Hello all, beta reader gnome here.
I come to you kicking and screaming voluntarily in my hat and my feet firmly planted in the garden. Thankfully they have left my hands free so that I can pen this missive to you all. First, I’d like to address the question you all are inevitably asking and scheming about. No, you can’t become a beta reader by asking. I became a beta reader due to a blood pact I made with Will after we experienced an incident with a hippo and a hula hoop. I saved his life by sacrificing my hair, and this work was my reward. Yes, being a beta reader is work. While you all are racing to finish the book in 4 minutes, we have to meticulously pore over an unfinished and unpolished draft.
That is the actual first thing I’ll tell you all, what we actually do. I know it sounds all cool that I get the book earlier than everyone else, but really it’s only [some arbitrary percent] cool. Will’s a great writer, but sometimes he needs help to work out some rough patches in a draft. And you do that by getting feedback. That’s where I and my fellow readers come in. We read this rougher draft and we give feedback on it. There are no bloopers, sometimes Will just substitutes in a [scene goes here], and there’s even the occasional ape attack. That’s right, we sacrifice our first reads so you all can get a better one. Now don’t get me wrong, I love doing this. But there is some small part of me that wishes I could read that fresh, polished book like the rest of you.
So, let’s get into this feedback. My personal approach is to give both macro and micro feedback. I have chapter wrap-ups and whole book feedback, but I also note sections or moments that stick out to me in either a positive or negative way. Positive feedback is just as important as negative, Will needs to know what I liked as well as what didn’t work for me. I tend to focus on the overarching plot, character, and general story flow. I know you might be thinking “Wait! I don’t care about those things! What about the length of Lindon’s left pantaloons or how many times Lindon punches a clown!?” Don’t worry, there’s someone else for that! Will has multiple readers who cover all his bases, really, I guarantee you it’s all covered. However, that doesn’t mean we have absolute power over what Will ends up putting in the book. That brings me to the next topic.
In the end, Will is the final arbiter of what changes in the draft. He treats all of our feedback as suggestions and he should. Will shamelessly steals from Neil Gaiman and says, “A reader knows what they don’t like, but they don’t actually know how to fix it.” He’s right. At a certain point we just trust Will to know what’s best, and 99% of the time, he does. There were plenty of times where I suggested something that Will fixed in a wildly different and better fashion. We also don’t know everything behind the scenes either. Will doesn’t give us a “this is what this is alluding to” manual, so we’re as much in the dark about the future as the rest of you. We get these books one at a time. So if there is something in the interest of setting something up in future books, Will keeps it. In the end, Will knows what serves his stories best.
Finally, let’s get down to the real secrets. Where is Oz- Oh no! They’ve noticed my hands are still free! I can go on no longer. Before they get me, I hope this was an informative look into the beta reading process and I hope you all enjoy the book!
Bloodline out in print, ebook, and audiobook April 6th, merch up now on the Will Wight store! Preorder for ebook and audio live NOW, exclusively on Amazon and Audible! Also, don’t forget you can listen to all 8 currently released Cradle books on Audible Plus for the price of FREE WITH A MEMBERSHIP!
The next blog post will come from Will himself who’s currently rebuilding his own bodily infrastructure on the slopes of Mount Sinai. His return is imminent.
Bloodline Audio Excerpt
3/25/2021 09:22:58 am
Ugh I hate how smug the beta readers are. It's not work I'd kill to be one.
3/25/2021 09:28:34 am
I assumed I was the first one to comment. I guess not. You have beaten me. This one submits to your superior diligence at following Will.
3/25/2021 09:36:55 am
How would you know it’s not work if you aren’t one...?
Bloodline Audio Excerpt
3/25/2021 09:51:39 am
I'm not stupid I've done it for fics and my friends stuff I know what I'm talking about. Its easy.
3/25/2021 09:54:19 am
Since I can't responded to your comment below I'll do it here:
Bloodline Audio Excerpt
3/25/2021 09:59:37 am
What you think wills books are high lit or something. Theyre the same level as a well done fic and theyre just time watsers. I really like the books but lest not pretend we are reading something thats actually difficult to read or critiques.
3/25/2021 10:39:57 am
Oh I didn’t realize you were ignorant, my bad. Also there are a ton of typos in everything you write. Really hope no one took your beta reading seriously. Goodbye!
3/25/2021 10:28:58 am
Don't listen to him guys and gals. This is just Will in disguise. What better way to keep the beta readers in line then to show how lucky they are to have their "jobs".
The Sword Sage
3/25/2021 12:26:33 pm
If you're not a beta reader, just don't talk. If it was 'easy' to do it for your friends' fics, then you probably weren't giving very helpful feedback in the first place, and even if you were there's a large gap between the work your friends have done and that of a professional author. Being a beta reader is work, and to suggest otherwise with your lame excuse for 'experience' is just rude.
3/25/2021 12:37:40 pm
Take my upvote... er... uh... oh this isn’t Reddit... take my whole hearted approval. I’ve done some reading, won’t call it beta, more like gam ma but it does take some of the enjoyment out when you are actually looking for typos and errors. It’s nice getting an early copy, but I think most people underestimate how rough those drafts can be and how they aren’t usually formatted for easy reading. Ever read a 600 page word doc? It’s not pleasant.
Sword Immortal Darknorth
3/26/2021 03:09:08 pm
I beta read for an amazon author who I won't name, and one thing he does when he gets stuck writing is he writes about a random tentacle monster attack, which he deletes for the final amazon copy of the book.
3/25/2021 09:26:33 am
Well...I’m the first one here! I get it, no one cares. I gotta respect all the beta readers out there because it can be difficult work especially when all you want to do is rush through a book as fast as possible. (I occasionally beta read stuff so Ik firsthand) Even though this post being from a beta reader is fairly doubtful, I still have respect for this gnome and I suggest staying away from hula hoops from now on. I hope you enjoyed your break Will!
3/25/2021 09:27:25 am
Never mind, it looks like I’m the second one here.
3/26/2021 02:19:26 pm
What else would you expect when you're named Akura Lazy?
3/27/2021 10:38:54 am
At least I got here before you. But yes, I shouldn’t expect anything different. Too lazy by a couple minutes. XD
3/25/2021 09:31:21 am
I'd hate to be a beta reader. I appreciate those of you that do it.
3/25/2021 09:45:21 am
I'd like to say thanks for being a beta reader! In a way it sounds cool, but I've got to say, I like getting the finished product! I wouldn't want to sacrifice my first read.
Other Beta Reader
3/25/2021 09:56:33 am
I can confirm that other beta readers do other things. I was asked specifically to check micro stuff and avoid macro stuff.
3/25/2021 10:05:54 am
The Greater Good
3/25/2021 12:39:50 pm
3/26/2021 02:19:57 pm
The Greater Good
Micro Checker Checker
3/29/2021 02:29:45 am
3/25/2021 10:59:15 am
I got to be a beta reader for another author. It's such a wildly different experience than just reading a book straight through. 1/2 the fun of cradle is being part of the crazy fan theories and having more knowledge would make that difficult.
3/25/2021 01:57:27 pm
Hmmm? You guys don't know the future of the story? Will didn't tell you about OH GOD WILL HOW DID YOU GET IN HERE? IS THAT A KNIFE?!?!?!?!? Will listen, I didn't tell them. I DIDN'T TELL TH
3/25/2021 02:26:05 pm
Who let you out? You were supposed to be tied up and duck taped. And I know this is fake because Will would have used his scissors!
3/25/2021 02:31:15 pm
Beta reading is a lot of work and I love doing it. I couldn’t do it for your cradle series because it would kill the enjoyment of experiencing the story.
That’s so cool
3/25/2021 05:40:06 pm
If there’s one thing I want it’s beta readers complaining about the privilege of being a beta reader
3/26/2021 12:17:58 pm
If there's one thing I want it's people who don't understand sarcasm or hard work.
3/25/2021 06:36:21 pm
Would love to be a beta reader but if I can't that's fine to but one day I will be you just watch
3/25/2021 07:05:23 pm
Bloodline is out soon? AWESOME!!!
3/26/2021 04:54:44 am
If you think about it, beta readers probably wait just as long in between reading a book for the first time and reading the next book of the series for the first time. Their time-line is just shifted ahead, it isn't necessarily much shorter. They also get a rougher copy. I genuinely appreciate the sacrifice they make, but I don't envy them at all.
3/26/2021 08:20:18 am
Ironic that you say he's on Mount Sinai. Pesah (the holiday centered around the Jews leaving Egypt and getting the Torah) actually starts this Saturday. Hopefully I'll be able to read Bloodline when it comes out right away. If not....I'll kill myself. All jokes aside, I was NOT aware Will had been writing Bloodline these last few months and it's quite the pleasant surprise. The next few weeks are full of book releases from authors I love like Dakota Krout (Inflame; Ritualist Chronicles; April 1), Travis Bagwell (Hellion; Awaken Online; May 1), and now Will. I will say this: I am most excited for Will's book even though I've just learnt about it. Will if you see this, keep up the AMAZING work.
3/26/2021 08:59:00 am
Thank you to all the beta readers, you are appreciated.
3/26/2021 06:11:47 pm
Are there other steps in Will's process?
Garbagiel the Raccoon
3/26/2021 11:09:44 pm
Other than a typo or two (Which i see in trad pub all the time too) are you mostly referring to style things? Because I don't really see where your "lot of errors" are, and I edit professionally.
3/27/2021 01:29:12 pm
To be fair, Wintersteel has far fewer of these than most of the other books.
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Hey, what about those short stories you claim to have already written?
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