Similar to the series of posts called “Tools of the Trade”, “Nuts and Bolts” will be referring to the more analytical and business components of writing.
I have some good news! I am feeling comfortable enough with some of my stories to send them off to beta readers. But, in order to do that I had to determine who these readers should be.
To date my criteria has been simple: Do you you like stories in this genre? Are you willing to read my story? Are you someone I trust? Are you willing and able to get meaningful feedback to me in a timely manner?
Google Forms and Stories
With this in mind, I sent a message to friends who had been interested when I mentioned my stories in the past, but before I did so, I created a Google Form. This Form contained the questions I was most interested in regarding the story I was sending. I then promised coffee and cookies for the effort and sent off the email.
The next trick I used? I put options at the end of that questionaire for what level of readership the beta reader would want to be considered for in the future: Alpha, Beta, Close to publication, Audience (read after published), and Never-Send-Me-A-Story-Again. Thankfully no one has chosen the “never again” option.
It’s still an experiment in progress, but so far I have gotten some beneficial timely feedback. And I’m collecting data on what level of interest these readers have for upcoming stories.
Using the Data for Newsletter Practice
I’m also planning on using this as a way to experiment with newsletters. I’ve now been to enough workshops to understand that an author has to build their platform as early as possible. And, I’ve also heard enough to know that I better learn how to utilize a newsletter now.
So, besides the copious amount of editing left to do, I am hoping that crafting a newsletteresque email just for my beta reader team will not only keep them excited but also give me invaluable practice for when it’s time to send updates to a more general audience.
To be continued…