Alpha/Beta readers for An Android’s Dog’s Tale
I haven’t been blogging much recently. I’d like to excuse this by saying I’ve been busy, and I have, but part of it must be attributed to priorities. I’m not really a blogger. I’m a fiction writer, and a dad, and several other things that all take priority over writing book reviews or posting updates to my blog.
Most of my behind-the-keyboard time over the last few months has been devoted to completing two novels. The first is the Gelfling Gathering, a short (52,000 word) young adult novel that I wrote for a contest being sponsored by the Jim Henson Company. It is a prequel to The Dark Crystal and takes place about nine hundred years before the events in the movie. My novel is complete, and I am ready (and eager) to submit a 10,000 word extract when the contest submission period opens in two weeks.
Once I felt satisfied I had done all I could in preparation for the contest, I resumed work on the book I laid aside when I learned of (and decided to enter) the Dark Crystal Author Quest. I completed the first draft of that novel a few weeks ago. I was only three chapters away from finishing when I stopped work on it to focus on the Gelfling Gathering, so this was not some kind of super accomplishment.
This novel, An Android Dog’s Tale, is also a prequel. It precedes the events that are related in the two stories that together comprise my lighthearted epic Defying Fate (The Warden Threat and The Warden War) and, of course, the novels that come after (Amy’s Pendant and Disturbing Clockwork).
This is the book description I’ve come up with for An Android’s Dog Tale and the ‘back cover’ blurb for the paperback edition.
The Galactic Organic Development Corporation searches the galaxy for primitive sentient species to save from extinction, and then transplants colonies of them to Corporation agricultural planets where they can live happily and safely. The transplanted species survives, and the Corporation Project planets produce some of the most expensive and sought-after food in the galaxy, which it sells to developed worlds with this guarantee:
Caringly grown, cultivated and harvested by simple sentient life forms.
No artificial ingredients, pesticides, herbicides, or mechanical equipment used in processing.
Guaranteed 100% organic.
Of course, keeping the primitives primitive enough to ensure the Corporation’s promise of natural purity can be a challenge, especially when they’re like those it found twenty thousand years ago huddling in caves and scraping a meager and precarious existence on a pale blue planet in the Milky Way’s Orion–Cygnus spiral arm. The humans keep trying to change things.
From the Back Cover:
His job is to observe humans and make sure they aren’t doing anything that will upset either their simple lifestyles or the profitability of the Corporation. But MO-126 is not a robot. He is a Mobile Observer android, albeit one in the form of a dog of no remarkable pedigree or distinction. Still, he has free will. He can make choices. After millennia of observing humans, he questions whether the Corporation’s plans for them have priority over those they might choose for themselves. His decision will determine how well he does his job as well as the fate of humanity on this planet.
When I posted on Facebook that I finished the novel, I was thrilled that several people living in different countries around the world offered to give it a test run as alpha/beta readers. I can’t thank them enough for volunteering to do this for me. I eagerly await their feedback, positive or negative. This novel is a bit different from my others. It’s shorter (about 72,000 words), and it follows a single character over a 15,000 year period through ten different stories. I was a bit hesitant about writing a book structured this way. It’s not revolutionary, but it is uncommon. I remain anxious about how it will be received.
I also did a bit of work designing a cover for the book. The one below is formatted for the paperback edition.
How much editing needs to be done will depend on the feedback I receive from my kind volunteers. I look forward to doing the final revisions.
In the meantime, I have begun taking notes for future books. I have at least three ideas I would like to develop over the next year. One is loosely related to my previous novels. The other two are (as in the immortal words Monty Python’s Flying Circus) something completely different. One of the latter will probably be the basis for my next novel, but it’s too early to say more. All I will say is that I am still writing and more books are planned.
I offer my thanks to all who have read my stories and even more to those who have written and posted reviews. I really appreciate these. Reviews are probably the best way for obscure, independent writers (such as me) to become noticed… well, that and an outrageous number of sales. Most of all, thank you to those brave alpha/beta readers of An Android Dog’s Tale. I hope you like it.