Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Amazon and The Big Damn Beta Reader Post

If you follow me on twitter, or if you were awakened this morning by what sounded like the screams of a thousand beansidhe wailing for the future of original fiction and fandom in one long, desperate howl, then you're aware that Amazon is a nest of fucking vampires who will not rest until they suck the very life out of the industry that built them. I'm speaking, of course, about the new Kindle Worlds program, a venue for fanfic writers who really don't give a shit about the creations they're purporting to love to exploit the fuck out of fandom and sell what in the past has always been given away for free out of integrity and a need to not get sued. You can read about the fucking travesty here at The Mary Sue, although they take a much different view of this bullshit than I do.

I was going to come here and write a scathing post about why this is shitty and why it will harm both fandom and original fiction, but you know what? I am tired of feeling like Ned Stark at King's Landing. I'm not going to be the Hand of the King on this one. If readers and ficcers want to be Robert Baratheon and refuse to see that the boar of paid fanfiction is wearing Amazon's Lannister colors...

Wait. Let me dial my nerd back a little.

Basically, I'm not going to rant on the subject (at least here; my twitter account is going to be bitter and terrible for A WHILE), because it has yet to do me any good other than getting a nice mad on and whipping you all up in an angry frenzy. Instead, I'm going to do something constructive that I've been considering for a little while.

Ever since I started recapping 50 Shades last year (Jesus, a year. A year of my fucking life) I have had requests to read people's original fiction and fanfiction. Some of you have written to me asking if I can be as critical of your work as I am of 50, and that's very flattering. However, everyone has gotten a no. Not because I don't love and care about you all, dear readers, but I just don't have the time to fulfill these requests. I write about forty-thousand words a month, excluding the 50 and Buffy recaps, so I really just don't have time left over for stuff like beta reading or leaving the house or showering.

In my spare time (which exists in the same magical realm as dragons and unicorns and plus-sized jeans that aren't made of stretch material that make them super fall-downish), I'm the president of a not-for-profit group that seeks to help writers at all stages of their careers. We have a mentor program, in which an author further along in their career helps someone who is either just starting out or is stuck and doesn't know the next step or whatever, and sometimes that turns into a beta reading relationship. I don't know why this didn't occur to me before, but you can credit one of the blog regulars, Thea K, with giving me the mental push into, "Oh yeah, I could do this" land.

If so many of you are looking for beta readers... why not pair y'all up HERE?

So, this is how it's going to work:

  1. Leave a brief comment with the genre, word count (or estimated word count), and a one sentence description of your work. That's really all that someone needs to know whether or not their project is for you. "High Fantasy, 100k, a girl embarks on a quest to avenge her father, murdered by a wizard."
  2. Leave people some way of getting ahold of you. Your twitter (if your account is unprotected), your facebook, your GoodReads account, your email address (youraddress at domain dot com, to avoid spambots) so that if someone is interested in beta reading your work, they can find you.
  3. Volunteer to read someone else's work. This will only be beneficial to everyone if everyone participates and volunteers their time. You can work it out between yourselves and set your own limits, whether you're looking for someone to read a chapter at a time or the whole work in one piece, and what you're willing to do in return. But you have to give something back, either to the person who volunteers or another person in the comments section.
  4. Leave a follow up comment when you have a reader. This is for two reasons: one, so you don't keep getting people offering you help when other people on the list are waiting, and so there's a record that someone read your work, in case something... untoward goes down. Which leads us to the next and final step:
  5. Don't be a dick. Don't plagiarize, don't leak chapters, don't mock people, just don't. Don't be a dick. I think most of us here are not dicks, so this should be a pretty easy one to follow.
This is not a fanfic beta reader search. It's easier to find a reader in fandom to beta your fandom works. Go through those message boards and channels instead. This is for original fiction only.

With that said, I'll just leave the rest of it in your hands. If you're looking for a beta and this post helps, awesome. If it all collapses like one of Clara's souffles, then whatever. At this point, I just want to do whatever I can to help original fiction writers. It seems pretty clear that it's going to get more difficult for all of us as the industry leans toward the joys of destroying fiction in general.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have some Valjean/Javert "What if they were gay and also in high school?" fanfic I need to polish off so I can make thirty-nine bajillion dollars.

84 comments:

  1. So... 50 Shades of Crap was the first horseman of the literary apocalypse?

    If Kindle Worlds is the second horseman, what do you think will be the third and fourth ones?

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  2. I'm willing to bet money that this will be a flop. Who the hell would pay to read fanfic? I'm sure there are EL-shaped writers out there willing to sell their derivative works (ahem) but when it comes to getting people to pay for stuff that's easily available online? Yeah. Good luck with that.

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    1. People pay to read tie-in novels, which are more or less fanfic. Yes they are commissioned and given the franchise stamp-of-approval, but by the sounds of it Amazon is planning to vet the fanfic it publishes anyway (and of course it has to gain the rights to the franchise first). It's entirely possible that big-name FF authors could get fans to pay for their work, because they already have a fanbase.

      To me this is not a big deal. At least it seems intellectually honest in a way that E.L. simply changing the names wasn't.

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    3. Anon, the vetting is to make sure the stories don't have sex or anything they can't use in the programs. In addition to encourage people to use characters and worlds created by others and encouraging readers to buy that stuff instead of original works, making it even tougher for creators of original work to get a foot in the door, those who are willing to participate in dragging down writing will basically be operating as a script-idea-mill.

      It is a big deal. This isn't what fan-fiction was ever intended to be in the 40+ years it's existed. Thanks to moves like this, we get more fan fics and less creativity. Writer have been told to rewrite their original woks as fanfics if they want to get deals! Trying to get writers to tap into a preexisting fanbase by using characters created by others is pretty damaging to writing in general. Some people are all over it, but a lot are also bored by the lack of variety and so don't bother reading anything new.

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    4. From what I've read there is also some vetting to see whether the stories are "in the spirit" of the original creation. Again don't see that much difference between this and tie-in novels. Yes, I see very few people benefitting from this because the FF writers don't get a great deal from Amazon. But I don't think it's the death of fiction or anything.

      Chances are this kindle worlds thing won't take off because the majority of people are not going to pay for something they have been used to getting free. But if it does you can't exactly blame Amazon for following the market.

      You can blame the publishers all you want, but the fact is they are not out to stifle creativity or make things hard for struggling writers. They are doing what they always have and always will, trying to make money. Surely we all know that. They picked up 50Shades because it was already popular as hell. It is up to us the consumers to buy quality literature if we want quality literature to succeed.

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  3. I am happy to offer my beta reading services. I have been a beta on and off for about ten years and I have proof-read my stepfather's historical non-fiction for even longer. I can do as basic a job as grammar and spellchecking or as involved as a sounding board for ideas and more. Right now I'm already a beta on a rather intensive job but as I am home full time with a disability, I have the time for another intensive job or a few lighter ones. Please do not be fooled by my own odd style of communication, I am fairly hardcore when it comes to grammar checking and correcting word usage. Once I am involved in a project I do get very passionate about it, so if you need me to push you I can do that.

    I am a prolific reader and I read a wide variety of genres. Right now I am favouring SciFi/Fantasy but with a real world edge and I am finding a lot of what I like in the YA section. If anyone would be interested in my services then please e-mail me at SophieCampbell at gmail dot com with a summary of your story and also some indicator have how much time you'll be wanting from me e.g. a chapter a month, weekly contact etc

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  4. Why on earth would I want to pay for something I can get for free? Especially when fanfic has an even higher ratio of crap-to-good than professional fiction (though numerous fics I've read outstrip most of the pro-fic I've read). Also, while fanfiction is growing in popularity, it still feels like something quite nerdy and cultish and having a big corporation profiting from it makes me uncomfortable. It's not like I'm one of those people who hates the mainstream, but, I don't know- fanfiction of all qualities generally comes from a place of deep affection for a product and I've found it a great way of communicating with people with similar interests. Having it become something that can be bought and sold makes me a little discomfited in a way I can't fully articulate. I know stuff like 5SoG exist, but they at least file the serial numbers off and it's not quite the same- though it's still awful.

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  5. Jenny, I have to say this is an awesome idea :)
    Now, I don't personnally have any work to be read, I tend to go back and forth with the writing either in French or in English, so that makes for a lot of unfinished stuff and tons of bad fanfiction as a compromise to shut the voices screaming in my head.

    I offer my love of reading to anyone who'd like to have an honest opinion or any help at all. If it's publicity you need, as in sharing links, I can do that, if it's just reading, even better :)

    My brother is trying to make it on Youtube, so i've been in his corner for a while, so I'm used to the "fan world". I love to help. (I might ask people to subscribe to his youtube channel and/or like his facebook page and follow on twitter, but that's about it ;)

    Find me on Twitter at MilouGourdo or on email via milou_xena at hotmail :) Maybe one day I'll also update that blog of mine hahha

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    1. If I can add a note to my own comment (I know, how lame...) but if by any chance anyone needs help with anything in French, well, I'm your gal. My studies were all in French and I'm currently working on my translation degree.

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  6. I'm happy to be a reader for anybody that needs it. I did my degree in English Language and Linguistics in the UK but most of my education has been American-style grammar and spelling so I'm comfortable with either style.

    Mostly I'd consider myself useful in detangling sentences that almost seem right but aren't quite there and just need that little wiggle from an outsider to set them straight. But, of course, with my background I'm equally useful in plain 'ole grammar fixing and plot criticisms.

    Send me an email on charlotte.e.m.de.jong at gmail dot com if you think I might be a help!

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  7. I really need help re-writing what was originally a fan-fic (Pride and Prejudice) into an original story. Well, it was a more original story (it was a vampire fic that I just threw P&P characters into) that I am editing out the fan-fic aspects and rewriting to expand it into a bigger story that is part of a wider arc that could be three books all-together. The story is finished, I've got the first few chapters rewritten, but I need help getting restarted (and helping me avoid some of the awful pitfalls of the fanfic I read), and hitting me on the head with a 2x4 to keep me going because I tend to forget it. This is also my first real story (meaning it's not something I wrote as a kid- cause that was 20 years ago) and I'm still learning HOW to write fiction, so I need someone to help me with that as well.

    This is about 20,000 words so far, and as I mentioned, this is a vampire fic. It's more of a classical vampire fic, meaning I don't have a sub-culture with other supernatural characters, the vampires are bad and out to rule the world, and no one sparkles. This is a total us-against-them story, and I have 2 more plots in mind to tie into a larger, over-arcing storyline- if I can even pull that off.

    I've also got several years of editing skills that I would be happy to put to use for someone else, either as a beta or to help in any way I can!

    I can be reached at janeitesarah at gmail dot com if you are interested.

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    1. That sounds incredibly awesome! I emailed you. Hope to hear back. (P&P + vampires = me lusting to read!).

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    2. No one sparkles, lol I'm sold, can't wait to read it :)

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  8. I should probably jump in on this before too many readers show up!

    Been in the fanfic side of things for years. Just finished up an AA in Humanities, so I've got a ton of reading and paper writing experience. I've been a Beta on and off again over the years. I can be helpful with ideas, a sounding board, or general chitchat. If you want someone to run through your story and clean it up, keep it coherent and on track, I'm that person!

    I'll read just about anything, and I am not adverse to any content (y'know, within reason of real life laws, please). So, if I sound like someone you'd like to help you out, please contact me at demonmagick at gamil dot com (I knooooow it sounds bad. lol a joke from a long time ago. I'll get a grown up email someday).

    I'd really like to help someone out on their project!

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  9. I think the beta reader idea is awesome. I'm working on the second draft of my book and could use help with editing. I'm also willing to read someone else work but my grammar isn't the best and I could miss things. My word is at 40,000 but is unfinished. It's YA Urban fantasy and is about a girl who joins a group of supernatural killers who go after those who escape justice. I'm posting the story at http://bennettnovels.blogspot.com/?zx=6ddfdb77f94f8e4f or if you want a pdf then you can email me at rehead312@gmail.com. I'm Megan by the way.

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    1. Sounds fun! I'll shoot you an email for the pdf, I think.

      Caitlyn (ladyphlogiston)

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  10. I need a beta reader and am willing to be a beta reader. I've been working on this story since college 4 years ago, and I feel like I'm nearing the final stretch. The problem is most of the people I rely on to give me feedback have real life commitments. My novel in progress will probably be about 400 pages long (my first draft of this was 700. You're welcome.) and is a light sci-fi fantasy story about three characters dealing with a monster in the forest. If anybody is willing to put up with me and my BS, you can hit me up on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/alice.m.fisher1 or email me at writerlady118@gmail.com

    As for doing my own beta reading, I can read pretty much anything, as long as you're committed to seeing it through. Also, if your work relies on correct research, you're probably better off making sure that's legit on your own, because I'm crap at it. I'm pretty good at grammar and spelling (despite what this post may say; I'm tired, it's been a long ass day). You can contact me via the same channels I mentioned above.

    By the way, thanks, Jen, for opening this up for us. =)

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    1. I'd love to give this a read! I'm not sure how I fare as a beta reader, but I've been doing it for my friend for a few months, I pick up on odd turn of phrases or characterisation mostly with her. I tend to just make notes as I read and then discuss it with her, so if you don't mind that approach to feedback? I'll send you an email later (I'm on my iPad, for some reason it hates me emailing :/)

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    2. Already have a beta reader, the lovely Siobhan. Oh, Siobhan, you have no idea what you're getting into. =)

      Anyway, the offer to beta read still stands if anybody needs it.

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    3. That's me, lol, my screen name is nothing like my actual name. And I have written/read some pretty weird stuff so ... bring it on ;)

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    4. I figured it was you. =) Good to know my detective skills are still l33t. Just announcing that I have one so that others knew.

      I'm excited. Hope you are, too.

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    5. Siobhan is an excellent Beta reader - she's put up with me for months! I'm looking for another reader, if the offer still stands, Alice? My fiction fits the YA dystopian genre, and I can send you the first five chapters (12,400 words) to see what you think? Only if you have the time and don't mind! I will, of course, return the favour if you wish. You can contact me at lidls90 at yahoo dot com.
      Thanks for the heads up, Zee! Brilliant idea!
      Lydia x

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  11. I could use a beta reader, and I'm more than willing to be one as well, although we seem to have plenty of those hanging about!

    I'm working on a novel, about 35k into an estimated 100k first draft, aiming for an 80k finished project. It's general literary fiction, absolute present-day realistic stuff, limited third person with a female protagonist and an older love interest (roughly the same ages as Sophie and Neal in The Boss). What I really need is someone to bounce ideas off of and thoughts about plot pacing and structure. For now I would like to go easy on the line editing, since I'm still writing and seeing all the sentences I've mangled would cause me to overthink every word I tried to write. What I'm saying is I need big picture help, feedback on what I've done right so I can do it some more, and maybe some opinions on my characters.

    As a beta reader I have this to offer: I went to college for an English degree and spent every extra credit I had in creative writing classes, from basic undergrad stuff to advanced by-submission-only more intensive courses, and I took two graduate classes with a highly ranked creative writing program, again on the merit of my submissions. I guess what I'm saying is that I've studied the craft quite a bit. I am not a whiz at grammar, I cannot diagram a sentence, I am a fairly good speller. What I know is the poetry of writing, the art of it, and I know how to edit and critique on those grounds. I fucking love a good metaphor or an elegant description. I can help someone with those things if they want it.

    I can be reached at thelucylightning at gee-mail dot com. This is such a great idea, by the way. There's no one in my life right now that is at all equipped to give me feedback and now I can finally use the same tools that fanfiction writer use every day.

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    1. Hey lucylightning,

      Your stuff sounds right up my alley! I'm graduating from an MFA program in a month, so I won't have much time to beta-read between now and then, but I'd be happy to beta-read for you once the end-of-grad school madness has ended. In addition to the MFA, I also have degrees in English and Spanish literature, experience teaching high school English, and a variety of workshops and writing conferences I've attended. I've also had four literary short stories published in the last year.

      I'm working on a literary dystopian novel set in Africa--about 20,000 words into it, but I edit as I go, so I'm looking for someone who'll keep me on the right track. I'm a sucker for beautiful sentences and language, so it sounds like we may have similar tastes in that regard. Not sure if you're on Twitter, but my handle is @RachaelLaWriter. I'll shoot you an email as well.

      BTW, Jenny, this is such a fantastic idea! I found your blog through the 50 Shades recaps and have been lurking ever since. You're awesome.

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  12. Schweet! I so want to make you some brownies, Jenny. Gooey, decadent, fudgy as all fuck brownies.

    It's a marvelous idea, the beta.



    project 1 [complete] - Romance/Dark Comedy, 111,000 words. Woman seeks the reason that triggered her into puking on her boyfriend during his proposal; only to unlock memories a lifetime away that could destroy the magic she has with her fiance.

    project 2 [work in progress] Medieval Vampires, 30,000 words. A healer considered cursed escapes the village who would blame her for bringing the Black Death to their door. Quickly wed to a traveling peddler, she discovers a world she never knew and truths which could destroy society.

    If interested, I can be contacted via email [ mandireiserra at gmail dot com ] or twitter [ @MandiReiSerra ] ..


    In return, I'm happy to beta read. I have no degrees (other than Awesomeness) but I've been a chronic reader since I was 6, devouring anything I could get my hands on.

    ...side note.

    I will rewrite my slashfic. I will make it beyond spiffy. And Amazon won't get it.

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    1. Project 2 is very intringuing...sending email.

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    2. I really like the idea of projet # 1 :) I shall email you!

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    3. Huzzah, I have beta's for both my projects. Ya'll rock.

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    4. Many, if you'd like another reader, I'd love to give either a shot. And if you're like to read SB (still doing a bit more editing), I'd be glad to send it along. You know my info. :) but anyway, just because:

      Good reads giveaway into with link to some reviews from other betas (and someone I don't know who got it from someone else): http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/52595

      http://www.alysbcohen.com

      http://alysbcohen.wordpress.com (with my own rant about Amazon)

      alysbcohen at gmail

      @alysbcohen on Twitter

      http://www.facebook.com/AlysBCohen

      I don't think I have enough of an online presence. :)

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  13. Hey Jenny this is awesome! thanks! Sending you virtual cookies....but if I had your addy I'd send you real ones!

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  14. Well, that is stupid. Profiting from fanfiction is just... it just goes against everything fanfiction is supposed to be about. I always saw fanfiction as a workshop, a place where you're allowed to be bad within a specific set of rules in order to learn to write better when you want to create your own rules.

    Having said that, that's an excellent idea! I don't mean to brag, but if everything goes as expected, by the end of the year I will graduate from college with a bachelor degree on Technical Literary Correction, which means I'll basically be a certified beta-reader. (I know. My mom wanted me to be a lawyer.)

    I can read works in both Spanish and English, although I might not be as good with grammatical corrections in English as a native speaker. I can offer corrections, honest criticism and endless sarcasm.

    You can contact me at josefinalello07 at gmail dot com :)

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  15. I'd love to find (and be) a beta-reader. I'm 70K words into an 85K romance and will definitely need help in a month or so. Elevator pitch: a steampunk sorceress has to fake an engagement to a reluctant inventor in order to rescue a kidnapped girl. It's set in 1870 and I would really love someone who's comfortable with that time period and could help me spot the anachronisms :-)

    I'm on Twitter as @wendyqualls.

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    1. Hi Wendy! Your idea sounds awesome! I don't have a Twitter (I know, I know :)), so I wasn't sure how else to contact you, but I would love to beta read your story. I'm actually an editor IRL (although not for fiction...I used to work on high-end college textbooks, but now I do primarily medical textbooks), and I'm very into both steampunk and the Victorian era, so I can help with anachronisms and grammar. If you'd like my help, you can reach me at hawaiibaby81 at gmail.com.
      ~Kate

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  16. I'm actually betaing for someone already, and my original fiction is not going anywhere any time soon, so I'm afraid I can't really join this wonderful project (but I applaud you, Jenny, for turning your rage into something constructive; I think that's a wonderful talent).

    Having said that, what I was most often asked about when I was an avid participant in AFF, creative writing workshops, fandoms and other similar groups, was the portrayal of LGBT+ characters and issues. As a semi-activist on those matters, I am more than willing to devote my time to help straight/cis authors with their LGBT+ characters. If anyone wants help with that, contact me at david.d8888 at gmail dot com.

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  17. You should maybe make this a permanent linked thing.

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    1. Especially so people stop pimping their stories every post. Just saying.

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  18. This makes me so mad! I write fanfiction purely for the joy of playing. there's no hope for profit... I generally just want the words in my head to shut up. I would never dare think my writing is good enough to be held up against my showrunner's (Castle, btw)

    An idea like this is brilliant. I don't know how good a beta I'd be, but I love bouncing ideas with people? (@brookemopolitan brookemopolitan.tumblr.com if anybody wants to play)

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  19. I wrote a novel a while ago (YA, sci-fi, girl develops weird powers and meets intergalactic superhero. 55k or so. It's better than it sounds. I think. :) that I've been thinking I should haul out and rewrite, and fresh eyes and ideas would be really nice. The main change I want to make is that the superhero is overpowered - I think I want to amplify his weaknesses to create more tension. I'm ladyphlogiston on everything, including gmail and twitter.

    Caitlyn (ladyphlogiston)

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    1. Sounds intriguing! I think I'd like to know more. I'll send you an email. :)

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  20. I'd like to see if someone could beta read a story I've written. It's about 16K words in eight chapters. It is erotica, I would say it's probably erotic romance/BDSM romance. A CSR goes out on a ride along and runs into a variety of interesting women... including the tech he shadows. My email is kinbaku.gardener at gmail dot com, and you can also find the story at my blog, The Gardener's Shed (http://thegardenersshed.blogspot.com).

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    1. I will go and read your blog for sure. Today work is kicking my butt, but as soon as I have time,I will!!!

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  21. I guess Amazon is just jumping on the bandwagon driven by EL. Not really something I would have encouraged, but I guess if people are willing to pay, then who am I to stand in the way?

    I do like the idea of you using your blog to connect original fiction writers with betas. I don't have a degree, but I do read and write in a variety of genres, so if anyone is interested I'm happy to beta. Good luck to all the authors!

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  22. I don't have anything intelligent to add. The only thing I want to say is that non plus-size jeans are also stretchy and fall-downish. From all of us I ask: The fuck?

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    1. Yes, I hate how jeans are made these days. I've complained about them time and time again. I had to throw out a favorite pair of non-stretchy jeans that fit me so well because they had too many holes and rips to fix. I'll miss those jeans. I'm tired of having to pull my pants up all the time with these current jeans with the stretchy stuff, even with a belt on. I almost think they designed them to fall so our butt cracks can show.

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    2. Check the jeans tag to make sure there is no lycra or spandex woven in the fibers. Pure cotton for excellence and no satchel ass.

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  23. Oh, my goodness! Pick me! I'll read for you! I've done proof-reading for just about everything from leaflets to doctoral thesis. I know that beta reading isn't the same, but I've also done that for an epistolary novel.

    I don't write. I mean, obviously, I'm literate, but I'm not a writer, so I will bring a purely reader perspective.

    You can contact me nikki at teamkelso dot org if you want a reader.

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  24. First of all, I think the paid-for-Fanfics is a terrible idea. The best bit about fanfiction was being able to share your tangent of another person's work with people who liked it equally. And anyway, I thought an author can choose to shut down fandoms because, at the end of the day, either they or the publishers (depending on how stupid they've been with their contracts) own their characters. I see a buttload of people getting sued for making profit on someone else's efforts. Masterful, amazon.

    However, I think your idea, Jenny, is brilliant. I know there's a lot of us who write on here and mention that in comments, and I'm sorry if you ever thought any of us were pressuring you for your (very, very awesome) advice. I can understand where you're coming from, since I have people at work who honestly need me to spell out for them how to flip a switch (no kidding, a night shift in McD's and we need to take apart and clean the fry station. The guy could not be fucked to look for, and then flip, the switch to turn off the heat lamps. When I sai it was by his hand, he then grabbed the other end of the station. No words for that level of stupidity. I also love asking someone to bag a burger for me, because it's the next order, and they come and look in the one I'm already holding, for the order before ... I have to put up with incredible levels of fucktard) and even though you want these people to progress and do well, being the person to help can be a little soul destroying. And no, I don't think anyone here is actually as stupid as the people I've just described. I should probably shut up now.

    Anyway, for anyone interested in being a beta reader ... I think I've already linked my story on here before, I'm serialising the first story (of seven) on a blog, while I consider my options. However, I've written it in full, and I'm about halfway through the second one, so if anyone wanted to read it straight up and comment that way, the email I normally use to send it out is noahsmummy07@hotmail.co.uk my blog is http://uprootedbookone.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/a-quick-intro.html

    It's YA, and I guess it's contemporary romance? I don't know. It's written in first person, recent-past tense. There's two narrators, which I know is irritating, but there is a purpose to it. It's about a girl (narrator #1) who acted out to the point where her entire family decides to move to another country, and a guy (narrator #2) who helps her come to terms with what's happened with her, and who starts out by being a little bit of a douchebag but matures throughout the book. And as much as I hate spoilers, I will say that the narrators aren't going to start dating, that's not the romance aspect of it. I feel I have to mention it because someone is reading it and her comments feel a lot like she thinks it's a typical romance and the reason I picked those two narrators is so you can see them get together at the end, so the things she thinks should change don't make sense for the actual arc. I am taking her comments on board though (I'm aware my comments back might not read great, but I was trying to be polite and reply to her while at the same time having time off work for being slightly crazy, so ... not the best thing I've ever done) and there's a difference between what's on my file and what's on the blog.

    My main issue with my story is that although one narrator is English, like I am, the other isn't, and an American reader would be so helpful in weeding out the Briticisms from every other chapter, at least at first. He might get influenced by her, after all ;)

    I'll actually shut up now.

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    1. I just subscribed to your blog, and I will start reading your story :) I'll send you comments after each chapters, if you want :)

      Delete
  25. I never read fanfic when it was FREE, I'm certainly not going to pay to. Sounds to me like if it works, more and more fanfic sites will go paid, because, well, why not? If there is a market and money to be made, that's what they'll do. After reading 50 Shades, I can't imagine any fanfic being worth my time or money, but perhaps there are a few worthy ones out there. I guess ultimately I just really don't care to read spin-offs on books I already love.

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  26. Great idea, Jen! I've been an avid fanficcer for years, (mostly Star Wars), and am currently working on an original novel that I'd love some feedback on.

    It's adult fantasy, with heavy notes of romance/adventure. Here's the summary: Two worlds collide when a mage and a sentinel fall in love. Together, can they unite their opposing factions and bring stability to a realm in crisis?

    I'm more than willing to offer services as a beta. I've done so for many friends and fellow writers of all stages, and have a BA in English Lit. My preferred genres are similar to the ones above, (fantasy, romance, adventure), but I love a good drama. No qualms about erotica - I've written a fair amount of it - but I'm *really* squeamish when it comes to blood and violence.

    If you'd like to see my writing, check me out at: http://www.fanfiction.net/~laloga

    and/or:

    http://www.fictionpress.com/~laloga

    If you'd like to discuss beta'ing, or nerdery in general, feel free to hit me up at either site above, or at laloga13 at ye olde google mail. :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Read the first chapter and sent you an email with a beta offer and some thoughts on your story!

      Delete
  27. I share your loathing over what Amazon is doing in regards to this fanfic ordeal. I used to write and draw my own fanfics (draw as in comics) when I was younger, but don't anymore. I have nothing against people writing fanfics, but I don't think people should have to pay for them. And your GoT analogy is pretty spot on.

    I've been working on a novel off and on over the last few years and I'm currently on the third draft (though I haven't worked on it much in the last few weeks due to being busy with outdoor stuff and just not giving a shit about it right now) and will be looking for a beta soon. It's an Historical Fantasy and currently stands at 180k words (yeah, it's a biggie) though I'm trying to whittle the word count down as much as I can without having to alter the story too much. It's the first of a series I'm still working on. I'm terrible at trying to describe a 180K word story into a single sentence, but I'll try: Vlad returns to the man who left him to die as a child, his father Vlad Dracula (the Impaler) only to be sent to the king of Hungary to be trained as a soldier, but is then married into the wealthy Bathory family solely for his blood ties to the Walachian throne, all the while stalked by a vampiric hellhound bent on tormenting him into insanity.

    If anyone is interested to know more, I have a blog where I've posted details of this story. The linky -- http://keskedgell.blogspot.com/

    My email -- vtepelus at yahoo dot com.

    I can send just the first chapter so you can see if it is something you wish to continue reading. I haven't done much betaing myself, but I'll reciprocate the favor for any fantasy works as long as they're not first drafts. I could also use the push and shove to get me back into working on this, summertime comes and I'm all into working in the gardens and tend to ignore my writing.

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    1. I would love to check this out, it sounds awesome! :) xaphanea at gmail dot com

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  28. When I read about the Amazon/fanfic thing from a friend on LJ, my reaction was (*slow frown*). It didn't remotely surprise me because it's the logical next step after the wild success of published Twilight fanfic, so I couldn't really muster up the energy for the outrage that bullshit deserves.

    What I *do* like is this original fiction beta tag-team idea. I LOVE YOU, JENNY.

    For the to-beta side: I graduated with a BA in East Asian Studies (Japanese minor), and while I haven't participated in any writing community all that much and am unpublished, I've been writing in some capacity for almost twenty years. I'm fairly good at grammar and spelling, but I consider my specialty (such as it is) to be characterization, i.e. IDing what does and doesn't make sense for a character as written. I'm also good at spelling, punctuation and grammar, though I might not catch every little thing.

    For the to-be-betaed side: I have a completed fantasy novel, third draft, about 145k words--however, I'm strongly inclined to split it into two books and flesh out the first 50K~ words, since I feel my worldbuilding is weak. It's about a teenage sorceress-in-training and her supernatural instructor as they attempt to dodge the instructor's compatriots and search for a way to prevent either of them getting killed for their artifically created bond.

    If interested in either, my email is [ ayu dot ohseki at gmail dot com ].

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Also, I'm American and so most familiar with American spelling/grammar. Also also, please ignore the redundancy in the to-beta paragraph, haha.

      Delete
  29. Any short story writers out there wanting to trade? I have 2 completed stories of about 5,000 words each that I would be interested to have some comments on. One is about Shelley and Keats and written in their style, basically Romantic poet slash with dollops of angst. The other is a more modern tale about a religiously-motivated serial killer (without a particular setting). My grammar etc. is fine, I'm just looking for general impressions about what you liked and what you didn't.

    I have betaed a good number of fanfics, original fics and academic essays in the past, and have been well-received due to my extreme nitpicking. I would really only be able to take on <20,000 words because pickiness takes time!

    You can contact me at xexpletive_deletedx at yahoo dot co dot uk, or go to my livejournal if you want to check out my fanfic first.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I have a degree that is gathering dust, and I would be happy to trade pages with someone. My novel is presently at 175k, and I am aiming for 190k. The title is "The Unraveling Dark", and is book one of "The Kin Chronicles" The novel is Epic Fantasy and contains adult content. I would appreciate any help in my quest to avoid being the next Henry Darger. You can check me out on Google+, or on Twitter @1pageaday
    "The Unraveling Dark"
    Josephine Oduduwala has traveled around the world to escape the people that would kill her, especially the Witch-Finders. She has just arrived in the U.S.A. to start a whole new life. That life gets complicated when she discovers that her father isn't dead after all, and he has a bad reputation. Frank Minkari loves to escape, sometimes he has to escape the law. When he finds out that he is a father to a teenage girl; he is forced to deal with his dysfunctional family. Father and daughter must learn to get along because they are the key to saving their world - and all worlds.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. 175K is . . . a really long book, even for epic fantasy. That goes double for a debut author - you can get away with a lot more if you've already got a fanbase :-) If you're looking to get this in print with a traditional publisher, I'd strongly urge you to consider trying to split the story in half or to shorten it to 120K or less. I mean, I'm not a New York editor or anything, but that seems to be the point at which they won't automatically reject your manuscript for being too long :-\

      Delete
  31. I see there are a lot of people volunteering to be readers, but I'll still throw my hat in the ring. I have a B.A. in English and a M.Ed. in English Education. Proofreading and grammar-checking are totally in my wheelhouse. I also read pretty much everything except YA literature. School's about to let out for the summer, so I have lots of time on my hands. If you are interested in having me read anything, just contact me at celticmagnolia47 at gmail dot com. Not a writer myself, but would love to help aspiring authors.

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  32. I'm still doing a bit more editing for Sacred Blood, 94k words right now, supernatural, could be considered romance, but it's actually not.

    This is an anti-abuse book in which a woman starts off in an abusive relationship, feels weak, but gets herself out of it. With the help of her friends she learns her own strength and reclaims her life as her own in every way, wit a tense scene between her and her ex-boyfriend/former abuser where he tries pulling mind-tricks and his life ends up in her hands. Will she take it, or will she show him the mercy he wouldn't show her?

    Good reads giveaway into with link to some reviews from other betas (and someone I don't know who got it from someone else): http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/52595

    http://www.alysbcohen.com

    http://alysbcohen.wordpress.com (with my own rant about Amazon)

    alysbcohen at gmail

    @alysbcohen on Twitter (I love new followers)

    http://www.facebook.com/AlysBCohen (please friend me!)

    I don't think I have enough of an online presence. :)

    I don't have degrees of any sort, and so am one of the "uneducated" masses, the bottom rung on the educational hierarchy, and as such, what I say may not count. However I welcome a diversion from my own words and would love to beta. I don't have much interest in sci-fi (though enjoy fantasy), and am burned out on standard contemporary romance. I'm fine with erotica. Young adult, middle-grade and children's books (I "flush scarlet" at admitting I still read kids' books), and many more are enjoyable.

    If you need a reader, or would like to beta SB, please contact me and, if you want to be a beta, let me know what format. Pages, Word, PDF, RTF, etc., are all fine. I'm not sure if there are any formats I can't use or convert to.

    Thanks for reading this way down here at the bottom. :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. I'm working on a sci-fi novel at the moment, which I'd really like feedback on (as well as motivation to write)- sadly, exams are coming up and creativity has to take something of a backseat for a while. If anyone's willing to wait til mid-july (12th onwards) I'd love to start an exchange- I'll happily read any genre!

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    1. Well, it really depends how sci-fi it is and what type, and what's it about, I it's light sci-fi, I might be into it. =)

      Delete
    2. Sorry, an expansion: it's set in a world where everyone is born with a superpower. Citizens can exchange two years of being a 'superhero' for a one-off favour from the government, i.e. a sum of money, a house, a job etc. Joseph, a superpowered private investigator, falls in love with a student at a local university and so uses his favour to get a place at the university. However, a murder on campus leads Joseph to resume his old ways.

      I don't know if that appeals.

      Delete
    3. Well, I don't know is it more YA or more adult? I Think I might like it, but I am not entirely sure. Please, add e-mail, so I can contact you easier.

      Delete
    4. Hi, sorry, I didn't realise you'd replied again. My email is unclepolar at gmail.com- I'd say the story is more Adult than YA.

      Delete
  34. Apparently I have a thing for princes and princesses, vampires and high school settings, so yeah. I have so many stories in the process of...but I do think I need beta readers for them.
    You can check some of my early work (to get an idea on my writing I guess) at:
    http://www.fictionpress.com/u/462602/linwe-nolatari
    All the stories on my fiction press account have/will be rewritten.

    The stories I do have started all have about 800-2000 words per chapter and I have 19 of them.

    I'm also available to be a reader (but I'm not sure how good I'd be).
    I'm not really into smut and don't really care for female characters or heavy romance, but I like pragmatic characters and fantasy, medieval settings, psychological thrillers, vampires, and anti-heroes.

    Sorry for being so vague.

    For the time being, I can be contacted @
    http://linwenolatari.livejournal.com/

    ReplyDelete
  35. To me the idea of publishing fanfic LABELLED as fanfic is much less objectionable than swapping the names and publishing it as original fic.

    Fanfic has always been published. Wide Sargasso Sea is fanfic. Eoin Colfer's continuation of the Hitchhiker's Guide is fanfic. There are countless takes on Shakespeare, and he was hardly using original plots in the first place. The only difference is those creators are dead and cannot be disadvantaged by others using their ideas. Here the creators have given permission. Hence no problem with copyright for the creators.

    Probably this is not going to be a big success, but even if it is, it won't be anything new.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I don't think anyone here feels that published fanfic is some new and scary concept that has never happened before, it's the idea of a major industry force profitting from fanfic and exploiting fanfic writers that's troubling.

      One of my issues with this is that the terms offered to the self-pubbers through Worlds are predatory and exploitative, while the commissioned tie-ins are given better terms. If you write fanfic for Worlds, it passes through vetting, and you publish it, Alloy entertainment can take your work and use it in perpetuity without further compensation. And yes, you sign a contract and you know that going in, but the tie-in authors are given different consideration and more protection under their contracts. How is what Amazon is doing with Worlds different from what James Frey is doing with his author sweatshop?

      On the fandom side, this worries me because of the amount of time and energy fanfic writers already spend defending fanfic against allegations of copyright infringement and plagiarism. That's an issue people already don't understand, and this only muddies the waters further. Amazon made this deal with Alloy entertainment, and that's awesome, but why the self-publishing arm? Why not pull successful authors who've self-published on their platform and have them write the tie-in novels or short stories? That would be a hell of a lot less predatory toward fandom.

      Delete
    2. This is pretty much my issue with it. It's predatory towards writers, it's disgraceful for fandom writers (we're whoring ourselves out for "fame" and "money"), and the very moment something goes wrong, the very nature of fan fiction is going to get blamed, and people will paint all fandom together with the same brush.

      And then fan fiction is going to go back to being a misunderstood activity that you have to keep secret or else people will get all the wrong ideas.

      Delete
    3. I haven't heard about the James Frey sweatshop before, what's that about? I got really into the Lorien Legacies but only heard about his 'autobiography' after book three. I knew the first books were written with students that he's now cast aside so is it that or something new because he can't think up the arc? There's a few brilliant conspiracy theory threads on goodreads but I would be kinda pissed if they ended up being used for source material. Takes the fun out of speculation.

      Delete
  36. I read this a bit ago, and you probably already saw it, but supposedly B&N is being accused of purposely deleting certain Indie Nook publications. http://www.hughhowey.com/does-bn-manioulate-its-bestseller-list/

    ReplyDelete
  37. Shoot, the link was wrong. Sorry, on a tablet: http://www.hughhowey.com/does-bn-manipulate-its-bestseller-list/

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  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  39. I don't know, on one hand - yeah, it's certainly not great to see major corporations benefit from fans' hard work, but on the other it's nice to see fans, who put in effort finally have something to show for, so I ам not sure where exactly I stand on this.

    As far as beta reading goes - forget about everything that I said. Right now my own writing is going nowhere, so I don't really need a beta reader, but when I do, my writing is either YA urban fantasy or romances. I need help with a lot of stuff including the show, don't tell rule, but I'd definitely like someone who could help me with my sentences structure and my use of language, because English is my second language and even though I am good at it, I can't compare to a native speaker.

    I am maybe planning on re-writing 50 shades just for fun, so if anyone wants to beta-read that (I know Jenny said no fanfiction, but that's not exactly what this is).

    Anyway, I'd love to beta read, for anyone who is into anything YA (especially if it's Urban fantasy or paranormal romance) or romance.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hi there - longtime reader, first-time poster - I would love to offer my work to a a beta reader (thanks to this thread - what a great idea!)

    I have a completed novel, 89,000 words, urban fantasy / soft science fiction. I've finally decided to stop pecking at the damn thing; it's time to let other eyes see it. =) I'm looking for not only errors, but also for some feedback on whether things make sense, if certain parts should be fleshed out more, etc. If anyone is open to it, my email is hb@heatherbryant.net Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What's it about? It might be my thing.

      Delete
  41. I am flabbergasted. I would like for some of my favorite fanfic authors to be able to make money, but I definitely want corporations to keep their noses out of the fan world. However, I'm positive it won't take off, especially if there is a no-sex rule. That would disqualify at least 90% of the fanfic out there. :) Besides, one of the main reasons fan-fic exists is so we're not bound by TPTB's limitations and occasional stupidity. Some of the best fics I've read were fics written because the author wanted the TV characters to act like ADULTS instead of preschoolers.

    We don't have to sit back and accept the version of canon that TPTB bring down from the mountain, but rather we can use it as raw material for our own vision. That is empowering! Why would we want them to dictate what we can and cannot do? Freedom is the whole point. Now, I do appreciate archives where only well-written fic is allowed, because that makes it easier to find the wheat in the sea of weeds, but those are run by other fans and there are many different archives to choose from.

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  42. I would like to offer my services as a beta reader. I do have to admit that I haven’t been an active beta in a while though. I mostly correct doctoral thesis nowadays. I am mostly open to the genre and I have no problem with smut. I can be kind of nitpicky and I do have a full-time job so I will have to beta in between and it may take some time. If that is cool with you, please write me up at twitter (jennessi) or leave me a message at jennessi@googlemail.com

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  43. I would like to find a beta reader for a YA contemporary romance complete at around 65,000 words.
    16 year old Marine brat, tired of the whole military thing falls for 17 year old guy going into the air force academy.
    Please message me at KDAtkinswrites@gmail.com.


    OH and here's a cute dog picture.
    http://eofdreams.com/dog.html

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  44. I need a beta reader for a project.

    I know I jumped on this super-late, but I need help!

    Project 1: high fantasy(ish): a female law enforcement official gets involved in a high-stakes political war, where magical salt is the lifeblood of warring nations.

    That's oversimplifying it, I'm sure, but there you have it. Trying to summarize everything I have in my head for this story would take waaaay too long!

    You can contact me at hzeuzem at hotmail dot com if you are interested. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete

Say some stuff! If you can't think of anything to say, leave a link to a cute dog picture. I'm easy.