I’m always interested in hearing people’s viewpoints on the beta/writer relationship. Today, I’m introducing an author I recently had the pleasure of getting to know.
His name is A.J. Trevors and he’s coming out with his latest novel, Birth of Hope: The Gaia Chronicles, on Monday, February 1st, 2016. I’m grateful to him for sharing his thoughts with me and the readers of this blog. Thanks again, Andy!
Without further ado…
How did you first hear about beta readers?
To be honest, the first time I heard about beta readers was when I joined Twitter two years ago. Back then, I did not know about indie book publishing and what that entails, which is a ‘community’ effort in editing a novel. This so called ‘community’ effort turned about to be beta readers, which some people on Twitter advertise themselves as.
Was it hard to find them? Where did you look?
Well, there were plenty on Twitter! If you couldn’t find them there, you could always Google ‘best beta readers’ and it will pop out in the results.
Were they in your target audience? What is your book about?
Certainly, I crafted a book that not only would be enjoyed by beta readers, but for all lovers of fantasy and sci-fi in general. However, beta readers are definitely in my thoughts as they are the ones that will receive an Advanced Readers Copy (ARC) and help improve the novel by pointing out what works and what doesn’t, in terms of story arc and pacing.
My book is entitled “Birth of Hope: The Gaia Chronicles”. It’s a fantasy/sci-fi epic that details the journey of a young man called Damien Pierce as he struggles with the responsibility of being the prophesized One Hope. In this world, there are individuals that can summon entities within their own hearts that are the personification of human emotions. These entities are called ‘Spectres’. The novel follows Damien as he seeks a way to use this power to end the war with the ruthless Vangarians, who also have the ability to summon Spectres.
What was it like getting the feedback? Were they helpful? Was it scary?
Well, it depends really. I never thought of feedback as scary. After all, ARC copies are like the first drafts to beta readers and it will definitely be riddled with mistakes even if I can’t see them. That’s where the beta reader enters the frame. The responsibility of a beta reader is to point out those mistakes invisible to the author’s eyes, may it be grammar, sentence structure, character development, description of a set piece, character relationships, dialogue etc. I’m always grateful for the role beta readers play in the development of an indie novel.
Why did you want to be a writer?
I always enjoyed writing since a young age. I believe the first time I started writing was at the age of thirteen when I started high school. For English class, we had to write some pieces of prose with some instruction. Despite some of my friends moaning about all the work we had to do, I secretly enjoyed actually writing these pieces in class! Call me a nerd, but that’s when my passion for writing awoke. I really enjoy crafting a new world out of nothing but my imagination and send my teacher’s hearts racing with exciting storylines and twisted endings.
When is your book coming out? Where?
My book is available for pre-order on Amazon on the 15th of January all the way to the 31st of January. The pre-order price is $2.99.
Release date is 1st of February where the price will be $4.99.
My novel is available on Amazon, iBookstore, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble and the Google Play store.
Do you think you’ll use the same beta(s) for your writing in the future?
If I’m writing the same genre in the future (fantasy/sci-fi), then I will definitely be using the same beta readers. However, I am always open to using different beta readers that have different interests so that my novel will always be read by someone comfortable with the genre. For example, if I decide the write a thriller in the future, I will probably contact beta readers that have an interest in thriller novels as they will understand how a usual thriller novel should be paced, the elements that make it interesting, plot details that require futher explanation etc.
Do you have any advice for betas? Writers?
A small word of advice for betas (as I was a beta reader before I started writing!). When critiquing a piece of work, try to first understand the story from the author’s point of view. Yes, perhaps he or she could have written this better. Yes, maybe there are story elements that suck in your eyes. However, the one thing you have to understand is that the author might be trying something new that hasn’t been on the market before. A new genre. A new way of writing. New ways to structure dialogue and character development. Understand first what the author is trying to achieve before providing constructive criticism in return. It will strengthen your relationship with the author and you might learn something new too that will benefit your own writing in the future.
As for writers, I think the most important piece of advice I can give is: Never stop believing! I have been writing Gaia for the past three years and, believe me, there were moments where I thought, ‘Man, I should really throw in the towel right about now. This novel is going nowhere!’. Trust me, you aren’t the only author that is going through this struggle. Every author goes through it. You just got to push through, just get that novel over the finishing line, whether it be first draft, editing, re-writing, re-writing then re-writing again. It’s all part of the struggle and, at the end, you will look back with a smile of satisfaction on your face. Believe me, because I have that same smile now.
If you want to pre-order your copy!