Beta Readers: Part II

First, a few excerpts from the many, many messages I’ve received recently.

  • “Do you need another Beta Reader? I’d be happy to help….”
  • “I read on one of your latest blogs something about beta readers. I had no clue there was such a thing, but now I know about it I want to be one.”
  • “I think beta-reading sounds like the best job in the world–next to testing the softness of puppy-tummy-fur with one’s face all day.”

People have given many credentials and uttered many a plaintive plea. There have even been blatant attempts at bribery. People have offered me cash, computers, and promises of their undying love. About the only thing people didn’t offer is livestock and sexually explicit pictures of themselves.

I should have seen it coming, but honestly, I didn’t.

I know a lot of people would love to help me out by giving a beta read…

Wait, that’s not entirely true, is it?

What I meant to say is that a lot of people would love to read an early copy of the book, and, largely by coincidence, help me out with a beta read.

But I just can’t feel good about it. ** [See edit below.]

  • “I’d like to volunteer.  I know there is probably some precautions you have to take to make sure it’s not leaked, but I’ll do whatever you need, sign a contract, send in a testicle, mail in a kid for collateral, whatever… seriously though I can keep my mouth shut.”

Ultimately, this strikes at the heart of the issue.

Back when I was working on The Name of the Wind, I would give a copy of the book to anyone who even hinted they wanted to read it.

Getting other people’s feedback on the book is a key element of my revision process. You see, I’ve read this book so many times in so many versions, that I need an external view of it. A triangulation point, if you will…

But these days, I can’t just hand it out all higgledy piggledy. Things are more complicated. These days I have to worry about people leaking early, crappy versions of the book onto the net months before the pub date.

I know, deep in my heart of hearts, that most people would never dream of doing such a thing. But all it takes is one jackass….

And yeah, I have a non-disclosure form. Everyone signs it before they get the book. Even Sarah signed it.

It’s a vicious fucking thing that goes something like this:

You, by signing below, agree that you’ll do everything in your power to protect this manuscript and keep its contents secret. If you fail in this, and are a big chatty Cathy about it, I, Patrick Rothfuss, will fuck you up.

I will do this on all possible levels: financially, socially, physically, and spiritually.

If you lend it to your girlfriend who leaves it on the bus and then some jackhole finds it and it ends up on the internet, I will de-corn your cob. Seriously. Your entire cob. Every single kernel of corn. I am not even fucking kidding….

It goes on like that for some time. It is so terrifying that one of my friends said he didn’t feel comfortable leaving the house with his copy of the book.

But really, the non-disclosure form isn’t going to help. If the book gets leaked, I’ll be pissed forever, and suing some daft bastard into the ground won’t fix that.

  • “Do i have to invade a small nation? Do I have to sing show tunes in Times Square? Or is it just one of those “inner sanctum of friends” kind of thing?”

Ultimately, yeah. At this point it is. I have to know you personally, so I can trust you. It’s also important for me to know you because that helps me put your comments in context.

The other problem is that for me to really get the most out of a beta reader, I like to be able to sit down with them over coffee and chat about the book. I like to be able to leaf through the manuscript, ask them questions about their comments, and pick their brains about certain key issues. And seeing how most of you don’t live here in Stevens Point, that’s kinda hard.

So this blog is to say thanks to everyone who offered to help. I’d love to be able to take you up on your offers, but I’m afraid I’ll have to pass.

More soon,

pat

** Edit – May 18th

When I looked at the comments today, I was surprised to see people offering hugs of consolation, and giving me support, and telling me not to let the messages get me down.

This was kind of a surprise to me, as the messages I got from people asking to be beta readers were, by and large, lovely, considerate, flattering things.

So I re-read the blog and found the problem. It’s the following line:

“But I just can’t feel good about it.”

What we have here is a classic case of unspecific pronoun. It seems like I’m saying that I can’t feel good about all the people asking to read book two. But that’s not the case. I’m cool with that. As I’ve said, it’s really rather flattering, and I wish I could take people up on their offers. Because, as I’ve said, I love feedback.

That sentence should read, “But I just can’t feel good about handing out copies of book two to strangers.”

This, my friends, is why I do a lot of revisions. One misused pronoun and the entire emphasis of a piece of writing gets fucked up.

Just wanted to clarify.

Love,

pat

This entry was posted in book two, the business of writing, the craft of writingBy Pat116 Responses

116 Comments

  1. Andres J.
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 4:29 AM | Permalink

    Pat,

    I guess keeping the book close is the best alternative. I’d love to read any manuscript as much as anyone who comes here as soon as you post, but in the end the magic resides in the final version of the book and the feedback you get from beta-readers that were conscripted through the internet is going to be flimsy at best.

    Keep up the good work and squeeze as much beta reading from your current ones.

    Best

  2. saintburns
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 4:31 AM | Permalink

    in this single post you crushed so many dreams. That’s ok though, we forgive you ^^

  3. AMKoenig
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 4:41 AM | Permalink

    ::hugs::

    Boy, I’ll tell ya, listening to your experiences makes me think I’m just going to tuck those stories I’ve written into a trunk somewhere and let my grandkids find them instead of trying to get published.

    Seriously… ::hugs::

  4. kinggruffalothe3rd
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 4:49 AM | Permalink

    Well, good job i refrained from offering my services as a beta reader. I had wondered about the security issues and now i know.

    On another note, thanks for pointing me in the direction of ‘The adventures of Sexton Blake’.
    Its a truly wicked audio play and everyone should check it out.

    Good luck with all the revisions.

    All the best,

    Gruff

  5. jasmin
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 5:09 AM | Permalink

    Hey Pat^^

    I think just about everyone who reads your blog would just love to read a copy of the 2nd book XD

    We all love your writing so I think it would be a lot harder to find someone who would not want to be a beta reader XD

    But in fact, I think I’d react the same way or even more protective of the script. You work and have worked so hard to come this far!
    It’s because of this safety stuff that so many readers can enjoy the book at it’s best and share their opinions about it with one another at the same time.
    There are jackasses in the world and we can just try to evade them^^

    So just continue the way it is^^ You’re doing a great job, the best one possible in fact and i’m sure everyone understands your point^^

    Good luck with the internet by the way^^
    Big hug,
    Jasmin

  6. Tyson
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 5:12 AM | Permalink

    Okay, I’m not sure who is more naive, you for not seeing this coming, or all the fans who really thought they had a chance in hell of you taking them up on their offer.

    But you can’t blame them for trying.

    I’m going to go write to Brandon Sanderson to see if he’ll let me be a beta reader for the new Wheel of Time book. If he turns me down, I’m sure George R. R. Martin is still looking for some help with A Dance With Dragons.

    • avi
      Posted May 17, 2010 at 4:39 PM | Permalink

      haha I think even Brandon Sanderson had to sign a non disclosure form for the Wheel of Time

      Although if you went to his website while he was writing his own book Warbreaker, rough drafts were available publicly for critique

      • Tyson
        Posted May 18, 2010 at 1:57 AM | Permalink

        I remember that, though I chose to wait until the final draft was out. I’ve tried my hand at writing a novel – I suck – but I know enough to know that the first couple drafts can be pretty bad and change a lot before the final version.

  7. North00
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 5:24 AM | Permalink

    Kind of saw this coming after reading a couple of comments from the previous post. You people earn a big fat frowny face =(

  8. Posted May 17, 2010 at 6:23 AM | Permalink

    I could definitely see how a beta reader could head into some shady Slugworth territory… You wouldn’t want to be in a Steve Jobs position.

    I think I would be terrified that I would inadvertently leak some tiny detail that would explode into a terrible terrible situation. I’m not the best secret keeper. I’d be a terrible beta reader anyway, as I would probably fail to offer anything constructive, with all of my gushing about how much I loved it.

    But I think it’s wonderful that you’re fans are so enthusiastic about your book. Goodness know I am!

  9. sortova
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 6:32 AM | Permalink

    Dude, for a smart man I can’t believe you didn’t see thousands and thousands of people begging to be beta readers. 

    I, for one, don’t want to see a copy until it is frackin done. TNoTW was damn near perfect, and even the one part I think drags moves along better by the third reading. I am desparate for the rest of the story, but only if it is as good or not better than the first. 

    Plus, I beta read for a friend of mine and it is not fun. It can be a lot of work. Plus, since he is my oldest friend, I’m always coming up with some deep psychological connections in themes and character names he chooses, and that can be uncomfortable (think about reading a sex scene written by your brother). 

    • Rob
      Posted May 17, 2010 at 8:58 PM | Permalink

      Amen, brother.

      I want the real McCoy too. I don’t have enough time in my life to read something the author isn’t satisfied with, unless of course he’s a very close friend. So speaking of which, I also alpha/beta read for an aspiring sci-fi author buddy, and it most certainly is a lot of work. I feel like I’m always the bad guy no matter how constructive my criticism may be.

  10. rmaloney
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 6:34 AM | Permalink

    This process must really suck as an author. I can somewhat relate. As a software developer I love to create but I loathe debugging.

  11. evil
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 6:49 AM | Permalink

    I understand that you want to protect your content, it just sucks you can’t trust anyone you didn’t know pre-NoTW.

    My new master plan is to buy the house next to you and convince you to let me be a beta reader! Muahahaha….

  12. guessingo
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 6:52 AM | Permalink

    I am a registered republican. If I can be a beta reader I will sign a contract to promise to

    1. quit the republican party
    2. join the democratic party
    3. campaign for Borack Obama. If he has become too moderate for you, I will campaigh for the candidate of your choice
    4. Join the national organization for women and confess for previous hatred for women. I will then let the NOW ladies beat me and put me in the hospital for my sins.
    5. donate a kindey to a dying child
    6. sign an organ donar card that only allows my organs to be donated toliberals
    7. renounce christianity and take up any religion or non-religion that you believe
    8. worship you as my lord and savior
    9. Build a shrine in your honor and place rose petals on it every day.
    10. Convert to homosexuality to show my support for gay marriage. (the book needs to be really good to get me to go this far)
    11. Sell my sole to the devil and give you the proceeds.

    • kungfusinger
      Posted May 17, 2010 at 9:48 AM | Permalink

      … I wonder if the devil even likes fish?

    • Ivi
      Posted May 17, 2010 at 12:04 PM | Permalink

      What if you already worship him and have built a shrine?

    • Mickey
      Posted May 19, 2010 at 2:11 PM | Permalink

      I think Pat may have already signed on the Devil’s dotted line. In return for a galactic portion of literary talent, Pat provides the Morningstar with “soles” of all those poor bastards whose corn cobs he has denuded !

  13. Posted May 17, 2010 at 7:15 AM | Permalink

    I hope you got the computer/internet thing fixed. While I don’t want the overwhelming responsibility of beta reading, I do miss hearing from you more often.

    Of course, if you are mostly just glad that you have more time to fix the 6th final draft…I understand and will shut up.

    I hope the editing is going well.

  14. Feldoth
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

    Pat, someone possibly related to you help develop a Spider-Goat: http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/research-innovations/videos/got-silk

    Is this awesome? Y/N

    • Posted May 20, 2010 at 1:00 PM | Permalink

      Huh. That’s interesting. But I really don’t know any other Rothfi outside my immediate family.

  15. Trickster
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 7:31 AM | Permalink

    It seems like you really love your coffee. Wonder how much you spend on it per month.

    Yep, pretty much all that came to mind when I read that entry.

    • Posted May 17, 2010 at 11:34 AM | Permalink

      if he’s anything like me it’s a lot….

      I probably sped more on coffee then I do on Gas for my car.

      • Widow Of Sirius
        Posted May 17, 2010 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

        Ditto. It’s insane really. My boyfriend made fun of me this morning for being sad that I’m running out again, and it’s only been a little over a week since I bought some.

    • Posted May 20, 2010 at 1:01 PM | Permalink

      Lately it’s been tea, actually…

      • Trickster
        Posted May 20, 2010 at 9:57 PM | Permalink

        Hm, Tea? Doesn’t sound like my thing. Well, I said that about coffee too; couldn’t see how people could be so addicted to it… … and then I went to Starbucks. Inexperienced, I ordered an advertised (big sign with picture) Caramel Frappachino. I sipped it, leisurely and thought well, this was a huge fucking waste of money. After all, I could have raped the mc donalds dollar meal! But as days went on I kept remembering that taste, smooth on my tongue and refreshing. And then I bought another one. And then another one. And— and I won’t try the tea goddammit! Tch.

  16. Just_Jo
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 7:34 AM | Permalink

    People stop trying to work into the man his feelings and try to becoma a beta read >.> A no is a no and working on someones guild is just low.

  17. jayowen
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 7:36 AM | Permalink

    Pat, I would be happy to be a Beta Reader for the Paperback Version of the book. ;-)

  18. pjmintz
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 8:02 AM | Permalink

    It seems only right that you find it impossible to trust people you don’t know personally. I’d say that’s true of just about every sane person.

    Now I’m curious to know whether you’ve made any new close friends since you’ve morphed into New-York-Times-best-selling-author-Patrick-Rothfuss.

    It seems the kind of popularity that would tend to isolate somebody – making it harder to know who to trust.

    • Posted May 20, 2010 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

      Yeah. I’ve made some cool new acquaintances, but no real close friends. To me, friends are people who come over to your house and hang out. Not people you see at conventions 2-3 times a year…

  19. Posted May 17, 2010 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

    So, you’re saying you want me to move to Stevens Point and be your friend?
    I thought you’d never ask!

    Just kidding. Good luck, Pat.

    PS – To “guessingo” – Regarding number 11 of your list… (and there are other opportunities your post leaves open for sniping, but I picked #11)… I don’t think the devil would give you much for the bottom of your shoe, but maybe that’s just me. Maybe WE’VE had it wrong all along; the devil doesn’t want our immortal souls, he wants our rubber soles!

  20. Lucid Moments
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 8:28 AM | Permalink

    I think its funny that so many people claim to want to be beta readers. Not funny in a haha kind of way either.

    Maybe thats because I’m a “funny” kind of guy myself. Who knows.

    Of course the issue is that most people don’t really want to be a beta reader, what they want is an early copy of the book. And who can blame them for that. I want an early copy of the book too. I’m not going to get one of course but that doesn’t mean I don’t want one.

    The thing is that, to me, being a beta reader would be WORK. I would have to sit down with what I was beta reading and a pad and pen and while I was reading it and make notes on exactly what I did and didn’t like and why I didn’t like it. That would really take away my enjoyment of the book and if I don’t enjoy reading the book then what is the point?

    So, I am perfectly content to wait until March 1 for my copy. Of course if it is March 2 I shall send an evil clown assasin to steal a copy from Pats house.

    • pjmintz
      Posted May 17, 2010 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

      I second that. I’d rather my first impression of the book be made from the final version – when it’s the best book it can be. I’d rather not have my enjoyment of it marred by any rough edges, or the need to do work.

      That said, if I could get my hands on a copy of the final book now, I’d be a very happy camper. (I’d also be in possession of a time machine, which would make me even happier.)

    • Posted May 20, 2010 at 1:05 PM | Permalink

      Yeah. I think they’re right. Most people assume that an early draft of the book is just like the final draft, but with some typos. That’s just not the case…

  21. Posted May 17, 2010 at 9:15 AM | Permalink

    Re: “I can’t believe so many people begged to be beta readers” comments

    Isn’t it possible that the posters were merely expressing their sincere love for the novel through offering their own servitude? I can’t imagine that they all seriously believed they had a chance at being a beta reader–if they did then there’d be more

    “I WILL TOTALLY MOVE TO STEVENS POINT RIGHT NOW” posts…

    Right? Or am I just naive.

    P.S. Pat, as a law student, I heart your disclaimer form.

  22. Gf60
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

    Oh woe. A note to the author goes unread. Re mine of May 15 11.43 on Name of the Wind….
    “But, why two different wrappers? I’d love to know the answer.”

  23. Widow Of Sirius
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 9:36 AM | Permalink

    Oh Pat, I honestly laughed out loud when I read that you didn’t see this coming.

    But that’s okay. I’m glad you made this post, and while I do think many of your readers really do want to help, I think you’re right that most just want an early copy with the bonus of being somewhat helpful. Not that I can blame them wholeheartedly – who DOESN’T want to read Wise Man’s Fear?

    And all you folks saying you’d move to Point, there are definitely pros and cons to the place. I love it, but if you’re from a city/metropolitan area, you might find the adjustment a bit hard here. Stevens Point is like a little girl playing dress-up in her mommy’s clothes – thinks she’s all growed up, but she’s only got the accessories.

    • Posted May 17, 2010 at 11:15 AM | Permalink

      honestly I laughed too…

      I figured he didn’t see it coming when I read the first post. i figured if he had he probably would have put in some sort of disclaimer or something.

  24. Jaybles
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 9:40 AM | Permalink

    So, I’d settle for coffee and comments, I don’t need to be a Beta reader. We don’t even have to talk about the book…

    We could talk about cake, or pie, or even… Cookies!

    • kungfusinger
      Posted May 17, 2010 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

      I’m with Jaybles. I’m going to Philadelphia in July and was tempted to make the trip out to Steven’s Point just to meet you. Too bad you’ll be at Comicon.

  25. Shnargen
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 9:52 AM | Permalink

    I don’t understand people. There is no way I would want to read the book before it was finished, especially if there were changes to be made. If you were to walk into the room with the manuscript right now, i would run screaming, because the only version I want to read is the final. I mean, I had the end of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince ruined for me. I was pissed. I also have had the ending to pretty mych every M.Night Shaymalan spoiled too. I’m just really bitter about that, and I don’t understand why anyone would want to do that to themselves by reading a beta version. Just saying.

    • PirateXxEsque
      Posted May 18, 2010 at 7:20 AM | Permalink

      I think that someone spoiling the end of a novel is completely different to reading not-quite-finished manuscripts.
      Someone spoiling a novel kind of implies they’ve given away all the major turning points in a novel, so you can’t experience the journey. You miss out on all the tension, all the drama.
      But reading a late draft, well that kind of means you’re exposed to the book in the same way as reading the final, but somethings aren’t quite right, perhaps still too raw.

      But I see your point. (:

      I think (for me anyway) the appeal is in both being able to read it as soon as possible (being really excited about the story), and then being able to see what differences arise out of Pat’s revisions.

  26. ardnaid
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 9:52 AM | Permalink

    I understand the need for the strict contract and all that, especially in these days where the internet spreads leaked stuff like a popular woman of the night spreads STDs. The whole 7th Harry Potter debacle comes to mind. It makes me sad, though. People who might be genuinely good betas never get the chance. I myself have harbored the desire, but even if given the opportunity, I know from past experiences that I am too much of a procrastinator and terrible at keeping secret things secret. :)

    • Little My
      Posted May 17, 2010 at 6:45 PM | Permalink

      A popular LADY spreads STDs, you mean.

      Always call a whore a lady. Her life is hard enough, and it never hurts to be polite. I once read something like that somewhere once.

  27. Arcy
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 9:58 AM | Permalink

    Admit it, this is just a ploy to drive up your property values!

    *giggle*

  28. kungfusinger
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

    Stephenie Meyer had a beta version of a book leaked. It pissed her off so much she decided to abandon not only the book, but the whole series as well.

    For those of you who make joking references about leaking versions, think about how you and everyone else would feel if a leaked version pissed Pat off that much.

    Pat, I’m rooting for you. I hope you find people you can trust to read you drafts. I’m more than willing to wait my proper turn to read your book. If I ever do get a chance to go to a signing or to meet you in person, though, you can bet I’ll be there in a heartbeat!

    • kniko
      Posted May 18, 2010 at 1:00 AM | Permalink

      Holy crap… Your some kind of witch (family guy ref.)… I was thinking that same thing. Really sucked that she stopped too, cause the books were great.

    • Bobert
      Posted May 19, 2010 at 9:51 PM | Permalink

      It is awful that someone leaked an early copy of Ms. Myer’s book to the internet. She trusted someone and was betrayed. There is simply no excuse for that. However…
      The world, as a whole, owes that malevolent gossip a large debt of gratitude. Only, what? Two more movies to go and we can all forget about some of the worst written books of all time. I really appreciate the sentiment though and I think you are 100% right. But please, don’t compare one of my favorite authors of all time to that hack.

      • kungfusinger
        Posted May 20, 2010 at 11:26 PM | Permalink

        I was not comparing authors, just possible scenarios. Very few authors, in my oppinion, come close to the same level as our Pat.

        One of the few is Anne McCafferey for creating Pern and it’s dragonriders.

        And yes, I know I am opening myself up for criticism for citing a non-Rothfuss as a great author. Pat, I sure hope you are flattered rather than annoyed, because your opinion is the only one of the blog readers’ that matters.

  29. Posted May 17, 2010 at 11:10 AM | Permalink

    Honestly, I wouldn’t want to be a beta reader. It might change my already deity like view of you. :D

    Seriously the way I see it, I love your writing, and I wouldn’t want that to change. Sure I’m SUPER EXCITED about the next book, but to read it before you feel it’s perfect?

    No, I’ll pass and read it when you feel it’s worthy.

    Besides, my birthday is in march and your book will be the best gift!

  30. Posted May 17, 2010 at 11:23 AM | Permalink

    You’re absolutely right not to let random people- even well-intentioned ones- read your precious book.

    A real-life of example of this going poorly is Stephanie Myer’s Midnight Sun, which is Twilight from the pedophile vampire’s perspective instead of the jailbait’s. She lent part of it to someone for editing and guess what? it ended up on the Interwebs for the the immediate consumption of a hundred thousand raving teenagers. And their moms, apparently.

    (don’t ask how I know this. I plead understanding, and that I have two little sisters)

    Or, there’s the old story about Hemingway. He lent the only copy of a novel he was writing to his wife (mistress? I can’t remember) and the woman lost it.

  31. annette414
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

    I’m in the “patiently waiting for the final version” camp :)

    Though I’d love to sit down for cookies and have a chat. Just tell me your favorite and I’ll have them when I visit ;) (As I currently have no plans to travel to the midwest, I’ll spend time perfecting the perfect recipe to lure favorite authors for a relaxing chat).

  32. Wrhapsody
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 11:50 AM | Permalink

    I want to say, I would love to read it early, but after what happened to the fifth book of Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, I would rather wait for the final outcome to hit Barnes and Noble than for your genius to be splashed across the net.

  33. senkura
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

    I actually once tried to apply to a publishing house to be a reader; going through the slush pile of manuscripts to find something decent, but I never heard back. Granted, I was 12, but…

    It’s understandable that you would want to keep the manuscript amongst people you trust. You know, so you know where they live and can “fuck them up” if they happen to lose it.

    :D

  34. Ogre_rage
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

    Heya Pat,

    Yeah I guess since I’m just writing my first draft of my first book I really dont care who reads it because the book has chaged about five times this last year. Oh and I am not asking you to read it because well I want to read your book next year and my book is a pile o’poo at the moment.any who time to get back to whats paying the bills at the moment.

    • kniko
      Posted May 18, 2010 at 1:08 AM | Permalink

      I’ll read it.. Toss me an email at kneek0@live dot com the 0 is a zero. ;-)
      don’t say u didn’t see this coming.
      Nico

  35. Synergy012
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

    Pat, I think you are selling us all a little short. Of course we’d all kill (figuratively… I think) to get a sneak peak at AWMF. I mean we love everything you write: the blog, those advice columns. We even dropped $25 on a fairy tale. But I don’t think that is why we all want to be beta readers. I won’t say that our motives are entirely or even mostly altruistic. I don’t think we are saying, “Poor Pat, he has so much work to do, what can I do to ease his burden so that he can spend more time with adorable Oot.” However, I do believe that we all love TNotW and anticipate loving AWMF. As such we want to be a part of it. A part of its creation. A part of its legacy. A part of its story even (as evidenced by the name raffle). That is why we all so desperately want to beta read.

    P.S. Yes, I am speaking for everyone.

    P.P.S. For all those still hoping to beta read, I am pretty sure its a lost cause. If you remember this years golden ticket post, Pat said something to the effect of, “You can ask for a signed copy of AWMF as soon as it comes out. The clear implication being that even for $15,000 you dont get the book early.

    P.P.P.S. I just got myself curious. What did our very own Charlie Brown ask for?

    • Synergy012
      Posted May 17, 2010 at 11:04 PM | Permalink

      * Charlie Bucket (we really need a way to edit our comments)

    • Posted May 20, 2010 at 1:09 PM | Permalink

      I probably would have let a golden Ticket winner be a beta reader if that’s what they wanted to pick…

      • Posted May 20, 2010 at 3:24 PM | Permalink

        Curse you Pat. Curse you a thousand times. I’ve been debating doing exactly that for weeks.

        • Posted May 20, 2010 at 6:26 PM | Permalink

          Were you the winner? If so, and you’re interested, you should drop me a line. We can probably work something out.

  36. Harvir
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 12:39 PM | Permalink

    At first being a beta reader seems kind of cool – beside getting to read the book earlier, you get to see how the story develops through each draft into the final book – but I think it’d lessen the experience that you’d get if you waited and read the final finished book as the author intended. In a way, it’s a bit like watching Doctor Who Confidential before watching the actual episode (it’s like a behind-the-scenes thing); you’ll still enjoy it but it definitely wouldn’t be as great as if you’d watched the episode first. Probably a better comparison would be the difference between reading a book for the first time and reading the same book again immediately after.

  37. NotQuiteAnAngel
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 12:55 PM | Permalink

    Ahh…the post I knew would be coming, and written with a perfect amount of sarcasm and sincerity. Well done!
    I am positive most of your biggest fans were just trying to be a part of your writing process, your life, and the book. Who wouldn’t want the trust of Patrick Rothfuss AND get free coffee? (You do pay, right?)
    Although I am not sure they considered that all these comments are much like standing in front of a class filled with children with their hands raised, yelling “Pick me, Pick me!!”. :)

  38. Posted May 17, 2010 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

    I don’t think you fully understand the influence your words have or you would be more careful with phrases like: “About the only thing people didn’t offer is livestock and sexually explicit pictures of themselves.” You are no doubt about to recieve a large amount of sexually explicit pictures featuring your readers and their favorite livestock.

  39. stspence
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 3:25 PM | Permalink

    What?! Three drops of blood in a sealed vial wouldn’t have been enough insurance?

    Anyway, pretty clear that it is a matter of trust. It isn’t easy to tell today, so I can understand the better safe than sorry approach.

    Looking forward to the book whenever it comes out.

  40. desert rat
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 3:45 PM | Permalink

    I guess I can’t be a beta reader, but…

    Joss Whedon alert —
    You may not be a Glee fan but now is a good time to get infected like me. Tuesday night’s episode is guest-directed by Joss Whedon and has Neil Patrick Harris in a guest role. I’m doubly excited. Triply excited. It’s little perks like this that keep me from the pit of despair while waiting for TWMF. And I know how involved the process is to finish editing and proofreading, design huge book, layout huge book, tweak final edit and proof first typesetting, correct, proof, edit some more, correct, proof, tweak layout, proof, send to printer for prepress, proof that, burn plates, proof that, first press run, and (finally) distribute, so I am impressed with your ambitious publish date you gave us a few posts back.

    Waiting patiently for the best, while wishing you good planet alignment…

    • Posted May 17, 2010 at 4:41 PM | Permalink

      The preview looks amazing. Love love love NPH.
      And Joss? There aren’t words.

    • Cara
      Posted May 17, 2010 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

      I was just going to post about that! And NPH is playing Mr. Schuester’s high school nemesis so I’m sure there will be an epic sing-off! So excited!!

  41. avi
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

    getting the beta isn’t all it’s cracked up to be
    Anyone who’s played the SBURB Beta knows this

  42. Vincent
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 5:18 PM | Permalink

    ….and suddenly, real estate prices in Stevens Point are skyrocketing…

  43. A_Watts
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 5:33 PM | Permalink

    Pat,
    I actually have a different sort of question about your last post! You mentioned that some of your alpha readers were people that roleplayed in your world. At that time did you use a standard version of the magic system for whatever game you were running, or did you have a custom designed system for dealing with Sympathy as we know it?

    Best regards,
    A. Watts

    • Posted May 20, 2010 at 5:17 PM | Permalink

      I play Hero System, which is really flexible. So I used their rules to re-create sympathy.

      • kungfusinger
        Posted May 20, 2010 at 11:28 PM | Permalink

        I bet you’d make a bundle off RPG rulebooks for your world. Just sayin’…

  44. Olympia
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 7:07 PM | Permalink

    I’m kinda surprised there isn’t some sort of national or worldwide Beta readers organization, where all they do all day is read drafts and critique. Hmmm… maybe something I should start. Have all my employees backround checked and disclosure formed to the eyes. Okay I’m copywriting my idea right now, and starting the business.

  45. Posted May 17, 2010 at 7:38 PM | Permalink

    Haha. I would post a offer to beta read your book two, but I saw the huge pile of “hey, i’m a bug catcher and i love you and your book and i want to beta test it. Serious, i’d never leak it. And if i do, you can have all my pokemons!”.
    When I read your last post i was like “omg Pat is insane.”.
    But i don’t think that most of the people who posted here posted only to read an early draft of the book, most of then, including me if I had posted, offered to help because they love your writings and want to be a part of it. Maybe show the book after the release to their friends and, full of pride, point them “Did you read that part? That was a tip I gave to him! Die of envy motherfucker!” It’s part of the human nature, when we think that something is worth and we really like it we all want to be a part of it.
    Don’t consider that as a “I wanna sell your draft on ebay!!!!!111!!” but as a “I love your book so much and I know i’ll never do anything so awesome, so can I be a part of it!? Pretty please!”. I think that is a better reflection of how you are loved as an author. Have a nice day Pat and dear comment-reader.

  46. ArgusDubbs
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 8:28 PM | Permalink

    I’m honestly quite surprised you didn’t see this coming from quite a distance. When I read your initial Beta- Reader blog the first thought I had was ‘Wonder how many e-mails he’ll get begging to join the Beta Squad….’

    Personally I wouldn’t want to be a Beta reader, especially for the 2nd (or 3rd of nth) of series. I enjoy reading the final product too much. I’d rather wait for it to be finished. You know what they say about Anticipation.

    Well, I’ve never commented on your blog before (one of those lurkery ‘long time reader first time poster’ types). I guess today I’m just feeling chatty. Keep up the good bloggin’!

  47. kaleid
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 8:42 PM | Permalink

    Actually, I just want to read the non-disclosure form…

  48. Matt
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 9:17 PM | Permalink

    Pat, you seem like a great guy and all, but if you didn’t anticipate the response… I dunno, dude. Maybe a beta reader for the blogs?

    I kid ya because I love reading your work. Even if somebody offered me a sneaky peek at your next book, I wouldn’t do it. I want to read it when it’s ready, and not a minute earlier. I’m the kind of guy who sticks my fingers in my ears if somebody starts explaining how a magic trick is done.

  49. Rob
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 9:18 PM | Permalink

    It sounds like there’s enough interest here that Pat could pull off a J.K. Rowling marketing stunt and auction off limited edition copies to be sent a few days in advance of the publish date and send the proceeds to Heifer.

    Just food for thought, Pat . . . .

  50. asofaihp
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 9:32 PM | Permalink

    Don’t worry pat, I’ll stick with beta-ing things written by people that I actually know (though sometimes its closer to alpha-ing).
    Hope everyone doesn’t hate you too much.

  51. Marvo76
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 11:41 PM | Permalink

    Pat, I won’t ask for a Beta, I will just be in the “I am waiting for the finished copy so hurry the heck up!” crowd LOL 2012 is supposed to be the end of the wrold, so get it out be fore armagedon….Please?????

  52. geekd
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 12:46 AM | Permalink

    Pat, your blog posts always make me laugh. I read them out loud to my wife (much to her dismay, as she’s not a reader). “Your entire cob. Every single kernel of corn.” Man. That’s some serious shit. :)

    I read other author’s blogs, and yours is the best. Now get that damn book finished. Those other authors with worse blogs? 5 – 10 books. You, with your awesome blog? 1 book.

    I wouldn’t care, but your 1 book was awesome, and I want the next one like a crack addict wants the pipe.

  53. Nime
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 1:41 AM | Permalink

    Pat,
    i know, that this might be offtopic comment again, i just wanted to let you know, that there are girls which love your book so much, that they would translate it to czech language, you know… your pub date is 2011, to our country, your book will release maybe in two or three years, so 2014 – 2015. That’s really sad. T_T heh, when i saw that photo with Oot and beta ver of The Wise Man’s Fear, i was quite suprised, i know you did a good job again, so i can’t wait to it.
    with love
    Nime.
    xxx

  54. Blue Iris
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 7:10 AM | Permalink

    Well deep down I knew this to be true, but there is always hope =).
    Honestly I would do the same thing in your situation. I wouldn’t let someone I don’t know get a hand on the manuscript. It’s just to much of a risk, and I completely respect your decision on the whole matter.

    Hope the reading goes well!

  55. Widow Of Sirius
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

    Dear Pat,
    I love that you fixed your ambiguous pronoun. I’m using this in my grammar final tomorrow. Forgive the English geek in me for giggling like mad over it :)
    <3 Amanda

  56. Bellona, The Netherlands
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

    Well in that case I see no other option then to move to Steven’s Point and become your friend :P
    Oh wait maybe you need a translator that will read a long and make sure the book gets published in multiple languages at once?
    Sigh I guess I just have to stay patient :D

    Gl finishing up and give lovely Oot a hug for me!

  57. ImLittleJon
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 5:54 PM | Permalink

    In the immortal words of Daffy Duck, “Hah! That’s it! Hold it right there! Pronoun trouble.” :-)

  58. Sparks
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 7:57 PM | Permalink

    2 Things,

    1) I also would sell my soul or a tire on my car(whichever is easier) to get a copy of book 2 but honestly I can wait. I’ll be buying a hardcover and a digital copy ^_^

    2) I know you recently just migrated your site over to WP(looks great BTW) but could you PLEASE change that favicon from the default plesk one? It’s annoying to no end and kind of takes away from your site, no matter how good the site looks

  59. Rasputin
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 10:10 PM | Permalink

    I have what may be a silly question. Actually, more than one.

    When you give your manuscript to test readers do you specifically want test readers that you know like the genre? Would you trust advice on a fantasy novel from someone who generally doesn’t like fantasy?

    Do you give readers some specific questions? Like if you had a part that you rewrote several times and you just weren’t sure it worked would you ask about it specifically or just see if anyone mentioned it?

    Are you more interested in advice from people closest to you or do you feel like a little distance makes for more honest input?

  60. Posted May 18, 2010 at 11:18 PM | Permalink

    I didn’t actually offer to be a beta reader (see why below*), but I’d definitely be up for that testing the softness of puppy-tummy-fur thing.

    *Basically, I’m selfish when it comes to reading. I don’t want to read the beta edition. I want to read the best-book-you-can-write edition. And I don’t mind waiting for that. To me, it’s worth the wait.

  61. Mickey
    Posted May 19, 2010 at 1:52 PM | Permalink

    Hi Pat,

    I’m a newbie on this page, just thought I’d gush a little about how fantastic your book is and I can’t wait for the next installment.

    Did you purposefully reference a good many fantasy works throughout, hoping that others would find them, or, was it something personal and more along the lines of an homage ? The conversation between Kvothe and Stanchion at the Eolian was a brilliant piece of writing and there are too many others to mention.

    Anyway, thanks for the best new work of fantasy in far too many years !

  62. Rhys
    Posted May 19, 2010 at 10:10 PM | Permalink

    Odd, in regards to your edit, I knew exactly what you meant by it without an explanation, so there might be a lesson here.

    “But I just can’t feel good about it.”

    “One misused pronoun and the entire emphasis of a piece of writing gets fucked up.”

    The point I’m trying to make is…everybody is different, if you write to the lowest common denominator (of reading comprehension) you would write a child’s novel. This may sound horribly condescending to some of your fans, but please oh please do NOT water down your story to make sure everybody understands it. You’d simply be punishing the people who managed to pay attention through highschool English.

    On a side note, I’m fairly certain a lot of the posters on this blog are foreign so English is far from their native language.

  63. pronk
    Posted May 19, 2010 at 10:52 PM | Permalink

    Shit, does this mean I shouldn’t send you the naked pictures of myself that I took while laying with some cows and sheep?

  64. Scari
    Posted May 20, 2010 at 1:05 AM | Permalink

    Mr. Rothfuss, you are amazing.

  65. Posted May 20, 2010 at 2:32 AM | Permalink

    I knew it would happen when I read last entry, but well… I’m agree with you :)
    I like the non-disclosure form, it has reminded me of Bast’s threaten xDD (although I would take it seriously xD)
    Hugs! ^^

  66. Steve
    Posted May 20, 2010 at 3:41 PM | Permalink

    wow.. beta readers.. that’s a new concept to me, I work with software and am used to beta testing, but I never had any idea with beta reading.. Honestly it sounds like a lot of work and not much enjoyment, I mean having to read a novel in a way that you have to critique every chapter.. forget that, anyone who volunteers for that kind of job is just looking to get an advance copy that’s not even complete.

    I must say that I’m a bit bummed that the date has been pushed back to next year as I thoroughly enjoyed reading your first book, but hey you can’t change that. You’ve got to be satisfied with what you publish and if you sent a book to press that you weren’t completely happy with, you’d be the one who would really have to live with it, not us.

    I wish you the best and hope you can make the September deadline, however don’t rush on our accounts, you’ve got a family which is more important than your readers and I’m sure we can wait a bit longer for your best work. Looking forward to the book when it comes out, but please please don’t compromise on anything for the sake of your publisher… take your time!!

  67. Mickey
    Posted May 20, 2010 at 7:42 PM | Permalink

    I love this site ! Everyone knows how to spell and use punctuation ! It’s like I’ve found Utopia !!!!

    • kungfusinger
      Posted May 20, 2010 at 11:31 PM | Permalink

      That’s what you get for a blog read by literary types.

      Internet/Text Pet Peeve # 1) “ur” (seriously guys, it’s “you are” or “you’re” or “your.” How much longer does that take to type?)

  68. ASamuelson
    Posted May 21, 2010 at 2:30 PM | Permalink

    I thought seriously about asking to be a beta reader and giving lots of reasons why I would be a good choice, but really wouldn’t want to read the story after it is developed to a point that would diminish from the joy reading the really polished final version brings when read for the first time.

    However, if you ever need an alpha reader or someone to bounce ideas off, I am at your service. (references and credentials available)

  69. Posted May 25, 2010 at 1:05 PM | Permalink

    Can I beta read your non-disclosure agreement?

  70. carbuncle
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 8:06 PM | Permalink

    Hey Pat. Looking forward to the new book. ;)

  71. Aphotic Solace
    Posted May 29, 2010 at 6:09 PM | Permalink

    Well I’m a little late on the entry about beta reading and while I was relieved you weren’t actually looking for people to read about beta’s, I’m slightly disappointed my parents didn’t live in Stevens Point and that I can’t pack and move today. I have to honestly admit to being one of those persons who would want to become one just so I could read the book early. Ahem, the book I have been wanting to read since 4/08. But I can wait a little longer. I’m sure that bottle of 1972 Port wouldn’t have tasted as good as it did today back in 1972. I just hope your book doesn’t cost as much, though.

    I’m a bit of a techie so something I’m familiar with now is anticipation for a new thing. So many MID’s (mobile internet devices) coming out I can’t wait for the year to end. So many things coming soon that have me staying up late but wanting to goto bed early to make the days go by faster. But even as I sit shaking with anticipation for the next iteration of Facebook’s Privacy policy, I know that even though the demand is high for everything right now, like Calvin said on 12/24/89 – ‘I can wait a little more.’

  72. Grady
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 6:47 AM | Permalink

    Looks like you are making shirts :)

    Registered to comment (like so many others). I would buy a book themed shirt, but probably not anything that could be considered inappropriate (ie: the pictured shirt). Medium.

    Thanks!

  73. Posted June 7, 2010 at 7:53 AM | Permalink

    Hells yes I would buy a shirt, if not a couple of them if there are different designs. In size XL.

  74. mikae
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 3:51 PM | Permalink

    “This, my friends, is why I do a lot of revisions. One misused pronoun and the entire emphasis of a piece of writing gets fucked up.”

    I love the mixed language!

  75. Breenns
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 4:09 PM | Permalink

    I know that my brother and I would both buy shirts in a heart beat. Also – WI pride. (I’m originally from Abbotsford WI.) Large and medium respectively.

    Registered to say this.

    Also. Dresden codak update!

  76. Roxy
    Posted June 8, 2010 at 9:18 PM | Permalink

    Please create T-shirts! I would purchase one, knowing I could proclaim my taste in literature while supporting a worthwhile project. I respectfully request some options on the text, though. I found the shirt pictured hilarious but would never wear it. Great idea! Waiting impatiently to hear what you decide.

  77. Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:38 PM | Permalink

    Yeah! you have one of the best sites and information around. we love to see more of it
    Thanks for the share.

    Regards : Top Mobile Application Development Companies

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  • Our Store

  • Previous Posts

  • Archives

  • My Twitter

  • Bookmark this Blog

    (IE and Firefox users only - Safari users, click Command-D)