As promised, here’s an update on one of our very first original projects! What – oh what – could we have in store?
It’s finally time to start talking about things we’ve been working on behind the scenes! Some of it, anyway. At any given time, we’ve actually got a ton of projects in the oven. And while we technically have at least one other project that’s a little further along, this is one that needs to be taken out and stirred, every now and then before it’s truly done. So! Let’s talk about our first big project.
I already mentioned, in passing, two updates ago, that we’re working on a book. As it turns out, that book is going to be in Light Novel format! Artwork and all. It’s one of our more ambitious projects. We’ve been working on it for about a year, now, starting with concept development around this time, last year (Though if we wanna get technical, I’ve been personally working on its framework since late 2017). Then we started writing in August and, as of about a week ago, the first draft is finished!
So what does that mean? Well, as exciting as that all is, the book’s not done quiiite yet. It’s called a “first draft” for a reason. No, the exciting bit is what happens next. The Beta process. Also known as Beta Readers! And that’s where you – yes, you – come into play.
What Is A Beta Reader?
You know what a Closed Beta is for a video game? It’s basically that. But for a book. Basically, a Beta Reader is someone who reads through your story, a good ways out from publication with the goal of helping you improve your work. It’s not the same as a professional edit because… well… Beta Readers aren’t editors. Editors exist to comb through your story for more technical things. Punctuation, spelling, grammar, sentence structure, etc. Beta Readers are there for the more reader-centric experience. Basically, they tell you what they liked and what they didn’t. It’s sort of like a workshop, but more private, rather than being an open forum.
How Does The Process Work?
I’m glad you asked! So, here’s more or less what you can expect and what we expect from you.
The first and most obvious question is, of course, how this is going to be conducted. And there’s actually an option in place. We’ll either be conducting an interview over Facebook Messenger/Discord DMs, or we’ll send you a Questionnaire (roughly 10 questions, probably fewer) which you’ll fill out, then send back to us through either Messenger, Discord, or Email. The interview process is more thorough, but it takes more time. The Questionnaire is less thorough but more convenient. And also, for those who have social anxiety issues (or just don’t like speaking to people directly), the Questionnaire could easily help to curb this.
As the chapters are on the long side, you’ll be sent one chapter at a time, and expected to complete them within 1 week, each. After one week? A friendly reminder. After two weeks? Why, all nagging becomes fair game! After a month, we maaay have to replace ya. No hard feelings! People get busy. We understand. And, if you have to drop out, we only ask that you let us know ahead of time so we can find someone else. As soon as you finish a chapter and are able, you get a hold of us for the interview or send us the Questionnaire. For reference, the book is nine chapters in length + one epilogue.
If you’re filling out the Questionnaire, we’re expecting the answers to be as detailed as possible. Though “I don’t know” and “I have no opinion” are acceptable answers in most cases. The same goes for the interview, really. Basically, when filling out the Questionnaire, shoot for 1-paragraph answers or more, if you can.
As this is a Closed Beta, you probably already guessed this. But there is no sharing or conversing about what you’ve read with anyone else. And yes. Our manuscript is, in fact, copyrighted.
And the last thing to note is that the Beta Process isn’t a formal event. You don’t need to write a full dissertation with cited sources and immaculate spelling and grammar. You can approach it as casually as you like. Once your answers are in or you’ve taken the time to let us interview you, your job’s done. The next stage for us is to move on to the professional edit, the artwork, and then all the boring stuff that precedes publication.
What Is The Book About?
Oh, right. It might be a good idea to tell you guys what, exactly, the story’s about, right? Well, here’s the short version.
The series we’re working on is called Burning Sky. It’s an Action/Adventure, Sci-Fantasy project, set in a world that’s already ended once and now, generations later, societies have rebuilt themselves – some from scratch, others on the bones of the old world. Mankind shares the world with a race of horned beings called Djinn, who possess supernatural abilities. But it’s a far cry from peaceful coexistence. Meanwhile, the world is at the constant mercy of monsters called Akuma – devils with metal skin and hellfire in their veins. It’s an epic of knights and demons, magic and technology, prejudice and war.
This first volume is a mere prelude to what we’ve been working on – establishing the core characters and setting up their individual arcs. It’s the story of a fledgling knight with dreams of being a hero, a retired veteran who feels he has yet more to offer the world, and a Djinn hostess just trying to care for her sister in a nation of cutthroats, all leading to how they inevitably wind up in the same place and kick off the events to come.
But who would you have to be to enjoy it? Well, as target audience goes, we want as many people to be able to enjoy this as possible. So the age range is essentially 13+ and doesn’t aim itself at any particular gender. As our own first language is English, the primary language found in the book is… well… English (American). Though there is a caveat as a handful of characters emulate other real-world nationalities. So there are some other languages thrown in there. In this particular volume, the most prominent second language is Japanese, with a few phrases thrown in (not whole passages, don’t worry) from some bilingual characters. But there’s also some Spanish, as well as a bit of slang and vernacular from other English dialects. (Plans for later volumes also include a lot more Spanish, plus French and a ton more Japanese)
“But is there any content in here for you to be… concerned about?” Guys, c’mon. It’s us, you’re talkin’ about. That said, there’s not much to mention in the way of polarizing content. Language is present (though very little in this first book). And it’s also fairly violent, but not overly graphically so. The most hot-button subject in the story is that of racism and slavery. So if the mere concept of this triggers you, even without knowing the context, then you can now say you’ve been warned… I guess.
Where Do I Sign Up?!
Well, right here! Below is a form that you can fill out. It’ll send us an email that we’ll review and, if we think you’d be a good fit, we’ll get back to you on the provided Email, Discord, or Social Media. You’re also free to just send us a DM on Twitter, if you follow our Twitter Account and give us the answers to the questions there. The same goes for if you already have any of our other contact information – Facebook, Discord, whatever.
We’re really looking forward to hearing from you and seeing what your feedback can tell us about how we could improve things! This is a really exciting passion project, for us. One that we have some really big plans for. So I’m really hoping we can make it into something that others enjoy as much as we did, putting it together. That’s all from us, for now. As always, thanks for reading, folks. Keep up the Awesome!