Blood Point Creative writing Folklore Horror

Wanted: beta readers for Blood Point

Would you like to test drive the final drafts of Blood Point, my next Nightmare Vacations horror story? If so, register below to become a Beta Reader.

Beta Readers are one of the last stops on the road from a story idea to a published novel. They’re a final chance to revise a book and the first chance to find out what paying readers will think.

The difference between beta readers and other editors, readers or critics is that they’re not writers. Beta readers need to be ordinary people who read for pleasure and like books similar to Blood Point.

If you like supernatural horror stories with a touch of folklore and fantasy, you might be an ideal beta reader. If you like to give constructive feedback, you’ll be perfect.

Kinnitty Pyramid, a black stone mausoleum in rural Ireland
The mysterious Kinnitty Pyramid is the dark heart of Blood Point. Join my mailing list to become a beta reader.

Blood Point: what’s the story?

Kinnitty looked like the perfect spot for Josh Cooper, his daughter Holly, her boyfriend and a bunch of old friends to celebrate his 50th birthday and her graduation.

Luxury hotel in an old castle, friendly pubs and lush Irish countryside on the doorstep. Oh, and the mysterious pyramid tomb that no-one talks about.

Everything’s grand until Holly’s tricked into releasing an ancient evil trapped in the pyramid. Now he’s fighting to save her soul from a spirit that’s hungry for blood, vengeance and power.

What does a Beta Reader do?

A beta reader’s job is to tell an author whether their book works as a reading experience. They read the book just like any other, but every so often the author stops them to ask a few questions.

Some authors like feedback for every chapter, some for the whole book. Most want you to stop you three or four times as the story moves from one act to the next, and that’s what I’ll be doing.

Typical questions include how long it took to get hooked into the story, how you react to the characters, and whether the end is satisfying.

Author Mary Robinette Kowal has just four questions for her beta readers. She calls them her ABCDs:

  • what was Awesome?
  • what was Boring?
  • what was Confusing?
  • and what Didn’t you believe?

I’m not looking for essays, so you can say as much or as little as you like. You don’t even have to finish the book — but do tell me why.

Do you want to know about typos and spelling mistakes?

I don’t expect beta readers to be proofreaders too. I’ve done my best to eliminate errors but this isn’t the final version. If you want to point out any mistakes, I will be very grateful.

When will Beta Readers get Blood Point and how long will they have to read it?

If all goes well, Blood Point will be ready to read in mid-June 2024. It isn’t an epic novel so I’m hoping to get feedback within a month.

What if a Beta Reader hates your book?

It might be hard to say it, but I’d still like to know. You might be the only one, but if all my beta readers hate Blood Point for the same reason, something needs to change.

Do you pay Beta Readers?

Unfortunately not. You’ll get a free ebook, you’ll be one of my first readers and your feedback might change the final version.

If you like the published version of Blood Point, you can leave an opinion on Amazon, Goodreads or Bookbub as an advanced reviewer.

I need at least 20 beta readers to get a useful range of feedback, so unfortunately I can’t pay them a useful amount. If you enjoy the book, I will send you a paperback copy when it’s published.

Paid services do exist, but at €80 minimum per reader, it’s a rich man’s game to get a broad range of opinions.

Why don’t writers get friends and family to do this?

It sounds like a great idea, but it’s pretty rare that an author’s friends and family are also into reading the same genres that they write.

People that you already know can also bring the baggage of your personal relationship. They might be too kind or too harsh and there’s no room for either of those things at this stage. Ordinary readers like you can say what they want without any complications.

Do you need Alpha Readers? Are they a thing?

The alpha reader is someone you trust to read your first draft, usually someone who knows about writing. Their job is to give you an idea of how much work you’ll need to turn into something you can publish.

My alpha reader was also my development editor. He gave me impartial feedback and professional suggestions that I was able to compare to my own ideas.

How can I become a Beta Reader for Blood Point?

The newsletter sign up form below also adds you to my list of Beta and ARC (Advanced Reviewer Copy) readers when you tick the appropriate boxes.

My newsletter comes out roughly every month. I’m currently serialising extracts from Blood Point. Catch up with the first part here.

Later this year I’ll be previewing the first book in my science fiction trilogy, In Machina.

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