Being a Better Writer: What to do While Waiting for Feedback

Welcome back readers! I hope you had an enjoyable weekend! It was (mostly) a quiet one for me, though I did have family over to make enchiladas on Sunday (so nice and hot) which was an absolute blast.

So, what’s new with the news real quick? Well, we had the sale last week, and that went pretty well. Hopefully those of you who wanted to fill out your collections took the chance! Other news? Well, the first draft of Starforge is almost at 100,000 words, and once the latest chapter is done, I’ll be taking a day or two to blitz through the Beta 1 of Axtara – Banking and Finance and get that one step closer to publication. As well as take care of a few other things … But I’ll hold on news about those bit and bobs until they arrive.

So then, that’s the news and—wait, I almost forgot something. This post? It’s the last topic from Topic List #15. I’ve noted for a few weeks now that we’re running up to the end of this list, and that one should make ready their topic suggestions for list #16. That post will drop Wednesday, so definitely be ready!

Okay, that’s it! No more news! It’s time to talk writing! Or rather, what to do when you’ve stopped writing for a brief moment. Because today, readers, we’re tackling a long-requested reader topic and talking about what too do while waiting for that fickle beast of fickle beasts.

Feedback.

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News: Last Chance on Sale, Beta Wave 2 Invites, and Updates!

Hey readers! I’m still blitzing away at two projects at once (Starforge first draft and Axtara – Banking and Finance editing) so I’ll be keeping this a little short. As short as I can, anyway, while still keeping you all informed!

So first up: The Big 300 Sale! If you somehow missed the memo, everything I’ve published is on sale this week, at 50% off or more.

Oh, and this sale ends tomorrow. So your window for picking up a book or two at an absolute steal is shrinking. Not that I mind people paying $3.99 for Colony or $7.99 for Jungle, but right now you can grab both of those for a combined total of $6.

So yeah, tell your reading friends! There’s only a day and some change left before prices go back to normal! Sands, One Drink is completely free, and its sequel 99 cents. That’s a weekend worth of reading right there. And since another $3 would grab you the excellent Shadow of an Empire

Anyway, spread the word, since there’s only a short time left!

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Axtara – Banking and Finance Open Beta Call!

Those of you who know what this title means, you’re already ready. You know what to do. Those who do not know, read on!

So, Axtara – Banking and Finance is in Beta! For those not in the know, here you go: Beta Reading is the period of editing in which we’re looking for typos, misspellings, misplaced words, etc. Commas instead of periods. Grammatical errors. That kind of thing. Major, overarching issues like plot holes and the like were tidied up during the Alpha. Beta is for catching out of place words, a quotation mark that’s oriented the wrong way, etc etc.

Okay, so that’s what Beta is. Now, what’s the call?

Simple. I’m extending an open call to all those who would like to join in on the Beta. I’ve heard back from a few of my regular Beta Readers, some of which were too busy currently (and I don’t quite blame them with the whole quarantine going on), and some ready (those I didn’t hear back from at all, I hope things are OK and you’re just very busy).

But I would like to get more eyes on this run of Axtara. For a couple of reasons. First, the more eyes are on it, the more errors we’ll catch, leading to a cleaner final release. Second, more eyes make for swift work, and I’m already starting to get people who’ve not even read Axtara or any of my other works inquiring as to when it will be available. On the one hand, good, on the other hand, this means I need to hurry up and get it out. It seems I always underestimate editing time, so I’m already running up hard against my original goal (end of summer).

So, if you’ve ever Beta Read before, or you just really enjoy spotting typos and the like, let me know. Comment. Volunteer for Beta Reading. You’ll get your name in the book (if you want it), a complimentary digital copy (again, if you want it), and plus you’ll get to read Axtara early. And this book is awesome amounts of fun.

Again, let me know. We’ll get you lined up with a few trial chapters to check out (to see what you think about it) and then from there, the whole thing.

Again, overall, it’s pretty simple. Read book, note all typos or misspelled/misused/misplaced words as you enjoy reading Axtara‘s adventure. But as things ramp up to getting it out there, the Beta Read is a step that cannot be missed.

So like I said, if you’re interested, leave me note below.

Axtara – Banking and Finance Beta Call Going Out!

All right! It’s here! And not a moment too late, either! Axtara – Banking and Finance is ready for Beta 1!

I hope none of you forgot about this project with everything else that’s been going on (both on this site and off) because it’s an absolutely heart-warming little adventure. For those not in the know, Axtara is a Young Adult Fantasy following the titular Axtara: A dragoness who is at long last fulfilling a lifelong dream of opening and running her own bank. Of course, it may not be as easy nor as simple as she’d hoped. But then what is when one strikes out on their own?

Set in the same setting as A Game of Stakes, Axtara is a delightful little adventure that, in its current state weighs in at 122,800 words. So not a massive tome by any sense of scale (though probably a bit long for most YA novels, but then again it’s me, so what did anyone expect?), but certainly a good little weekend read.

Anyway, if you’ve been a prior Beta Reader in the past, expect an e-mail in your inbox shortly. If you are on the Beta Reader list but were also an Alpha Reader, then I’ll be dropping you a different e-mail saying that you are also welcome to participate, but I’d like to stagger it a little toward a Beta 2, since you were just reading it. So sort of a second wave.

Same also goes, by the way, for those of you who have never Beta Read before but would like to volunteer to be on the list. Contact me for details (and be sure you know that it is a commitment) if the idea of reading through and looking for typos and misplaces words is something you’d enjoy!

And uh … that’s it! Progress continues on Starforge, but that’s really for another post. This one is all about Axtara!

So prior Beta Readers, check your inbox! The invite should be there soon!

“A Trial for a Dragon” Moves into Beta!

Hello readers! I’ve got news! One specific bit of news, to be precise. A Trial for a Dragon is moving from Alpha to Beta!

Plot holes and missteps have been cleaned up. Segments rewritten, rephrased, or even in some cases cut. And with a ticking clock hanging above it, it’s time for the next phase.

Beta Reading! As before, those of you that have been prior Beta Readers should watch your inboxes, as I’ll be sending you invitations to participate shortly after this goes live. Those of you that are interested in being Beta Readers for the first time, leave a comment and I’ll get in touch with you.

Tomorrow I’ll have a new Quarantine Chat post, just so I’m not totally absent from the site (sorry, been editing).

Again, I know this isn’t much of a post. Just kind of working to keep all the plates spinning. Check your inboxes, Beta Team!

And with that, I’ve got writing to do on the next episode of Fireteam Freelance!

The Jungle Beta Begins!

Oh yeah. You’ve been waiting for this one. The moment has finally come.

Beta Reader invites for Jungle have just gone out.

That’s right. It’s here. It’s happening. We’re close baby. So very close. Jungle is almost upon us!

Which means that if you’ve really been holding out on reading Colony, now is your time. Grab a copy! Be ready when Jungle hits!

In the weeks ahead, meanwhile, look forward to the cover reveal and then the release date!

“A Game of Stakes” Beta Call!

Sorry this is a bit late, but the Beta Call for A Game of Stakes has been sent out … almost a week ago? Crud, yes, it was a week ago. If you’ve been a Beta Reader in the past, check your e-mail inbox! I’m going to try and have this one polished up by this weekend, next at the latest to get it in early before the submission deadline.

Check you inboxes. That’s all I’ve got today!

Shadow of an Empire Beta Call!

I know I said there would be a news post on Tuesday. And then that … got derailed by a lot of work. As did Wednesday, as I was half-dead from lack of sleep and honestly didn’t trust myself to rub two sentences together.

But after a long, hibernation-like sleep, I am ready to deliver the news that, you’ve all guessed by now from the title. Shadow of an Empire is going into Beta! Which means it’s time for the Beta Reader Call!

See, the Alpha Readers are done with Shadow, and I’m simply catching up with their changes and revisions, which I should be done with in another day or so.

They liked it. Quite a bit. Suffice it to say, it’s a pretty wild adventure, the Alpha Readers loved the universe, magic, and setting, and they were quiet pleased with everything that went down. No major changes were needed, thankfully, though as you would expect, there were a number of minor changes, tweaks, and small sections where things were polished a bit. All in all though, it was a pretty clean draft.

But all that is bringing me back around to the point. The point, readers, is that it’s time for the Beta Reader Call! That’s right, Shadow is about ready for the Beta Read, which means I’m looking for some Beta Readers!

Those of you who have Beta Read before (you know who you are) are automatic shoe-ins. I should still have your contact information in my master reader file, so even if you don’t leave a comment, you should be getting an e-mail in the next few days as Shadow breaks out of Alpha.

Now, what about those of you who before have not done Beta Reading but are looking to hop in? Wondering what Beta Reading is? Well, it’s pretty simple: It’s typo and error hunting. The plot’s been polished, the paragraphs keyed in. Beta reading is about finding misplaces apostrophes, accidental capitals, misspelled words … all the nitty-gritty detail stuff. Typos, functional errors, misplaced letters, double-punctuation … all that jazz.

Once that’s done, Shadow of an Empire goes into the copyedit … and from there … it gets listed and gains a release date, and I can start working on The Dusk Guard: Hunter/Hunted.

So, interested in being a Beta Reader, former or new? Drop a line or a comment. It’s time to get this book out!

Shadow of an Empire Update

Hey readers! Dropping a small news update here for Friday afternoon to keep you updated on Shadow of an Empire‘s Alpha progress!

And the update is … It’s going well! I’m about halfway through cleaning up miscellaneous errors and fixing little plot niggles that slipped through, and so far the feedback from the Alpha Readers seems to be that it’s a fantastic story with fascinating characters, a cool setting, unique magic system, and fun plot. With, you know, minor Alpha stuff to fix here and there, which is the point of an Alpha after all. Making sure all the numbers add up, that there aren’t any lingering loose ends, etc etc.

Crud, two of them finished it in the first week. I’m playing catch up with the changes!

Bottom line, though, is that the Alpha is going well and it doesn’t appear that there will be a third Alpha, which means … Yes, Shadow of an Empire will be moving into Beta! Which, naturally, means that there will be openings for Beta Readers soon. Interested? Let me know. If you’re a prior Beta Reader, especially, as you guys are basically instant welcomes.

So, what does this mean in the long run? Well … it means that a release could come as early as, oh … Mid-April! No promises, but … that’s the goal!

Anyway, back to it! I need to get a bunch of chapters done today so I can get this into Beta!

Colony Beta Call!

It’s time.

No, I’m not kidding. It really is.

Colony is officially in Beta! See? It’s listed as such on the current projects page and everything.

And this means … it’s time for a Beta call.

So, how does this work? What’s a Beta call? Quite simple really. I’m looking for grammar fanatics.

See a Beta Read is the second phase of getting novel ready for publication, the phase in which you’re looking for doubled apostrophe’s, misspelled words (or homophones), extra spaces … the works. This is proofreading time. Missing quote mark? Gotta find it. Accidental tab? Gotta find it. Word “autocorrected” something it shouldn’t have? Gotta find it!

And fix all of it, so that the final product is a polished, shining piece of literary might! Or weight. Take your pick. Colony is 334,000 words long, so that’s pretty heavy.

Either way, if this sounds interesting to you, like the kind of thing you’d like to spend your time doing, then comment below with your reasoning.

The catch? Well, this is a dedicated thing. I’ll be counting on you to be able to read 334,000 words worth of Sci-Fi Epic in a timely manner so I can release the book on time (current release window is end of October). And it definitely helps if you’ve read my work.

The reward? Well, all participating Alpha and Beta readers get a gift copy of the book on release (boo-yah!) to either keep for themselves or pass along to someone else. You’ll be thanked in the acknowledgements (either by name or by internet handle). Youalso do get the cool privilege of reading a juggernaut of a story before it actually comes out … which is pretty sweet. It’s like seeing a movie before anyone else!

Anyway, if you’ve got the time for it, leave a comment below with some details!