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I'm ahead of schedule. That means I'll have time for a Developmental Beta Read at the end of march... possibly two.

I'd like to give the freebie to someone who writes Epic Fantasy or Science Fiction, who is interested in trying out my service.

Post here with any questions or PM me to request a slot.

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Tweaked my prices a little. This won't affect current customers, once you hire me I keep you at that rate as long as I can afford to. I might have to raise yours someday, but not soon, and not without plenty of notice.

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Changed the name of my beta reads to Developmental Beta. I think that name is more in line with the service.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Beta Reading (Do You Write Epic Fantasy Series?)
« on: February 13, 2018, 11:55:23 AM »
Do you write great epic fantasy? Do you write in a series?
Hire me for your newest book, and I'll get caught up on the others for free.

Why? Because series are what I like to read and because consistent authors are consistent clients.
If you have an especially long series, I might have to charge something... but lets talk.

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Unrelated:

I'm still considering removing all other services and focusing on beta reads.

I might change the name of the "Beta Reading" service, to "Manuscript Critique."  I have been told that's a more accurate name for what I do. And it would more accurately reflect how much work I put into it.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Do you read your own novels?
« on: February 06, 2018, 07:25:28 PM »
Ouch. Yes, I reread with a red pen. I made the mistake of cracking one open this morning and I'm drowning in red ink.

But the old stuff, short stories and poems I wrote ten years ago... I'm comfortable leaving that be, and can read it without the pen.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Beta Reading Great Epic Fantasy
« on: February 06, 2018, 06:47:32 PM »
He really did make my book better and I'm very grateful. I'm off to make a few changes.

BUT, Dustin, dude, you really have to make that separate webpage for your beta/editing service. I had to do a search for this thread so I could leave a testimonial.

Lol, yes my website is a travesty and has no links at all to my editing service. I will consider myself on-notice, and will get a real webpage asap. I may have to quote a few lines from your testimonial for said webpage.  ;D


And thanks again, for saying nice things in my thread and for making the extra effort to find it.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Unconventional epic fantasy - destined to fail?
« on: February 06, 2018, 05:46:36 AM »
I want to start the book as the usual epic quest fantasy with a dashing young hero. Over the course of the book I want to make the hero's nemesis seem as likable as the hero, and his actions as justifiable, so that the nemesis's victory would seem deserving.

Brandon Sanderson goes into detail about this when he lectures about reader expectations. (Look up his creative writing class on youtube.) He had a friend who wrote this exact kind of fantasy plot, and the book did very poorly. In the class, he breaks down why it did poorly. Even though it was well written.

The main problem with this, is that you are setting reader expectations in the beginning of the book.  So people who would love a subversive, twist ending will be put off by the traditional beginning, and will not read far enough to get to the twist. People who were hooked at the beginning will reach your subversive ending and feel like they were misled.

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I'm not jumping into this pool.
I'm just going to dip my toe in long enough to say:

People have written farcical comedies that don't pull any punches and still get away with it. You just have to be well... a super genius.

John Kennedy Toole did it flawlessly with Confederacy of Dunces.

Gary Schteyngardt did a good job with Absurdistan and Russian Debutante's Handbook.

Richard Russo's novel Straight Man is a little too meta, and not quite as edgy as the others, but a farce about racism nonetheless.

Zadie Smith; both White Teeth and On Beauty are kind of dark and not as farcical, but this woman of color is probably the best writer in a genre otherwise dominated by white men.

In all of these books...the worst stereotypes come out, and not in a gentle, pc kind of way. But the offending content is so well balanced by unreliability, self-abasement, or sheer insanity that no casual reader could hold the author responsible for what takes place between the covers. And I can't say how they do it. Just be a super genius and write a perfect book.

Or stay out of the pool, cause people pee in there...

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Beta Reading Scifi/Fantasy(Free)
« on: February 01, 2018, 06:19:05 AM »
I plan to use him for the second book in the series and look forward to what he has to say. My spouse/friends/cat are enough to get my book to a good place, and Dustin's beta read is enough to get the story to where I want it for publication.

Thanks Vale. I wasn't expecting this, but I really appreciate it.
I also have a cat who reads, at least that's what I assume he's doing when he sits on the keyboard.
I will say your draft was especially tidy. Most people would still need a proofreader after me.
Some editor friends have suggested I call it a manuscript critique instead. But whatever it's called I enjoy it.



Is free beta still open? I've got a partly-illustrated sci-fi WIP here, but it's long. (120K+) I understand if it's not possible to do.

Hi Kal241, schedule is filling up... but you're a familiar face on here. And I'm writing an illustrated novel myself (only one per chapter). I can put you down for early march and if I have a good month I'll read it sooner.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: How to make the most of the Nebulas?
« on: January 30, 2018, 12:46:54 PM »
If you see Mary there, ask her about her auditions with the Jim Henson company for a puppeteer. Her skit was... hilariously crude. You know what? Just ask her if she can make a puppet out of your scarf and say something crude. She seems to love doing that :D!

I feel like if she was on the list, I'd have remembered. I love Writing Excuses.

I did not sign up to attend the signing event. Maybe I should have.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: How to make the most of the Nebulas?
« on: January 30, 2018, 09:22:20 AM »
I went to one Nebula conference and had a good time.
I think I saw your other post saying you aren't involved with SFWA anymore. I suppose it's not for everyone. But being in Pittsburgh I can't pass it up. I guess I'll find out myself.

Kind of a bummer you won't be there. We could have traded cat pictures.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: How to make the most of the Nebulas?
« on: January 30, 2018, 09:17:39 AM »
I don't remember agents or publishers being there, though
Good one less thing to worry about.

Be prepared to talk to a lot of folks, and be prepared for cliques, for cliques are the nature of writer groups (not just SFWA).
I don't see cliques. I'm hopelessly naive enough that I fit in most everywhere. Like the lost puppy that wanders around getting pats on the head and shooed away. It takes more effort that you would think to stay that way.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: giving books away
« on: January 30, 2018, 09:02:38 AM »
I've had moderate success.
Spending almost no money, simply submitting my book to free ad sites, I give away 400-1000 copies a month of permafree.

These got me an average of one review every two months, or one a month if you count goodreads rankings. This isn't much, but it helped me get a little attention, where before I had none. Over the course of a year, those reviews add up.

I didn't have my second and third book at the time. When I finally launched book two, I saw very little sellthrough, but there was sellthrough. This may be because book one didn't have a strong ending and needs a rewrite.

All of my 2 and 3 star reviews came from people who got free copies. That is your biggest risk. Free copies seem to get lower rankings.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Beta Reading Scifi/Fantasy(Free)
« on: January 30, 2018, 08:54:04 AM »
Is this beta service possible with a series? I would be interested in a paid beta reader for a 2nd and 3rd book that I'm working on in a series, but the 1st book has been heavily edited and beta'd. In that kind of situation, how do you prefer to handle the 2nd book? Send the first and count that in the beta reading cost?

I've done it a few times and have found that people who write series make for good repeat customers.

If the books aren't too long, and if you're paying for me to read the sequel, I'm happy to read the first one and get caught up on the series, for no extra charge.
And if you send me #1 as a .dor or .odt I can make a few comments along the way.

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Writers' Cafe / How to make the most of the Nebulas?
« on: January 30, 2018, 08:42:31 AM »
I'm going to my first Nebulas this year in Pittsburgh. I'm excited that it is Pittsburgh, because I'm from around there.

Who else is going, and what can I do to make the most of it?

I'm not planning on going to the dinner. I did offer to be a volunteer and help with whatever the administration needs, handing out badges, setting up tables whatever. I'm a great talker, but probably not qualified to be on any panels. I am certainly open to the idea of meeting publishers and agents, even though I don't actively submit to trad pub.

Thoughts?

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Beta Reading Scifi/Fantasy(Free)
« on: January 30, 2018, 07:36:31 AM »
Free beta reads have been going much better than expected.

Most people go on to hire me for the next book. Which is encouraging.

It might have something to do with the fact that my beta reads are closer to a manuscript evaluation. I make notes on most every page. I mark spelling errors and awkward language. I try and offer a fix when there is a particularly awkward sentence. And I always write at least two pages, single spaced, in an editorial letter to the author.

The more familiar I become with this new hybrid process, the more I like it, and the faster I get. I imagine, very soon, I'll be only beta-reading and nothing else. I get to work with twice as many authors and read twice as many books.

So send me more books to free beta read. I have one opening next week, and one at the end of Feb.

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Good luck to you Sarah.

Don't forget to participate in kboards discussions. People tend to be wary of any account that has less than a few hundred posts.
And they will look at discussions you've contributed to, to decide if you're someone they would enjoy working with.

But that is just a quirk of kboards. Your posts and your website seem professional, and you certainly have the necessary experience. You'll do fine.
Good luck with going full-time!

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Developmental Editing for Scifi/Fantasy
« on: January 22, 2018, 08:42:17 PM »
heya- how are you with epic tantasy and character driven series? I am currently working on book four of a long series and my ongoing developmental support person isn't really available.  ideally i'd like someone who will follow the series and knows it well enough that I am not in need of "bringing someone up to speed" etc...

I do have a line editor/cleanup person... and am fine with keeping that second set of eyes... if that makes any difference

Teri

Epic fantasy is my genre. Love to work with it. Grew up reading the Dragonlance books, Narnia, Earthsea. Recently I'm catching up on Wheel of Time, Mistborn, and some urban fantasy on the side. Also Garrett B. Robinson's Nightblade books and Lindsay Burokar's Emperor's Edge, to make sure I'm reading popular self-published fantasy.

When I think of "character driven" I think of those new indie authors like Robinson and Burokar, where you really get inside the character's head. Urban fantasy is even better at being character driven. Old school fantasy has great characters, but they always take a backseat to fate, destiny, and big epic plot stuff.

I read both.

I'd be happy to look at your books to get a feel for your writing style. And we can chat about what style of edit you are looking for. I'll pm you my email and you can send some words my way.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Developmental Editing for Scifi/Fantasy
« on: January 22, 2018, 06:45:44 AM »
Closing submissions for free beta reads in Jan. Thanks guys. Will start on these today. Might open for a few more in Feb.

(And a reminder. If you submitted a free beta read last year, around hurricane season, and I didn't get to it: Send me a new draft and I'll fit you in. I have lot more time now that we're not running from hurricane Irma and shoveling debris.)

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Writers' Cafe / Re: free beta reads (scifi/fantasy plz)
« on: January 15, 2018, 04:11:28 PM »
I have some openings this month. Time for free beta reads.

There were so many submissions last time, I could only read a handful. But those went on to hire me for more so I must be doing something right.

Read below to learn how my beta reads work(disregard pricing of course). PM me a short description of your book and I will tell you where to send it.

(Will read anything but preference given to scifi and fantasy. I won't get around to everyone, but I'll do my best. If I missed you last time, I blame the hurricane, send it again. )

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Writers' Cafe / Re: SciFi Cross Promo: Anybody have an open slot?
« on: January 11, 2018, 09:41:36 AM »
I like the idea.
It's been too long since I emailed my list. It's in even worse shape than yours.
But maybe next time.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Does you need a editor?[sic] I'm available.
« on: January 06, 2018, 05:55:11 AM »
Thanks Becca,
I was wondering when you'd catch me.  ;)

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Writers' Cafe / Re: "Does you need a editor?"[sic] I'm available.
« on: January 05, 2018, 10:38:50 PM »
Booking for the new year. Updated original post with the details

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Writers' Cafe / Re: A question to US folks about a rude word... (Answered)
« on: December 28, 2017, 05:27:21 AM »
It is not a curse word here, so much as an insult. I would say it lies somewhere between jerk and a-hole. I would not expect it to be censored here.

It is the male counterpart to the female b-word. (female dog) (Which used to be less offensive, but has been censored more often, and rightly so, because it brings down women as a whole.)

It is a synonym for "stubbornly mean man" or "man who is consistently a jerk" or "man who is mean all the time." 

Looking at the word it is obvious that the "mean/bad" connotation comes from an illegitimate heir's claims and the trouble they cause, but the "stubborn/consistent" part comes from a role that you are born into, for life, and cannot change.

Most Americans don't consider the definition when they use it, and I would guess that some don't know the word's actual meaning.


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Writers' Cafe / Re: Trade Reviews?
« on: December 07, 2017, 07:19:01 PM »
Thanks for this thread.

I'll be watching to see what other ideas come out of it.

I like the notion that reviews and awards (if they come from a reputable place) can help with bookbub.

It is worth remembering that there are journals out there who will publish your short stories. And publication in those journals also gives you some cred, which makes other journals more likely to publish you, conventions more likely to let you sit on a panel, book fairs more likely to give you a good table. And improves your odds with trad pub if you feel like going in that direction.


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I'll be there!

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Unconventional epic fantasy - destined to fail?
« on: December 01, 2017, 05:40:55 AM »
While your structure doesn't perfectly match the tragedy, reading some classic tragedies might help with your delivery.
See: tragic flaw, catharsis, lamentations, spectacle/humor

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