put it down again, I won’t have a fresh idea of what my overall impressions were. Doing it within a set timeframe keeps those initial thoughts fresh and coherent. Second, I do eventually plan to, you know, incorporate the feedback into my next round of revisions. And to do that, I kind of have to have it.

I plan to have the draft ready to go to betas by Thursday night (that’s 4 April, in case you were wondering). So I would be asking folks to read and respond by 18 April so I can get a nice, polished draft to my agent by the first of May. Sound good?


There IS something for you in all this. If you beta for me, you get:

  • My undying love and devotion.
  • I’ll do a super-special Follow Friday Beta Edition on Twitter.
  • A superstar beta blog post in which I sing your praises, link mashup style.
  • You get an acknowledgement in the book if it sees the light of publication.
  • You get to be some of the first eyes to see this story, which had to wait four years in the back of my head to get on paper!

If you’re interested, send me an email: emmiemears [at] gmail [dot] com! You can express interest in the comments, of course, but please email, or I’ll forget.

PS: If you were one of my betas back in August and want to help me out again, you are more than welcome, for you are awesome. And I still love you. Because my love is undying.

UPDATE: Well, shucks. Y’all are quick. Very, very quick. Due to rather overwhelming response, I’ve somehow found myself swimming in beta readers. I might need to bake you some cookies. Thank you! If you are reading this update and gnashing your teeth because you missed the window, fear not. There shall be more books in the future.


About Emmie Mears

Saving the world from brooding, one self-actualized vampire at a time.

Posted on March 31, 2013, in writing process and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. This sounds like another great project, Emmie. It is great to see you on such a roll. πŸ™‚

  2. Ooh, sounds amazing! I’m sorry I can’t beta read for you, but I do hope I’ll get a chance to read it some day. πŸ™‚

    • Also: Ugh, I HATE when people say they’ll read it and then don’t! I don’t care if you’re not interested, but don’t pretend you are. Gets my goat, I tells ya. -_-

      • That was ultimately why I started requesting that people agree to a timeframe in advance. Better for everyone involved. Also, my first books were kind of shit, so I expect that was part of the reason few people ever got feedback returned to me. πŸ™‚

      • Could be… I’d rather someone tell me when and where they lost interest than just never say anything, though. At least that’s helpful.

      • Yeah, and I think that EVERYONE needs someone (preferably someone who knows writing) early on in their career to read an entire manuscript and offer feedback. It’s invaluable.

      • Yep. Preferably from someone who reads their genre… Most of my problem is well-meaning family who offer to help and then go, “oh, you mean Fantasy like magic? Yeah… No.”

      • Yeah. Try! It’s a forum to help writers find betas/critique partners.

      • Oh, nice! I think I’ve found a couple of potentials on Ladies Who Critique, but I’ll keep that one in mind, thank you!

  3. Yay, Emmy! I’m not surprised there was an instant lineup to be your beta … but save some of those cookies for your sideline cheerleaders too, okay? *waving pompoms*

  4. Man, sad to’ve missed out on this. It’s kind of my thing. Cool that you got such a great response, though, and congrats on (almost) finishing the draft…

  5. So bummed I missed the window. This book and I were made for each other because “Storm in a Teacup” is my favorite song on the Chili Peppers’ Stadium Arcadium album. I KNOW, RIGHT? Next time I shall respond with lightning speed or like greased lightning or in some similiar form of fast.

  6. Kourtney Heintz

    I like that you lay down the requirements and keep it simple for the betas. Very cool. Glad you got your beta fill. πŸ™‚

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