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Posted on July 6, 2013

Fractured, the joint science fiction/fantasy novel I have been working on with Keith Robinson these past six months, is done the first wave of major edits. It's a thing of beauty, how we melded our stories together and the two of us have nursed it through a good deal of fine tuning. Now it's ready for the next step. We would love to have beta readers read it and give us their thoughts and impressions.

We will fuss with it a bit more through July and then we need some wonderful readers who would like to take three weeks (most likely in August) to dive into our world and tell us what they like and don't like about it. If you come across typos and grammar mistakes, please let us know, but we really want to hear your big picture thoughts on the plot and characters too. I am also curious if readers can see a difference in our writing and if it is jarring or works together to form something stronger. I am, of course, hoping the latter is true.

Here's the possible back cover summary that Keith so wonderfully whipped up:

Fractured: A Tale of Apparatum

The world of Apparatum is divided. To the west lies the high-tech city of Apparati, governed by a corrupt mayor and his brutal military general. To the east, spread around the mountains and forests, the seven enclaves of Apparata are ruled by an overbearing sovereign and his evil chancellor. Between them lies the Ruins, or the Broken Lands – all that's left of a sprawling civilization before it fractured.

Hundreds of years have passed, and neither world knows the other exists.

Laws are harsh. Two young fugitives – Kyle from the city and Logan from the enclaves – escape their homes and set out into the wastelands to forge a new life. But their destinies are intertwined, for the separate worlds of Apparati and Apparata are two faces of the same coin... and it turns out that everyone has a twin.

This novel is the first part of a 2-part story, although the book is complete in itself. The second book explores another aspect of the story, a natural extension of the first, but will be entirely optional. For sci-fi and fantasy fans aged 9 and up.

I've included a Q and A about beta reading that Keith posted over at his site so you know what it entails.

What is a beta reader?

As Wikipedia says, a beta reader is "a person who reads a written work, generally fiction, with what has been described as a critical eye, with the aim of improving grammar, spelling, characterization, and general style of a story prior to its release to the general public."

You don't have to be a professional proofreader or anything like that. We just need avid readers of the sci-fi and fantasy genre who are willing to provide some feedback with regards to anything that seems slow, silly, unrealistic, too dark, clunky, confusing, and so on – basically drawing attention to anything you feel could or should be improved. Also, some of you might be adept at catching typos and grammatical issues, all of which would be gratefully received and dealt with.

How long do I have to read it?

We'll give you exactly three weeks from the day we send you the book.

Where will readers find the published book, and will it really be free?

We'll be publishing Fractured primarily to Kobo and Apple's iBookstore, and various other places that offer free ebooks.

Because it will be free, it won't be available on Amazon straight away. If and when we put it on Amazon, we'll have to price it at the minimum $0.99, and then it'll be in Amazon's hands to hopefully price-match it to $0.00. Barnes & Noble doesn't price-match, so it'll never be free there.

However, it will be available on our author websites as .epub and .mobi files, so Nook and Kindle users will be able to sideload it at any time.

Do I have to review the book afterward?

No, you don't have to, but ratings and reviews are always welcome. The thing about beta reading is that the book may not be at its very best – hence why you're beta reading. So if you read it and find things that could be improved, you would need to take that into account if and when you rate and review it. For instance, you might think it's a 5-star rating but only if a particular bit is rewritten, otherwise it's only a 4-star rating. And for that reason, we would suggest holding off on your review until you've seen the very latest pre-release version, or at least the relevant updated text.

What we don't want to happen is for beta readers to have posted reviews saying, "It was great apart from this really daft bit," when in fact that really daft bit was edited out before publication. So if you do rate and review the book, please take last-minute changes into account.

Where and when should I post a review?

You'll be able to post a review on Goodreads weeks before launch date because we'll have a book page set up already. After that, you can post reviews anywhere the book is available for download.

Do you care what rating I give your book?

Heck yeah! Ratings are very important, particularly in the early days. I do want you to be honest, though, so if you think the book is only worth 3 stars or lower, then fair enough – but then please don't rate it. No rating is better than a low rating! I'm hoping for 4- or 5-star ratings only, so if you think the book is worth it, then please shout it out.

In what format will the book be available for beta reading?

For beta purposes, Fractured will be available as a Kindle .mobi file or a standard .epub file that will work on Nook or other electronic readers. We'll also make it available in .pdf and .doc format if necessary. You'll need to let us know what format you prefer.

It won't be available in print.

Keith really does a nice job of explaining, doesn't he?

Fractured is a project that really drives home to me the need to work with other like-minded authors. Often in the process, I was downright scared how in sync we were with the story path and characterization. The format of how we wrote is immensely rewarding, and we are hoping that readers will see how special and different this collaboration truly is. I can honestly say that I haven't seen a collaboration like this ever before. I am eager to see reader reaction and begin work on the second and final book next January.

If this sounds like your cup of tea, comment below how giddy you are about joining the ranks of gracious beta readers and send me your email so I can fire of the file when it's officially ready.

Comment by KTSLATER on SATURDAY, JULY 6, 2013...
Brian, I would love to help if you need another reader... I love fantasy/sci-fi and editing other people's work, so I will be glad to help if you still need readers. Kathy
Comment by BRIAN CLOPPER on SUNDAY, JULY 7, 2013...
Thanks, Kathy. Just send me your email and I'll add you to our list. I really appreciate it.
Comment by ANITA STOCK on THURSDAY, JULY 25, 2013...
Brian, I would love to help if you are still looking for people.
Comment by BRIAN CLOPPER on FRIDAY, JULY 26, 2013...
Thanks, Anita. If you can have it to us by August 5th, that would be great. Keith will send you an email today.
Comment by STEPHANIE BISER on FRIDAY, JULY 26, 2013...
Kathy is singing your praises and has highly recommended that we read this.
Comment by BRIAN CLOPPER on MONDAY, JULY 29, 2013...
Thank you, Stephanie. I would love another pair of eyes on the book.

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