Fanmail Q&A – Beta Readers

Dear Pat,

I read your post about book two, and I just wanted to say thanks for letting us know. It’s nice having a real date.

I noticed that you aren’t posting much on facebook or your blog these days, and I hope it’s not a result of people shitting in your cereal. (metaphorically speaking.) I don’t read any blogs other than yours, and I’d hate for you to quit writing stuff online just because of a few dickheads.

I’m actually writing because I was curious about a term you used in your previous blog. You said that you were wondering about who you could still use as beta readers. I hate to sound ignorant, but what’s a “beta reader”? Is it a different name for a copyeditor?

Hugs and kisses,

Simon

Heya Simon, thanks for being patient. I appreciate it.

I’ve been offline a little more these days partly because I’m focusing on revisions, but also because my main computer is in pieces in my closet right now. These days I’m getting my internet access the way our neolithic ancestors did, by hanging out in coffeeshops, using the public library, and viciously stealing unsecured wifi from my neighbors late at night.

To tell you the truth, I don’t remember when I began using the term beta reader. I might have picked it up from other writers, or I could have started using it on my own. If I had a better internet connection right now, I’d do a little research into it, but I’ve only got 35 minutes before I have to give up this computer (I’m in the library right now.)  

Wherever I found it, I’m pretty sure I’ve been using the term in one way or another for about 6-7 years .

When I say beta reader, I’m talking about someone who reads an early version of my book and gives me feedback on it. Sort of the same way a beta tester gives a software developer feedback on a nearly-finished game.

I also have people I call alpha readers. They read very early, very rough versions of the book and tell me what they think.

I have gamma readers too. They read my solid, almost-finished drafts.

I don’t go any lower than that, simply because I worry that some of my friends would be insulted if I referred to them as Epsilon readers. Plus, every time Kvothe climbs on top of a building, I know I’d have a slew of them writing “Roof! Oh Roof!” in the margins of my manuscript.

Alpha readers are hard to come by, and I only have a handful. These are people who know the book really well. They tend to be old friends who have been reading my stuff for years, if not decades. Many of them have read all three books. Many of them have role-played in my world, back when they lived closer to me and I had the spare time to run games. 

Brett, the guy who draws illustrations for the blog, is one of these. He read an early version of my book back in 1990’s when we were both students at UWSP.

Sarah is also an alpha, and she’s been helping me recruit another future reader:

This is Sarah reading a beta version of The Wise Man’s Fear a couple months back. She reads it out loud to Oot sometimes.

Click to embiggen

Oot:  “Is that a comma splice Momma?”

Sarah: “They’re all comma splices, sweetie.”

From what I’ve been able to gather, I work differently than a lot of other authors, in that I like to get a lot of feedback on my book while I’m revising. A lot.

Also, generally speaking, I prefer my test readers to be just regular readers, as opposed to other writers. 

Note that this isn’t a hard and fast rule. Brett, for example, is a great writer, and one of my favorite alphas. But generally speaking, I prefer getting feedback from, say, plumbers. Or chemical engineers. Or actors. Or historians.

I have several big reasons for this, but the biggest one is this: after my book is published, the vast majority of people who read it won’t be writers. They’ll be teachers, or fry cooks, or programmers, or soldiers. If I only gathered  feedback from other writers and slowly shaped my book according to what they said, I’d end up with a book designed to please writers. Personally, I find that thought vaguely terrifying.

Anyway, my time’s about up on this computer. Hope this answers your question, Simon.

Hugs and kisses to you too,

pat

This entry was posted in Fanmail Q + A, Oot, Sarah, the craft of writingBy Pat115 Responses

115 Comments

  1. Posted May 10, 2010 at 6:34 PM | Permalink

    OK, I’m sure you’ve gotten 10,000 hits by now, but could I be a beta reader? I’m a computer guy by trade, a lover of cats and an amateur theologian.

  2. Ali
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 6:41 PM | Permalink

    *gets down on one knee*

    Pat, will you have me as your beta reader? I’m an Aerospace engineer who would love to be one of your beta-reading groupies. Please? :-)

    *remains hopeful*

  3. Dana K.
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 6:43 PM | Permalink

    Ahh… I remember the day I cornered you at Family Video and you asked me to beta read for you. I’m still waiting on that draft, by the way. It’s only been… what, three years? :-)

    Best,
    Dana

    • jumpinjessflash
      Posted May 22, 2010 at 2:18 AM | Permalink

      Dear god, I saw an MG the other day and thought of you.

  4. thplugg
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 6:46 PM | Permalink

    Hey pat,

    My name is Ryan, id love to be any kind of reader you need. Im a huge fan of your first book and ive read it many many times. Honestly my favorite book, and ive read a lot of books haha. So id love to be a beta reader for ya, im sure id be able to give you some helpful advice. :D if you want to talk my email is, thplugg@yahoo.com. Hope to here from you.

  5. breakofdawn
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 6:46 PM | Permalink

    What about mechanical engineers, do you need any of those? I’m totally up for the job. I can read it to my little guy (4 months old), and then you’ll have two baby readers!

  6. Lucioucx
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 6:47 PM | Permalink

    Philosophy major here.

    Under no circumstance, no matter how i beg, allow me to be a beta,alpha, gamma, or any other type of reader.

    Its just a bad idea if you want to keep your sanity.

  7. Widow Of Sirius
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 6:52 PM | Permalink

    I sort of can’t believe you mentioned it here, because ALL of your comments will now be “CAN I BE A BETA READER?!?!”
    Thus said, I’ve been known to be much more annoying than that in the past, and by no means judge anyone for begging :)

    Also, Sarah and Oot are two of the cutest living things in the ENTIRE WORLD.

  8. Posted May 10, 2010 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

    Pat, you rock my world.

    I’ll wait and be an omega reader. I’m sure that the only feedback I’d be able to provide is “this is awesome,” which really would be no help to you at all. We’ll all be better off if I wait until it’s already published.

    Cheers!

    -B

  9. RegistrationIsStupid
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 7:02 PM | Permalink

    if someone of you becomes beta reader, send me a copy please :)
    i won’t share it on the internet, i swear!

    and pat, i try to become a psi reader, if i manage to learn psi forces…

    beware ;)

    • Widow Of Sirius
      Posted May 11, 2010 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

      There’s this really cool thing beta readers have to sign called a Non-Disclosure Agreement. They could probably send you a copy of THAT if you wanted :)

  10. good_nello
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 7:02 PM | Permalink

    I’d be willing to be a beta reader. I’m a farmer, living in Wisconsin. I raise children (currently only a 4 year old) and after shes mature I will take her to the big city and see if I can find myself a tradesman willing to take her on as an apprentice for 4 years before I throw her out of the nest to fend for herself.

  11. Joe M.
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 7:10 PM | Permalink

    WidowOfSirius: I sort of can’t believe you mentioned it here, because ALL of your comments will now be “CAN I BE A BETA READER?!?!”

    Yup.

  12. r_bhatt93
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 7:21 PM | Permalink

    Hey Pat,

    Just thought I should let you know that Oot is getting to the age when he requires colored text, Sarah has her pink, but Oot is stuck with the dull black. I believe color is necessary. Perhaps baby food yellow. Or diaper brown.

    Raj

    • Widow Of Sirius
      Posted May 10, 2010 at 10:14 PM | Permalink

      I was JUST thinking that…

    • kungfusinger
      Posted May 12, 2010 at 4:14 PM | Permalink

      I agree too. Blue is a good colour, but not baby blue – maybe something in a nice cobalt…?

    • Posted May 12, 2010 at 11:51 PM | Permalink

      Heh. I’ll probably wait until he actually says something. Before picking his text color. Right now his only word has been “Odelay.” and I’m pretty sure it was a coincidence.

  13. alafel
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 7:21 PM | Permalink

    I definitely prefer Omicron. Has a more zesty sort of ring to it.
    But seriously guys? I’m embarrassed for all of us as commenter’s, stooping to this level. We should be ashamed.

  14. Glass Woodpecker
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 7:33 PM | Permalink

    Loved the sly Brave New World reference!

  15. nizbit
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 7:34 PM | Permalink

    I’d like to second what Simon wrote. This is the only blog I read, as well, and I really appreciate that it exists. Maybe someday Pat will be too busy being famous and being a dad too keep it up, but for now–it’s delicious.

    And holy crap, that is one cute baby. I’m glad he’s being read to; apparently the number of individual words a kid hears before the age of five or so has a direct impact on vocab size later. Oot’s lucky!

  16. Vincent
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 7:38 PM | Permalink

    I’ll just wait for the hardcover to be published and become a zeta-reader with millions of others…. (only 10 more months) I’d be a lousy alpha, beta or gamma-reader because I would have a hard time keeping my mouth shut after reading it.

    What would an omega-reader be? Someone who’ll wait for the DVD?

  17. Posted May 10, 2010 at 7:39 PM | Permalink

    If’ I’d had my wits about me in Springfield that night when you offered to write “anything” for autographs, I’d have asked for “You’re a new beta reader, Timmy” instead of something lame like “Get your ass in the chair and write! Hugs and kisses, Pat”

    Figures.

  18. Aeolus
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 7:42 PM | Permalink

    Ah ha!

    We’ve tricked you, Pat! Now we all know Kvothe climbs on top of a building at least once in book two! Hah!

  19. Blue Iris
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 7:45 PM | Permalink

    *snaps out a fancy looking document*

    *RIP!!!*

    …damn…

    “Well then, I just so happen to have a spare.”

    *Ahem!!!*

    Shortly put I will willing sign this ‘contract’ to become any form of reader for you, Pat, and if I discuss anything about the books before publishing you can utterly, royally, greatly, and many other ly’s reprimand me legally or illegally.

    I am sure you may wish to come up with your own form of official document, and I will gladly read and sign, what I’m sure will be a satisfactory ‘contract’.
    ________________________________________________________

    Alright, alright. That was fun =). Of course Pat if you do wish to take this seriously I would love it. Thanks for the news and everything else!

  20. JoeLlama
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 7:53 PM | Permalink

    I’m all about the finished product, and I promise to zeta-read the hell out of that book when it’s out. Probably more than once, if it’s up for it.

    Snuggles and cuddles,
    Joe

  21. PirateXxEsque
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 8:02 PM | Permalink

    (: I won’t even ask, though I’d love to.
    Honestly, I had no idea how the whole revision thing worked… :/ I’d be lost haha.

    Hope Sarah and little Oot are well!

  22. Posted May 10, 2010 at 8:07 PM | Permalink

    you should have T-shirts made…

    Pat Rothfuss
    is my Master now

    I’d wear it.

  23. Keith
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 8:22 PM | Permalink

    I smell a fund-raiser — anyone want to start a bidding war to become a Rho Reader?

    Seriously, WorldBuilders would benefit from a few folks wanting to get their hands on an early draft…or one of Rex’s T-shirts.

    Just thinking out loud here.

  24. pjmintz
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 8:39 PM | Permalink

    So, how DO you decide who gets to be a beta reader?

    I’m genuinely curious to know what kind of process you go through to select people that you can trust.

    It’s always been a curiosity of mine – how celebrities manage to connect with folks who aren’t sycophants and hero-worshippers. It can’t be as hard for you as it would be for an A-list film star, but in this case – when it comes to people wanting to read your books early and you looking for honest opinions, it seems that it compares.

    I hope another blog is forthcoming explaining how you end up managing to find folks.

  25. regina
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 8:40 PM | Permalink

    I’m a chemical engineer AND an (almost) PhD in biophysics-y things (but I almost went to university for English. I’m a conflicted individual). ;) I’d love to be your first “squiggle” reader — it’s what the lazy engineers call lowercase xi.

    I love your blog. And Sarah and Oot pictures are FABULOUS.

  26. Trickster
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 8:49 PM | Permalink

    Lol Now instead of being bugged about getting the book out early, you’ll have to fend off the nagging pleas of worshipers begging to be one of your readers. Anyhow, I see the point in saying that you’d rather have feed back from regular people than a bunch of fellow writers. It makes sense.

    And I can guess that the people you choose to be Beta, Alpha, and Gamma readers are those you trusted enough to know that they wouldn’t let any leaks or spoilers out. Me? I wouldn’t want to be one. I’m content to wait hungrily for the completed version. All the while devouring other books to slate my massive hunger for a bit.

    Also I want to congratulate you on nearly completing the book. Must have been a bitch! I’ve gotten frustrated writing research papers. I couldn’t imagine doing that monster and still retaining my sanity. And the whiners wouldn’t help to ease the pain. *winks* (smart move on closing the comments also) *nods conspiratorially*

    Anyhow I ramble…

    Trickster Out~

  27. IanW
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 8:54 PM | Permalink

    Alpha, beta, gamma, delta…who could be offended by being a Delta reader. You’d represent change, or something!

    I’d like to find the words for a message of heartfelt thanks for writing such a fantastic book, and having the balls not to be rushed into publication of the next episode. As much as we all (desperately) want it now I’d wager there’s not a fan around who wouldn’t rather wait for the superior product.

  28. Skye
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 8:56 PM | Permalink

    I can’t remember, is anyone blue yet? Oot should be blue. I don’t know why…he just seems “bluey” to me. (Bluey is totally a word. Randall Munroe said so. :P)

    You and Brandon Sanderson aren’t having some sort of secret “cute pictures of kids with books” war now, are you? Not that I’m complaining–both books and cute kids are made of pure awesome.

  29. ambersregistration
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 9:00 PM | Permalink

    OH! can I, can I….I don’t remember you asking for volunteers but I guess it never hurts to ask right? True optimism.

    Maybe that should be a contest for charity. Who can wow your socks off enough to be a __ reader?

    Am I the only one wondering why your computer is in the closet in pieces?

    • Widow Of Sirius
      Posted May 10, 2010 at 10:22 PM | Permalink

      In the sudden fight to become a beta reader, the computer in the closet seems to be an issue that was haphazardly tossed aside.

      However, I seriously want to know.

  30. Posted May 10, 2010 at 9:22 PM | Permalink

    So what do you call the reader who just buys the book and reads it then? I volunteer to be that reader.

    Good call on the non-writer alpha/beta/etc. readers. Is the advice and feedback you get from the non-writers typically helpful to you to revise and develop the next draft?

  31. Posted May 10, 2010 at 9:40 PM | Permalink

    This “after my book is published, the vast majority of people who read it won’t be writers. They’ll be teachers, or fry cooks, or programmers, or soldiers. If I only gathered feedback from other writers and slowly shaped my book according to what they said, I’d end up with a book designed to please writers” is precisely why I’m creating a site called typetribe.com. It’s a way to get in touch with different beta readers from different backgrounds and solicit feedback from them.

    I know this is a bit of a self-promotional comment, but I read that paragraph and was like, “YES! That’s it!”

  32. Archangel
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 9:55 PM | Permalink

    Hi Pat,
    just thought I’d toss my hat in too. I’v read Name a few times and have been an avid reader for a few years now. I’v been an alpha reader once before about a year ago. I found it to be enjoyable but difficult. Mostly because my friend the author is rather sensitive, so being constructive and gental at the same time was chalenging. You don’t strike me as someone who needs kit gloves.
    however what I would put forth for consiteration is that I game (rolemaster) weekly. I’m a player and a G.M. which as you know is mostly story telling within a set of boundries. Juggling all the pieces to keep ballance between player enjoyment and game flow and the integrity of the story. If you would like know more Email me at b.cause2010@yahoo.com

    thanks,
    Brooke

  33. jeffbuddhabelly
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 10:03 PM | Permalink

    I am about to enter into a minority when I say that 1) I didn’t mind creating an account to comment on your blog, 2) I am not interested in begging to be a beta reader, and 3) I have never fretted over when you will release book 2 in the series. I am an eclectic reader with more books than I can count on my “To Read” list (only a fraction of which are randomly listed on my Goodreads page). While I do look forward to your next book I am more interested that it be the kind of book YOU want to publish. How many authors have gone back and rewritten sections after publication because they weren’t happy with what they had initially released? Given the length and scope of your story, I would happily wait several more years if it meant getting a book that I will enjoy reading several times. There are too many good books out there waiting to be read to obsess on one author’s work. It makes for a richer experience having a broad reading background.

    It boggles my mind when I read comments from angry posters about the publication date for book 2. It’s as if they have nothing else in their lives worthy of their attention. They entirely miss the point of reading. The commenters asking to be beta readers do so with humor and a tinge of hope. I suspect they are also the first to ask for book recommendations, too. That makes for a fun fan base and I and glad to be counted among them.

    I also enjoy your blog. It is one of only a handful that I regularly read. It is also one of the few blogs that can be intelligent, fun, crass, pithy, and entertaining on any given day. I like that it isn’t written on a set schedule. That would be too much like work. Everything I love about your blog would be lost if it became formulaic and adhered to a strict schedule. It makes for an enjoyable surprise when a new one is posted and a surefire diversion from all of the things I am supposed to be doing.

    I am one fan who will take what he can get without demands for more. Family and friends should always come before fans (painful as it may be for some of us to realize). So, keep up the good work and I look forward to your next blog/book/fundraiser/convention appearance, but I do so with the understanding that you are one of many talented authors out there and one who is willing to give more of himself to his fans than he has time for.

    • Widow Of Sirius
      Posted May 10, 2010 at 10:25 PM | Permalink

      If you ever come through Wisconsin, stop by my place so I can hug you.

    • Kathryn
      Posted May 11, 2010 at 12:10 AM | Permalink

      I have to agree with Sirius’s statement about you, Jeff. Thank you for saying what I’ve never found the eloquence to express.

      • jeffbuddhabelly
        Posted May 11, 2010 at 1:25 PM | Permalink

        Thank you. I’ve wanted to post this for a while.

    • Blue Iris
      Posted May 11, 2010 at 12:50 AM | Permalink

      agreed on all accounts. really enjoyed reading your post.

    • Sokol
      Posted May 11, 2010 at 9:18 AM | Permalink

      Woot.. you go Jeff.

      And people… remember you don’t want to be a Gamma reader. That’s what got Bruce Banner in trouble.

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

      I love it! I agree with Sirius and would give you a hug if I was anywhere near WI.

  34. quanqued
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 10:12 PM | Permalink

    Strange to feel I’m the only one ensaddend by the fate of the poor dismembered artifact of human technology relegated to the confines of the closet. I mean, the contents of Pat’s backpack alone appeared to be enough to mobilize a small army of TSA security, and that’s after the most dangerous items were removed. Who can guess at what may lurk in the dark corners of an entire closet?

    Pat, my condolences on the state of your elecontronic programmable binary computing machine. If you need assistance resuscitating the beast, I’ve certainly managed to hoodwink a number of people into believing I know something of their function. If I can save you from the time demanded of the hunter-gatherer of the internet age, I would be glad to assist.

  35. Sarcazjazz
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 10:33 PM | Permalink

    When i saw the name of this blog, i kind of did a little dance, sort of a jig if you will, and i might have squealed a little too. I have absolutly no problems getting down on my knees and begging to be a beta, in fact I would most likely roll over and fetch as an added bonus, and wash the dishes. I read “The Name of the Wind” in my freshman year of highschool, and its my favorite book by farrrrrrrr! nothing would make a better early graduation present, and thank you for making the wonderful world of Kvothe.

    Your Biggest Highschool Fan,
    Jasmine

  36. freakypuppet
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 11:09 PM | Permalink

    I would love to start this off by saying you are awesome and your kid is ridiculously cute!

    oh, and you wrote some book or something that was pretty good? Or something like that =P

    Now, I just have one question: while I understand not wanting it to be just writers reading your drafts, wouldn’t you maybe want one or two writers to read your stuff? Maybe to get some ideas about the draft that a writer might pick up on that say a carpenter wouldn’t? (not that I have anything against carpenters).

    Although, thinking about it, maybe that’s just what the editor’s for? I have no idea. I was just curious.

    Jimmy

  37. JohnNevets
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 11:11 PM | Permalink

    Pat,

    If the computer thing wasn’t a joke. I live in the Point area and I’d be willing to give a hand with the PC if you would like, or could probably manage a loaner if that would be more practical. I’ve also know people who have had OK luck with MPC. I’m out of town this next weekend, but should be around the 11th, 12th and probably the 13th if you are interested.

    John

    • Posted May 12, 2010 at 11:58 PM | Permalink

      Thanks for the offer. But I’m fine. We were just screwing around with the floors here so I had to put my desk away for a couple weeks. I’m wired back in now…

  38. evil
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 11:17 PM | Permalink

    Pat,

    I am decidedly not a writer but I do spend a lot of time analyzing others writing. This is mostly economics and insurance type stuff, very boring compared to your work.

    If you ever needed a beta reader I would drive across the country to help out.

  39. Olympia
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 12:38 AM | Permalink

    people are funny (and strange)

    myself not excluded

  40. beetjes
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 1:24 AM | Permalink

    Hi Pat!

    I understand that many people are applying for beta reader. It was only to be expected.

    However, I will wait for the final version to be in the book stores. Because with beta reading comes resposibility. As a beta reader I wouldn’t be able to relax and enjoy the ride. I would have to read it very closely and be very critical, in order to provide you with usefull feedback. That kind of reading takes the fun out of it for me. So… I will just be patient.

    All the best!
    Bjørn.

  41. Posted May 11, 2010 at 1:28 AM | Permalink

    I quite like having these kinds’ve insight into your process Mister Rothfuss, it’s always nice to feel a part of a creative process – especially for something as epic as the Universe you have created for Kvothe. Thankee kindly for answering Simon’s Quesion [and he for asking it]!

    Hope everything is going well and that Sarah’s conversion of Oot into an awesome little reader is goin’ well.

    E.

  42. Meggish
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 2:26 AM | Permalink

    So maybe (maaaaybe) your friends wouldn’t want to be “epsilon readers,” but on the other hand Reader Epsilon sounds like kind of an awesome spy name. Maybe a spy who’s fluent in Greek (Linear B!) and has a day job as a librarian. In Alexandria. Hmm.

  43. Thursdaymorningsarethebest
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 8:25 AM | Permalink

    I wonder if the beta offers would end in anything productive (not to disparage anyone). I think people tend to view beta reading as an enjoyable experience, but in my experience (which included four years of peer editing while achieving my English degree) it is actually a tumultuous and nerver wracking experience. Charged with the responsibility of offering unbiased and critical criticisms that may or may not be constructive is a hard weight to carry. It is a beast of burden.

    With that being said, I understand that crafting a baby of prose, wit, and poignant plot is something that takes time. Time that includes peer editing. Some of my favorite stories took forever (see David James Duncan’s “The Brother’s K”) to write and in my honest opinion, it takes time to produce something that will last past its first printing.

    Keep pecking at those keys.

    • jeffbuddhabelly
      Posted May 11, 2010 at 1:33 PM | Permalink

      I have also done Peer Review and it isn’t an easy thing to do. I think people underestimate how difficult it is to keep track of continuity, tone, story arcs, character development and over-all plot while checking grammar and spelling without changing the writer’s style. None of us are unbiased, either, so we have little things we want to see in the story that the writer doesn’t care for.

  44. Baldsilver
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 9:48 AM | Permalink

    Wow, i just spent a good two minutes trying to remember every password I’ve ever used before I realized that I had to capitalize the first letter. And now I’ve forgotten what I wanted to say. And I think it was really witty.

    Anyways, I was wondering how many would ask to be beta readers, personally, I’d rather read the finished product. First time read is always the best for me and reading revisions would probably ruin it. Now I should get back to studying for exams.

    • cwoodf1
      Posted May 12, 2010 at 9:44 PM | Permalink

      Yes! Happens to me every time I try to log-in somewhere that doesn’t have my password memorized. I inevitably go through 5 or 6 different tries :(

      Also, Good luck with finals… I’m currently being distracted by the blog as well… Two more finals tomorrow and then freedom!

  45. The Little Lee
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 10:34 AM | Permalink

    I wanted to say something fun (and attempting to be witty) about the next worldbuilders fundraiser having an auction for a beta reader. Alas I had to create a profile first and everything I wanted to say went right out of my head when I saw the security words I had to type in to create said profile.
    Physical.
    Carcasses.
    In that order
    I love this blog…

  46. Emily
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 10:36 AM | Permalink

    Pat,

    Long time reader, first time responder.

    As someone mentioned above, I wanted to thank you for the insight into your process. I am one of those readers that will wait as long as I need to for a book, because a) it’s your name on it and you should be happy with it, b) I have no clue what it’s like to be a writer, especially a writer with a book in demand and c) for a whole host of other reasons that I know nothing about. However, it does help to know a little bit about your process and all that you go through to make it perfect for us all.

    I am also glad that there’s a reason (although computer problems suck!) other than erm…impolite fan mail that you’ve stopped blogging for the time being because your blogs are hilarious and they definitely make the work day better!

    I hope you get all the computer help you need soon!
    Emily

    P.S. As a public librarian, I must say that I am *ecstatic* that you not only mention the library, but actually use one!

  47. rimtoes
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 10:41 AM | Permalink

    Patrick,

    Please quit hounding me about becoming a beta-reader. Between Facebook and email, I’ve got all the reading I can handle right now. Can’t you find someone else who wants to read your new book? I’m happy to wait until you’re finished.

    Seriously…

    Don’t make me get a restraining order…

    Love,

    Rim

  48. Posted May 11, 2010 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

    “I am about to enter into a minority when I say that 1) I didn’t mind creating an account to comment on your blog, 2) I am not interested in begging to be a beta reader, and 3) I have never fretted over when you will release book 2 in the series.”

    ^ Count me in this category too. 1) Setting up an account to comment took like five seconds (seriously people, it’s THAT big of an inconvenience?), 2) Even as a professional editor and writer I am too sucked into Rothfuss literary hero worship to rip TWMF to grammatical shreds like I would some of my own authors, and 3) I’m still on-again, off-again working on a novel I started in 2001, so I COMPLETELY understand the amount of time it takes to finish a novel, especially when you have a real life, children, day job, etc…

    Your kid is pinch-worthy Pat. Hope to hear more from you soon, and always, I can’t wait to see more from you. :)

  49. Ivi
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 12:42 PM | Permalink

    If you are an alpha and omega reader does that make you god?

    • kungfusinger
      Posted May 12, 2010 at 4:13 PM | Permalink

      No, just his son. Seeing as Pat gets to decide who gets to be an alphabeta reader at all, I think that position is reserved for Oot.

  50. xespum
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

    Hey Pat!! I won’t beg. You are getting enough of that.

    But I will bribe.

    Here’s the deal. I become a beta reader.

    You get a brand new computer delivered to your house, properly configured. Plug in power and pipe as we say in the trade, and you will be good to go for years.

    if you like laptops, maybe this will do the trick: http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?c=us&cs=19&l=en&oc=DNDOYZ3&s=dhs

    or if you are a desktop man, how ’bout this one:

    http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=dddoaa6&c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19

    as a 20 year employee of Microsoft, I’ll also throw in great technical support!

    I know it is a hard precedent to accept a bribe (I mean, where will it stop?) but it seems like this this a great intersection of needs…so why not???

    -Joe

    • Posted May 13, 2010 at 12:00 AM | Permalink

      Oh man… Don’t tempt me. I’ve sworn only to use my powers for good….

  51. Bonfiglio
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 1:54 PM | Permalink

    Well after i read this i was preparing to post an excited comment that said something along the lines of “Oh oh! I’m an actor! Let me read pwease!” but then i saw how many people had done just the same thing. And it occurred to me that, though of course you probably mostly expected this response, it is still probably rather disappointing to see nothing other than people requesting and/or demanding that you let them be your new beta readers. So i will refrain from doing the same as everyone else. Thanks for the definition, though i had an idea of what beta reader meant i wasn’t certain, and it is cool to know. Also, those pictures of Oot and Sarah are adorable. I am sure he will be your, and Kvothe’s, biggest fan in no time.

  52. Nick Kurowski
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 4:02 PM | Permalink

    I just have to say that I really enjoyed your first book as I was laying in a French hospital for 8 days surrounded by nobody who spoke a lick of English! It brought comfort to me, truly. Since then I think I’ve purchased three copies of The Name of the wind which one is in French. I can’t help to write about it as a great book reference whenever I have an essay to write in French, or if I am just talking to my French teachers or friends. I feel compelled to say, “Il faut que tu lises ce livre” or “You have to read this book!”. Being that as it is, I feel semi-responsible for any success you have had in France. :)

    Keep up the incredible work!

  53. kungfusinger
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 4:42 PM | Permalink

    Hi Pat,

    To be a Beta Reader would be a great honour (not misspelled, just Canadian). I feel I should give you a few details about myself to prime my resume.

    1) I am Canadian – ergo i would be of no use for a spellchecker, because we use imperial spelling
    2) I have a black belt in Kung Fu- I could critique fight scenes
    3) I am a structural engineer – I could critique descriptions of buildings / bridges /other structures
    4) I know music – several years in choir/band (I play the Clarinet)
    4) I LOVE READING – enough said
    5)I LOVE THE NAME OF THE WIND!!!! – (yes, this was a lame kiss-assey point – I am hoping to earn points here)
    6)I live in Alberta, Canada which is far enough away that I would probably never get to meet you in person, so being a beta reader would be the next best thing (Dude! I’m on a roll with this kiss-assey stuff!)

    Enough about me. If you should decide to use me, I have every faith that you will find a way to contact me without my posting my email address. You can chalk it up to your omnicience or the fact that I had to register in order to post.

    Cheers!

  54. MrSprinkles
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 5:02 PM | Permalink

    Hooray for beta readers!

  55. Becky
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 5:36 PM | Permalink

    I too want you to be happy with the book you publish. I am thoroughly excited to read the next part of Kvothe’s story but when I just go back and reread The Name of the Wind anytime it gets to be too much LOL. I, like someone else said, wouldn’t be a good beta reader because I’d like it all and have nothing constructive to say.

    And Oot? Is one precious lil’ bit of babyness!!!!

    OH! And your blog? Is one of the few things I like to read as much as your book lol.

  56. priscellie
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 6:02 PM | Permalink

    I’m completely unsurprised yet at the same time utterly boggled at the number of people volunteering to beta. As a three-years-and-counting resident of Jim Butcher’s beta-foo asylum, I know how time and sanity-consuming beta reading is, and it’s definitely something you don’t volunteer for lightly. I’ll stick with being tortured by one author at a time and stay an Omega reader for you, Pat!

  57. Synergy012
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 6:07 PM | Permalink

    In order to become a beta reader, you must submit 5 pages on TNotW with an emphasis on character development and plot structure. You should also include any areas you felt contained ambiguity and those you felt resounded extremely well. Papers should be in .doc format and emailed to —–. Good Luck!

    • Firebirdblaze
      Posted May 11, 2010 at 9:09 PM | Permalink

      Moderator edit: This is Pat’s assistant, I just wanted to let everyone know that we are not taking beta reader applications (as interesting as those would be to read) and the email address above is not an actual Rothfuss email. To prevent any confusion I deleted the address.

      • Synergy012
        Posted May 12, 2010 at 7:53 AM | Permalink

        I’d like to publicly apologize to those who took the time to submit applications. I did not intend to waste your time. I thought it was pretty clear that it was a joke (and not posted by Pat). Sorry.

        • Posted May 13, 2010 at 12:01 AM | Permalink

          No worries. We’re all friend here.

          Did you get any good submissions?

          • Synergy012
            Posted May 13, 2010 at 11:07 AM | Permalink

            Was pretty funny. The two submissions were virtually the opposite of each other. One was all positive but very generic (i.e. first person form was very engaging, time-shift foreshadowing was cool, story was amazing, etc.). Other was nitpicking at details, (i.e. didn’t make sense/explain why Kvothe asked Denna for her name, then why didn’t he call her on it when she said Diane, why did he call the draccus a dragon, etc.). Neither was even close to three pages.

    • Widow Of Sirius
      Posted May 14, 2010 at 11:06 AM | Permalink

      Hilarious :D

  58. Posted May 11, 2010 at 6:41 PM | Permalink

    Pat, now everybody from places nearby and far away will ask to be beta readers of “The wise man’s fear”.
    Of course I’d like to be one too, but I think I like more the idea of waiting ’till it gets on stores… because I like the idea that the book has little parts of others who helped you get a correct tick on your mind or simply helped you with impressions.

    What divides me most is the fact that I don’t know what to do….
    If being and impatient woman and grab the book whenever it hits the stores….
    Or wait ’till it gets translated to Spanish, which means at least one extra year of waiting…

    I’d also like to know if you’re still up for us to send you our precious books with a nice and apropriate bribe for you to enjoy and for us to get it back signed.

    Keep up the high spirits and the awesome work!

    P.S: If I have some free time someday, I’d like to do some character sketches and drawings of Kvothe and co.

    • Posted May 13, 2010 at 12:03 AM | Permalink

      I do love fanart….

      • Posted May 13, 2010 at 6:43 PM | Permalink

        I have some quick and horrid sketches, but I’m still not getting the feel I want to it…
        I’ll keep working on it once the university classes end in june…

        Dee wants to draw and wants it now!!!

        but sadly art projects for college are abducting me…
        TT____TT

  59. airmail
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 2:04 AM | Permalink

    One thing no one has commented yet:
    Thank you, all you alpha, beta and gamma readers! You must have done a great job in helping NotW turn out as gloriously as it has. (Even if Pat is a genius he could not have done it all alone!)

  60. Rhys
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 2:08 AM | Permalink

    I may actually be the first person who posts here that would NOT want to be a beta reader. The Name of the Wind was and still is my favorite book to date. I don’t want to ruin the experience by getting a peek at an unfinished product. I want the highly polished final draft.

    On a side note, I’d like to ask (just in case you read all 70+ comments Pat) now that you’re…shall we say, a bit more well traveled in the publishing world? Do you expect the same four year (give or take a few months) gap between A Wise Man’s Fear and book three? I sincerely hope not, but would understand completely if you foresee this being the case.

    Also, just want to say I’m yet one more of your fanbase who is completely cool with you taking as much time as you need. I don’t know if one more voice from the internet cloud helps to bolster your spirits, but if you needed another entire year to finish AWMF, rest assured you would get no death threats from me. At least, I wouldn’t have the nerve to mail them… <3

  61. ThWart
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 10:57 AM | Permalink

    I just want to say that my patience in awaiting AWMF is fueled by the fact that there are SO many other awesome books out there that I’ve yet to read.
    For example, I’m now enjoying Little, Big, by John Crowley (Wow). I also have been blown away by Lord Dunsany (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_King_of_Elfland's_Daughter). And Gene Wolfe’s intricate genius will always keep me occupied.

  62. Bartb11
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 8:54 PM | Permalink

    Thanks Pat for posting the pictures of Oot and Sarah reading together! That really made my day. I love love loved reading to my children from day 1 and I love love love seeing others do the same. I could see how fascinated Oot was by the material!

    I am looking forward to publishing date and will be buying not one, not two, but three copies of your next book (ordered in advance hopefully to be delivered on the date of publication?) as my two girls and I would have a knock down drag out fight about who got to read it first if we only purchased one copy (though I think I could take them, we’d damage each other and the house). We have two copies of NotW in and that’s not enough so I need to go out and get a third copy…I’m putting it on my errands list for this weekend.

    Also, thanks for the recommendation of FForde’s Shades of Grey. Just finished it and liked it very much.

  63. cwoodf1
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 9:49 PM | Permalink

    I think I enjoy reading the comments just as much as I enjoy reading the blogs!
    You’ve got some great fans, Pat!

    Actually, I’m a bit surprised and excited by the number of readers who have engineering backgrounds! I wonder if anyone has compiled statistics on what type of people read fantasy/science fiction books?

    *warm-fuzzy good-bye* (the greetings from other fans really cracked me up)
    C

  64. ryanjm
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 10:40 PM | Permalink

    That’s a really good idea to use so many “beta” readers. I’ll bet if even 1/2 of fantasy authors used this method, there would be several million less shitty books out in circulation. Just think how many books ago Jordan could have finished if he just had that one beta reader tell him, “Uh, hey Rob, it’s me Ryan. So, are you gonna actually advance the story in this one, or are we talking another 800 pages of knitting and tugging on braids?”

    Some writers need that kind of brutal honesty to give them a kick in the ass when they start writing trash. Terry Goodkind is another. Killer 1st book, almost all downhill afterward.

    I’m guessing most of them don’t do it because, A) they think everything they write is brilliant, or B) they would take the criticism too personal or be too embarrassed.

  65. scottfehr
    Posted May 13, 2010 at 1:25 AM | Permalink

    Beta reader? Dammit man i have my own work to do. And why would i want to spend time reading something who’s very nature could change dramatically from revision to revision? One day it’s a book about some fearful wiseman, next thing it’s a compendium of thinly veiled Finnish poetry trying to pass itself off as an ode to love and ootness.

    No thank you sir. As interesting as your offer is, I believe I’ll wait for the finished product like everybody else. Besides, I’ve been to the future and have seen what my comments have done to your story. You were right to keep the talking goat and the whole undersea bordello thing out of the mix.

  66. heroine_addict
    Posted May 13, 2010 at 9:16 AM | Permalink

    Sigh…. 
    After reading most of the comments I had prepared my own shameless pitch for beta.  After reflecting on the dialog it seems to me that what you tapped into with your post is a combo of 2 things.  
    (1) Our generational penchant for interactivity.  

    (2) And your membership among an elite but suprisingly numerous crop of young authors with the writing chops of a Herbert but the cultural sensibilities to get Penny Arcade.

    I’ve spent the last 20 years, I’m 32 now, devouring everything fantasy and sci-fly in sight.  There is a huge difference IMO between authors who write damn good books and those that write timeless ones.  You do.  This isn’t an impulsive flattery, just a loathing of mediocrity.

    I think that though my heart lept at the chance to beta, what I most wished was to have a chance to tell you that and be sure you’d read it.  In all the years of fangirldom all the authors I’ve wanted to express my gratitude to have been dead, too jaded to care, or out of reach at some convention I’m too blue collar to attend.

    So on the off chance that you actually do pick a few betas, I’ve got my well loved Elements of Style handy. I’m not a writer but an artist who works on cars.  In any case, best of luck with the final version of the second novel.  Your debut novel’s plot structure   The first novel’s plot structure was tight as a fist, and as impossible to look away from until the last page.

      Write damn good books and those that write timeless ones.  You do.  I think that though my heart lept at the chance to participate actively, what I most wished was to have a chance to tell you that and be sure you’d read it.  In all the years of fangirldom all the authors I’ve wanted to express my gratitude to have been dead, too jaded to care, or out of reach at some convention I’m too blue collar to attend.

    So on the off chance that you actually do pick a few betas, I’ve got my well loved Elements of Style handy.  I’m also not a writer, but an artist who works on cars.  As far as punctuation, and other grammatical formalities I’m capable, but they are not my forte.  What I do is feel plot weaknessnes like the princess and the pea. In any case, best of luck with the final version!  Your first novel’s plot structure was tight as a fist, and as impossible to look away from until the last page.

    • heroine_addict
      Posted May 13, 2010 at 9:47 AM | Permalink

      Ack!! That’s what I get for trying to edit my OWN writing on a smartphone ;(

  67. flakes
    Posted May 13, 2010 at 1:29 PM | Permalink

    Have some fun and play some mind games. Send anybody who asks to be a Beta Reader of the new book someone’s Name of the Wind fan fiction.

  68. Arien
    Posted May 13, 2010 at 6:52 PM | Permalink

    Hehe, Thanks for the definition.
    I’m of two minds about Beta reading, in one mind I think it would be interesting seeing something before the final copy, and being able to be a part of the process before it gets sold as a Cloth cover or Mass Market paperback. Also, getting a hold of a copy to read all the more sooner just tickles the noggin for me.

    Then in the other mind I’m pretty sure Beta reading would hurt the story for me. I like falling into the book as soon as I open it, and did so with immense pleasure during “Name of the Wind” (in fact, I ended up staying up all night reading). I would have to hold myself back a little in order to notice things that don’t make sense or need to be changed.

    So I’ll just wait until it comes out officially, purchase 2 copies (one for backup) and make sure to not start the book right before a Final Exam.

    By the way, Oot is terribly cute.

  69. saintburns
    Posted May 13, 2010 at 7:06 PM | Permalink

    Pat,
    Have fun finding people to review your lovely manuscript, I’m sure it’s going to be a great challenge. And since you like visiting anime conventions you should definitely come to Nebraskon in Omaha this November. I can’t speak for everyone, but I would definitely be freaking out if you were there.
    cheers!
    Allyson

  70. Cinthia F.C.
    Posted May 13, 2010 at 9:15 PM | Permalink

    I’m form Mexico and i know a little bit english but I love your books and your blog I always read it. I am very happy that you are going to finish the book in September because it’s my birthday month, and i know it will be published on March, it but still makes me very happy to have a date.
    hugs and kisses♥

    Cinthia☺

  71. Kal-El
    Posted May 14, 2010 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

    Dear Pat,

    I created a username to comment on this blog. No I do not plan on begging to be a beta reader (though I commend your bravery on bringing it up), kissing your ass (others have clearly done it so very well), or praising your family (you do have a cute kid though and I’m sure you enjoy hearing it).

    So why did I create an account just to comment? It’s a bit of I enjoy your blog and wanted to tell you I appreciate your humor, to tell you that Buffy was not the shit (I liked Angel…mainly for Charisma Carpenter as an adult), and that your interview you gave me for my grad class helped me get an A-.

    So thanks for that.

    From,
    Me

    P.S.- In NotW you brought up the gentleman Gerrek who gave Kvothe money, will we see him again? Each time I read that it chokes me up.

  72. buttercup
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 12:38 AM | Permalink

    …and what flower would you pick for me I wonder?

  73. buttercup
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 12:42 AM | Permalink

    am so loving the book.

    wasn’t sure if you could convert me –

    but you did.

    yes, you did indeed.

    thank you.

  74. Nime
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 10:29 AM | Permalink

    Hey Pat.
    My real name is Patricie, so first, i started to like my name after i heard you’re Patrick. :) I’m from the Czech Republic, so my english, well, is not that good. ;D
    My friend showed me your book and told me, that it’s something amazing and also i gotta read it. So next day, i called my brother if he’ll buy it for me as birthday peresnt, he did. I was so happy, because he said it was the last piece. ;D Just so you know, ur book is pretty popular here. Good job! I read it like, one whole month, i was busy with school, so i read it in school, before sleeping, when i was waiting for bus etc. It totally got me! I became so addicted to it, that i had to tell me friend every scene, where Bast and Kvothe were, erm… well, i’m yaoi fan, so you can imagine, what i mean, right? :) Btw, the scene where Bast is helping treat Kvothe’s wounds is really nosebleed maker! O_O
    To get to the point – you book is awesome, i know you hear it from everyone, but it’s true. You’re really interesting author and i love reading your blog, especially when you mention Oot (who is incredibly cute) or something bout second volume of a name of a wind. <333

  75. Gf60
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 11:43 PM | Permalink

    Greetings Pat
    I was searching for news on your next book and discovered this site. What a pleasure.
    Over many years of book collecting, I’ve laid down my own two rules…Don’t read fantasy; don’t buy books of more than 400 pages. So when Name of the Wind emerged from its wrapping I realized a mistake had been made, all of my own doing.
    But having paid for both the book and the post to South Africa there was nothing else to do but read it.
    I think I had about 3 hours sleep in between reading; finished it with regret (why do great books always end too soon?); re-wrote my rules and told four collecting friends that here was a book that deserved reading.
    So my second order, for an additional four copies, was sent and and received the reply “Which dust wrapper did I want?”
    That resulted in the order being increased to five copies, as for my own collection maybe the adage, “more money than sense”, applies. So now, I have both.
    But, why two different wrappers? I’d love to know the answer. Thanks and best wishes for next years launch.

  76. georgina27
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 12:12 AM | Permalink

    Hey Pat

    I read the Name of the Wind a year or so back, then proceeded to love it for the amazing book that it was. As such, my copy is battered – just from the reading that I do. My friends, due to some gentle persuasion, have now all read the book too and love it also!! So, you have plenty of fans down here in Australia.
    I found your blog soon after that and have proceeded to read it – and I will concur with Simon and say it is the only one I read.

    I would also like to support his idea of being grateful for everything that you write and the care you take in making sure a fan like me will enjoy the book. I can name many authors whose first few novels have been pretty good, but have rushed publishing sequels that have not been up to standard. Every time I read your blog, I get a clear understanding that your novel is going to be awesome.
    Here is a conversation me and my friend had about hearing the possible date for the Wise Man’s Fear:
    Me: Hey, did you hear that the Wise Man’s Fear is coiming out in March 2011?
    Friend: Yeah, I can’t believe it – I’m so excited! I can’t wait.
    The conversation gushed for a little while over the things we were excited for and the stories hinted at that we most wanted to hear.
    But the gist of the conversation? We were just excited that it existed at all. So, thanks for writing – as a big fan, I’m just planning on being patient.

    Georgina

  77. Lunaelu
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 10:15 AM | Permalink

    It’s nice to see that Oot is being brought up on a solid foundation of brilliant books and stories :D

  78. Spam
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 6:29 PM | Permalink

    Can I please be both an Alpha reader and an Omega reader? That way I can get biblical on people’s asses in a perfectly context appropriate manner.

  79. Cremades
    Posted May 20, 2010 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

    Lord Rothfuss, I am a Spanish great admirer of his work. Regarding the publication date has been announced for March I would like to know when translated, and when the date of publication in Spain.
    Without wishing to cause trouble, receives a warm hug from Spain

  80. EChild
    Posted May 30, 2010 at 3:26 PM | Permalink

    Hey Pat,
    I’m not sure if somebody suggested this already, as reading every single comment would require and attention span and time, but have you thought about setting up some kind of contest or drawing for people who want to become beta readers?
    Possibly have some sort of entry from, pick a few of them, communicate with the person in some way to make sure they’re trustworthy, etc.
    While I do want to beg and plead and offer sacrifices to the gods to become one of your beta readers, I think that a contest or drawing would be a much better way for avid fans to become beta readers with as few people sending you hate messages as possible afterward.
    If a contest or drawing doesn’t appeal to you, then I shall beg and plead and spam your blogs until you give in and make me a beta reader! (Of course I’m not that evil, at the very worst I would send you an essay about how I would be your ideal candidate.)

    Well, sorry to take up so much time,
    EChild

  81. serybs
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 6:59 PM | Permalink

    Just started reading your blog. Also, I’m almost finished reading Brave New World. Hilarious reference. Love your book to no end. I read the tour schedule and got extremely excited to see that you were coming to Birmingham, MI in May. Then I realized it was the 2010 schedule and died a little inside. Ah well.

    Mad Respect,
    Sarah

  82. Steffan Eubanks
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 9:57 AM | Permalink

    I’ll be honest and turthfull all I realy wan’t to do is beta read “the wise man’s fear” for you. I have read the name of the wind and I understand the story line so if you well allow myself to read a section of it to help then my email is: Steffaneubanks@gmail.com please let me know your choice soon.
    Thanks,
    Steffan Eubanks

  83. Mauren Rimloth
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 7:42 PM | Permalink

    Is there a chance i can be a beta reader? I live in Peru and i am a really BIG fan of TNOTW and TWMF…

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)