Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hulu and Beta Readers

Ok, this may strike you as strange at best and down right crazy at worst, but we have not had cable or satellite TV for over a year. We don't even have an antenna to pick up the local PBS station. And you know what? We don't miss it.

Now, don't get me wrong. There is a lot of TV watching going on in our house. It's just a lot cheaper or free. Everything we watch is on Netflix or Hulu, and it's saved us money. We all need more of that, right?

For those of you who watch Hulu--Have you ever noticed the role they play in Beta testing commercials? Well, at least that's what my husband and I think they are doing. Most of the the commercials make us look at each other and say, "someone got paid for THAT?" Yeah, don't judge, you know you do it too. (And with books no less!)

And then there are some that are personal favorites of my family. The ones we hope pop up. The ones we can watch over and over and never get tired of.

For instance:

Is the Pen Mightier than the Sword?

The Ramifications of Yes

See, everyone needs to test out their great ideas until they find the ones that work. As writers we need Beta readers even more than the advertising business. A commercial lasts thirty seconds. We want readers to invest hours of their lives to reading our books.

Do you have a good Beta reader or two? Are they just Betas or are they critique partners?

A good Beta can become one of your critique partners. Don't forget that! Carol AKA Huntress Beta read for me almost a year ago and became one of the people I trust to read everything I write. Amazingly, she's willing to do that! She's honest and encouraging even when pointing out what isn't working.

I feel privileged to work on the Unicorn Bell blog with her and Marcy. I also feel like a total Poser, but that's a post for a different day.

Check out these wonderful ladies and the blog. It's dedicated to critiques and helping you find Betas and Critique Partners. You know, the good stuff. The stuff that will make our writing better and agent/publisher worthy.

Now, I'm off to finish these last four queries I promised myself I would mail this week. I've also got an idea or two for a vlog to start working on. *insert grin*


  1. I really love those Geico commericals. My personal favorite is the "do dogs chase cats" ones.

    I have a very good friend who acts as a beta reader for me. He's been good enough to read every draft of everything. I've tried to find other readers and CPs but for, one reason or another, things haven't worked out. I keep trying though.

  2. I went without cable/satellite TV for a year in 2000-2001 and then for 8 months in 2009-2010. Only when it's gone do you realize that you don't really miss that much. Especially now with things online, or for shows you can wait until the entire season is on DVD/Netflix. The only time I really got bit was episodes 200-201 of South Park that the network refused to air after the initial broadcast so I had to fork over $20 for the DVD set.

    Anyway, it's a good reminder that the old Neilsen system of ratings is broken because so many people watch on Hulu or DVRs or buy the DVDs that the old system isn't very reliable, if it ever was.

  3. I have a critique partner I trust with everything. I've had some great betas, too. I've been very fortunate. I look forward to getting my next book out to a few people, too.

  4. I've never had cable or satellite. The antennae pickup gives me the three local stations, and that's more than enough. Except for the occasional show on PBS and football in the winter, I hardly ever watch TV - and I don't miss it either. I'm sure there are some good shows I would enjoy, but, honestly, there's so much chatter (not to mention so much junk) that my life is happier without it.

  5. I have two test readers and three critique partners, and they all have their strengths.
    And did you hear NetFlix is raising their prices, so they can survive?

  6. I pay for cable, not that I do much watching.

    I have a couple of people who beta read for me, but they aren't writers. Haven't had a writer who read through everything all at once for a while. Nowadays, I exchange reviews a few chapters at a time with other writers. Still, I trust their judgement, which is why we're still doing what we do.

  7. Those are great commercials. I don't think you are strange or crazy, we haven't had TV in the house for some time now. We stream Netflix (which will soon only cost $7.99 a month for unlimited streaming, mind you...) and use the internet for our news and communication. I don't miss TV. There usually isn't anything good to watch on the 1,000 + channels everyone offers. Sure I have my favorite shows, but with most of my time being taken up with computer stuff anyway, I only sit down long enough to catch up on those shows.
    Good post!

  8. I haven't had cable or an antennae in almost 4 years, and though I occasional go over to my neighbors to channel surf (I do miss channel surfing) I don't miss it at all.
    I can't get Hulu because I'm Canada, and it really sucks because Hulu looks awesome. I tried netflix, but I found the selection less than mediocre. There are a few free sites I watch TV shows and movies on that are a blast - so I'm really not missing out on much - except commercials.
    You wouldn't believe how many times family members have asked me, quite regularly, "Have you seen the new 'yadayada' commercial?". At which point I must remind them AGAIN, that I do not have TV.
    So thank you for sharing these hilarious commercials and keeping me in the loop.

  9. Wow, that blog sounds like just what I need! Thank you for the link. I can't wait to start my hunt for some seriously good beta-readers.


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