Volunteers requested to test-read my books

Hi lads,

I’ve completed two books and I need some feedback before I get too far into starting another.

The first is a non-fiction work called The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom: A Realistic, 10-Step Manual for Building Liberating Wealth on a Low to Medium Income.  It is very much a beginner’s guide to personal finance and covers such basic requirements as eliminating debt, establishing an emergency fund and a budget, investing in bonds and shares, and how to find a good financial advisor.  It is 24,000 words.  It started as a series of blog posts but once I got to 10,000 words I decided to just make it into a book, instead.

There are two types people who might make suitable reviewers for this book: those who know a fair bit about personal finance, and those who know bugger all.  The first group might advise me if their views differ from my own.  The second group are the target audience, so if such a reader doesn’t understand something, that feedback would be very useful to me.

The second is a novel entitled Sulfur.  It is about 80,000 words.  A murderer called McKalister is on death row – and then things take a turn for the worse.  I won’t describe the plot in detail here as I think it would be more fun to go in blind, but it is, I guess, pretty outlandish.  Ideal reviewers would be keen readers of fiction who are into such long novels.  Helpful feedback would include telling me which bits are lame, slow, or don’t make sense, character suggestions, etc.

I am not looking for copy editors.  Don’t worry about typos – they’re easy to fix later.  Right now I just need general, big-picture suggestions.

The risk for a good-willed reviewer is that the writer is an arrogant nonce who won’t take feedback.  I know – I’ve been there.  My mate once asked me to read his short story.  It had potential but I advised him that the central premise wasn’t fully explained and so the story was confusing.  He huffily said, “No, it’s fine,” and asked for no further suggestions.  He didn’t learn his lesson, but I learned his lesson.

Before writing these two books, I actually wrote another novel.  A mate gently suggested, after effusive praise, “It’s good, but, I’m kind of wondering, where’s it going?  I saw this guy talk about screen writing once and he was saying, ‘You’ve got to have jeopardy.  Where’s the jeopardy?’”  And my mate talked about the plot for that post-apocalyptic movie where they have to get across the country with just one bullet left as a good example of how it should be done.  I realized my plot basically had no structure or underlying tension that could sufficiently carry the story along.

I responded by reading two books on novel writing, and I used this advice to more properly map out Sulfur.

The point is not that the books will now be awesome.  They will not be.  Rather, I want you to know that negative feedback is exactly what I want.  Give it to me good and hard!  Because that’s the only way I can get better.  Right now I have ideas for two further novels but just in time I realized that there’s no point starting them until I know what I want to improve on from last time.  Presently I have no idea.

Having said all that, some feedback wouldn’t be useful.  For example, saying that the non-fiction one is too basic would miss the point – it is meant to be as basic as possible.  A person who finds it insufficiently advanced is simply not in my target audience.  Would it suit your idiot nephew who lives off his credit card and never has any savings?  That is a better measure.

As for Sulfur, it would not be helpful to criticize the dark, underlying philosophy.  If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time you can guess its nature.  If you already know this book is not going to be your cup of tea, perhaps just don’t waste your time reading it.  I’m not trying to ruin your day, here.

Obviously preference will be given to people I know, regular commenters or those with their own blogs.  Feel free to refer me to others who might be interested in having a look.  No need to make excuses if you’re too busy!  I know this is a big ask, especially for that 80,000-word monster.

I don’t need many volunteers – if I could just get one or two people to read each book, and give me one or two suitably aimed kicks in my backside regarding what I need to improve, that would be brilliant.  There’s no firm deadline for feedback but I’ll be starting the publishing process in northern summer, so if I could get something by then that would be great.

Please reply in the comments below or PM me if you’re keen.  I can only send them as a Word attachment or PDF.

Cheers!

Advertisements

20 comments

  1. David · December 18

    Hi Soviet Man, I am a relative newcomer to reading your blog but have enjoyed your reading your work. If you have a shortage of volunteers then I am happy to volunteer myself and my nephew as a reviewer for “The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom”. He is 21 and fits your target market. Appreciate you don’t know me from a bar of soap, so no offence is taken if I’m placed at the bottom of the queue….or not even put in the queue to begin with!

    Like

  2. Vincent · December 18

    I’d be willing to have a go on Sulfur. Yuo can reach me on the contact form at Wayfarer’s Notes

    Like

  3. dickycone · December 18

    I’d be happy to take a look at either. I’m especially interested in the novel, since I enjoy your writing. Caveat that I’ve got small kids to take care of and a full time job with a long commute so I can’t guarantee I can finish it, but if you’d like please send it my way. Any idea about how many pages of a normal paperback 80k words translates to?

    Like

    • Nikolai Vladivostok · December 20

      Cheers, please send an email to nikolaivladivostok@yahoo.ca and I’ll send you the attachment

      Like

      • dickycone · December 20

        Looking forward to it. I need to create a burner email that doesn’t use my real name, but I’ll get you that email soon.

        Like

      • dickycone · December 20

        Burner email created and message sent.

        Like

        • Nikolai Vladivostok · December 21

          I didn’t receive that, could you try again? Not in spam, either. I double checked the email above and it’s all good

          Like

          • dickycone · December 21

            Weird. Is it literally exactly “nikolaivladivostok@yahoo.ca”? It bounced back as undeliverable to that address. I just tried again just in case.

            Like

          • dickycone · December 21

            Bounced back again. No worries, my burner email is dickycone at yahoo dot com.

            Like

            • dickycone · December 21

              No worries. Got it and I’m looking forward to reading it. Send the financial one too, if you’d like. Does the advice include paying tithing? Heh.

              Like

  4. Paul Patzer · December 19

    I’d be glad to bear a hand on either one, with a slight preference for the novel…

    Like

    • Nikolai Vladivostok · December 20

      Hi Paul, I think I have enough for now, but if some don’t come through I might still ask for your help.
      If not, I’ll give you a free e-copy of each once they’re published. You’ll have to remind me of this at the time though because I will forget.

      Like

  5. Sgt 73rd Regt · December 19

    Comrade Mate,
    I too am a newcomer to this blog and enjoying your writing greatly. I am a humble company accountant and would be happy to review your “Poor man’s guide to financial freedom”. I am still striving to achieve this same goal!

    Like

    • Nikolai Vladivostok · December 20

      Cheers, please email me at nvladivostok[at]yahoo[dot]ca and we’ll take it from there.

      Like

  6. TechieDude · December 20

    Happy to help. Send them along.

    Like

    • Nikolai Vladivostok · December 20

      Hi TechieDude, as I said for Paul I think I have enough for now, but if not I may yet send it.
      Anyway I’ll also give you free e-copies. Please remind me in about six months time.

      Like

  7. Sean Gabb · December 23

    I will give feedback on both. Do send them as pdf.

    Like

Comments are closed.