Well, I finished this morning, and dumped this beast on my readers. I have also arranged for Kinko's to print me a couple hard copies, so I can edit on paper for typos and spelling while my betas have it. I refuse to do ANY story/plot editing until I hear back from my band of super-great readers.
Here is the small note I sent to them, since some of them have never done this kind of thing before:
Congratulations! You are part of the few, the proud, the suckers. Somehow, I conned you into reading this beast, with an eye toward helping me make it better.
I encourage you to do at least the first read-through like you would any book you picked up for enjoyment. Just, read the story, enjoy it (or not) as you can. Be entertained, learn to love or hate our hero, whatever. Ultimately, I just want to know if you liked it!
Then, if it wasn’t vile and you can stand it, go back through with a more critical eye and look for specific things to give me feedback on.
Here’s a few things I’m specifically looking for:
** Honesty. Total, brutal honesty. You are all my friends, but please don’t let that cloud your judgment.
** Word-count-wise, this is too short to be a novel. Anything you see that you think “Hey, I’d like to know more!” or “Hey, she could expand on that there”, lemme know.
** Totally contradicting that, if you see a scene/paragraph/sentence that you think needs to be cut, lemme know that too.
** Look for things that yank you out of the story. If you see something that is totally distracting, mark it, let me know.
** If you find yourself at chapter 3, thinking “ZOMG, will the torture never end”, feel free to stop reading. But please, let me know exactly WHERE you lost interest, and why.
I am hoping to be able to catch most typo/spelling/grammar errors on my own, but if you see one that is just glaringly apparent, feel free to mark that too.
There’s no time limit on this, so don’t feel rushed. Everyone has real lives that need tending to first. If you have any questions, let me know!
So, have at it everyone! I think I'll find something else to stress about for a few days/weeks/however long it takes.