View Full Version : Seeking Cultural Critique for Fantasy/Western - Paying

12-08-2012, 09:38 PM
Okay, it's like this.

I spent several years writing a novel. Worked REALLY hard on it. Rewrote it from the ground up several times. Thought I was good. Sent it to an agent. Signed with the agent.

Posted on AW some more, learned some things, realized that I am kind of a terrific dumbass for sending this out into the world without first having it checked for cultural screwups, offensive levels of ignorance, and racial up-f***ery of any kind.

Really want to fix that before it goes out on submission.

At this point, what I really need are beta readers who identify as African American or American Indian, and (ideally) who enjoy reading fantasy. I would be glad to pay $150, via paypal, for any such folks who could get back to me by Sat. the 29th, three weeks from now. I do not need page-by-page work - just somebody to read it through and then have a conversation with me (e-mail or AIM, Skype, whatever) to talk about what you liked or didn't, and what might need fixing.

I understand that paying betas is not the usual thing, and I will be glad to delete or move this if it is not appropriate for this forum.

Oh, and the book: this is a 120k word fantasy novel with a Western setting. Here below is the shape of it.

Appaloosa Elim is a man who knows his place. On a good day, he’s content with it.

Today is not a good day.

Today, his so-called partner – that lily-white lordling Sil Halfwick – has ridden off west for the border, hell-bent on making a name for himself in native territory. And Elim, whose place is written in the bastard browns and whites of his cow-spotted face, doesn’t dare show up home again without him.

The border town called Sixes is quiet in the heat of the day, but Elim's heard plenty of stories about what wakes at sunset: gunslingers and shapeshifters and outlaws whose human faces never outlast the daylight. And about the only thing worse than finding whatever's left of Sil is the thought of getting caught out after dark – of discovering what lives in Elim’s own flesh, and how far he'll go to survive the night.

By morning, he'll wish he hadn't.

12-09-2012, 06:30 PM
Just a question - isn't your agent editing it with you? Or did you just want more than one opinion? x

12-09-2012, 09:02 PM
Just a question - isn't your agent editing it with you? Or did you just want more than one opinion? x

Hey! Thanks for asking. Agent thinks it's great, I think it's great, and my friends and betas mostly think it's great too.

My concern is that we are mostly of the Caucasian persuasion, and most of the characters in the book are not. And probably I'm stupid for not realizing it way back before, but it'd be good to get a more representative group of beta-readers before the book goes out into Neverland.

12-09-2012, 11:42 PM
Ah I see :) unfortunately I'm mixed Chinese/English, so I don't match your criteria, but I hope you find someone to help! x

12-10-2012, 04:46 AM
You shouldn't have to pay anyone to beta read your story. That's why we're all here--we're all writers and we can all benefit from a second or third pair of eyes.

I'm sure there's an AWer who fits your criteria and I'm sure this person would be willing to read your manuscript for free, or perhaps for a project swap now or at a later date.

Cheers and best of luck to you.

12-10-2012, 06:44 PM
Have you peeked into the PoC (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=228) (People of Color) board to see who seems reasonable and well spoken, to ask them specifically via PM? There are plenty of non-caucasian members who fit the bill, but whether they have the time and inclination only they know.

12-18-2012, 10:34 AM
Hey all - sorry, something's up with my subscribed threads list this week (or I'm just a terrible humanoid who shouldn't try to check AW from a BlackBerry.) Apologies for missing your replies!

I probably should rethink this, and see what I can do to cast a wider net. But wouldn't you know it, I've already had a couple of wonderful folks get in touch to volunteer their time. It's "Miracle on 34th Street" all up in my head, I'm telling you.

Oh, and Maryn - there are a ton of folks whose posts on the PoC forum I want to print out and staple to half a dozen needy foreheads. But I've picked up a lot of "hey, and another thing - don't treat me like I'm the designated representative for Minority Group X" sentiment from some of the blogs I read, and I'm not totally sure how to... you know, not do that. What you're saying makes perfect sense, but I think I might have to stand around the punch bowl awkwardly for awhile more before I work up the gumption to do that.

12-19-2012, 10:21 PM
The bigger divide was between owners, and hired help. There were black and Indian business owners in the Old West, and it wasn't a sin to invite 'em to dinner at the ranch house. But the hired help, white or otherwise, ate in the bunkhouse.

[speaking from the perspective of growing up in Montana, back when a few people from the late 1800s were still alive]

12-22-2012, 07:54 PM
I'm Northern Cheyenne, born and raised on the reservation. I don't think money is necessary, but I'd like a little more of a sample of the fantasy before I agree. I'm pretty much straight forward historical fiction, but enjoy good creativity. PM me, if your still looking and we can discuss it.