Recently I had the book beta-read at Frostbite Publishing (FBP).
They (their reader) went through the book chapter by chapter and said what they liked and didn't like about the chapter. Nice valuable insight. It's tough to get friends / family to read the manuscript in a timely fashion, everyone is so busy. Let alone say what bothers them about the story.
Does the book stand on its own, or does someone need to have read book 1?
The FBP beta reader got back to me within two weeks, and pretty much didn't like the book - yay! That's the kind of feedback I needed. There were things they liked, but there were other areas where it was weak. Some was horrible, and I expected that. In my previous post I'd written about re-writing a chapter, well it was still raw and the parts leading up to it and from it, didn't know about the material - so the reader got lost, but that is ok - I expected it and that's what they said. Nice honest feedback - it was a test of sorts.
One of the questions I wanted them to answer was: Does the book stand on its own, or does someone need to have read book 1?
The reader was lost about some of the abilities mermaids have that I'd demonstrated in book 1, and I hadn't emphasized that I had told them earlier when it occurred.
I'd read a book, Story by Robert McKee where one aspect of writing was "Show, don't tell" and I was really working on that, stripping away as much narration as possible. It is more fun to read, "Jo'Anne focused, and then lifted the stack of Coke cases." Than to read, Jo'Anne is gifted with superhuman strength. But apparently I needed some of both.
Because of the feedback I wrote a prologue filled with a ton of detail from book one. But because of what I read online about people skipping that kind of material, I folded the salient points into chapter one. I think it works better, but now there are a couple of paragraphs of narration.
I've never written a sequel. Chapter one has been the most difficult, where for book 1 it was the easiest. It is tough to make it engaging and descriptive at the same time. I really hope you do enjoy it.
Once I have the manuscript 95% finished, it has to be given to an editor. If there are no more weak spots, it will be deciding if I like their changes and then a final read or two to find any missing words, apostrophes, etc. Last time the editor took three weeks to get the work back to me, so we're looking sometime in August for a release (hopefully).
Rating the Frostbite Publishing beta-read, I give them 4 stars out of 5. It is invaluable to have someone read your manuscript and give you feedback. To make it 5 out of 5, I'd like more contact with the reader. I felt the same way when my first book was edited - maybe it is just me.
Note: This post was resurrected from my old site. It may not be the one that showed up on the site. The date of publication here is from when it was added to this site.