Beta Readers

A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it. Thank you for volunteering to read my very first book! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

So, what is a beta reader?

You may be wondering what you’ve volunteered for. A beta reader is someone who assists the author by reviewing a pre-release version of a book.

Don’t hold back.

Tell me what you think. I expect you to be honest and harsh!

Because I have to declare a “genre” for JarMar, I’m thinking that it’s a middle-grade piece of contemporary fiction. As you read, think 9 to 12-year-olds, although I think there are many lessons for adults. 

Although John and I have gone over the manuscript with a fine-toothed comb, you may find typos, grammar errors, and missing words. Please mark those so I can clean them up.

But I don’t want that to be your focus. I especially would appreciate your feedback on big-picture items, such as:

  • Does the story engage you? Did you get emotionally involved with the story?
  • Is the pacing proper? Are there sections that drag?
  • Do the characters seem real? Humans and critters? Did you identify with one particular character? Is the dialogue consistent? 
  • Did I leave too many clues so that you figured out the ending?
  • Or did I not leave enough, making you feel like I pulled a fast one at the end? 


Most of all, I want you to enjoy the read.

I started this book 13 years ago and it has sat on my computer for about 11 of those 13 years. I figured it was time to finally be able to check this off of my “bucket list” and get it done. I have completely rewritten the story several times, tearing it apart, shuffling scenes, deleting and inserting characters, and tweaking the plot. 

Oh, how soon would I like replies? I’m hoping to get your feedback within 1-3 weeks, so I can move along and get it finalized. I estimate that it will take you about 3-5 hours to read.

I’ve put the manuscript into two formats that you can download below:

Microsoft Word Format (docx)

If you are using MS Word, please make sure the “Track Changes” option is turned on (under the Review Tab), which will enable you to mark typos and add comments. Just save your updates and email the file back to me when you are done.

Portable Document Format (PDF)

Some PDF readers will let you annotate the file. If yours supports that option, then make your notes in the file and return them to me when you finish. If your reader doesn’t let you markup the file, then record your notes in whatever format is easiest for you (paper or electronic) and send them to me when you are done. You can also read the pdf version on your Kindle or any other mobile reader app.

For either of the above formats, if it’s easier, you can record notes and suggestions on paper, take a photo and send that to me.

Let me know If you have questions or problems with any of the attachments.

Again, I hope you enjoy The Legend of JarMar!

Thanks again. You are the best!