Thursday, November 18, 2010

Beta Reader Time

I've finished rewriting my book, and I got the brilliant idea I'd print it off and get a couple of beta readers to go over it. I went to a talk given by Karen Azinger, who has recently sold a five-book deal, and she suggested beta readers be the friend of a friend. Someone who doesn't really know you and never has to face you again will be more honest. She has a check list she asks the beta reader to do at the end of each chapter and once they have finished the manuscript, she invites the reader out for coffee...and grills them. Grilling people sounds fun to me so I'm doing it.

I hauled the tiny flash-drive down to Kinkos and asked how much it would be to print two copies and spiral-bind them. Whoo hooo, it was a lot. So I asked if I could do two pages on one sheet. He said I could, if it was formatted that way, and then he pivoted and began helping someone else. Do I know how to format it so there are two of the same page on each page? No. I rolled my computer bag in and fired up the laptop, but after fifteen minutes I decided to just buy some ink and print it off myself.

Bad idea. An HP #94 print cartridge only prints about 200 pages. What is up with that? That is highway robbery. That is larceny. That is very expensive. I burned through two cartridges printing off the two copies, single spaced, with title page. Plus it took a very, very long time. The next day I bagged up the two piles and had them bound at Office Depot. I tucked the chapter-by-chapter check list inside, and handed them off to my friend who has lined up two of her friends to act as beta readers.

My babies are off and my heart is thumping. And just to be fair to Kinkos/Office Depot/Office Max, it would have been about the same price to have them do it and bind it, than printing it at home with the steal-the-grocery-money-out-of-the-pockets-of-the-user HP home printer.

As an aside, I have an uneducated character in my book who uses slang and double negatives, etc. Spell-check HATED him. It took so long to run the spell-check, and continually press "ignore rule," that next time I'm packing a lunch.

Okay, I think I'm finished venting now.


  1. I feel your frustration, Melanie.

    I can't remember how many times I've printed off my novel, but it probably cost the same as a down payment on a blasted mortgage!

    I hope you get good feedback. If not, remember it's all subjective.

  2. Wendy,

    I've printed it off before, but only about 100 pages at a time. I think when the expense is spread over time, it doesn't seem as bad. :(

  3. Yay! Your baby is out in the world, can't wait to hear your feedback!! Hmm, I wonder, can you download an unpublished book to Kindle?? I have a cheapo printer that uses a #60 which costs $14. BUT. I recently had to print off 50 copies and it used HALF the ink. What a rip!

    Congratulations on getting to this point! Olivia

  4. Olivia

    Fifty copies? You had to print 50 copies? And only half the ink? Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


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