For my 3rd Draft Beta Reading of Power of the Mages, I decided to include a survey to ensure the commenters addressed items in which I am particularly interested. Because they are doing this on a strictly volunteer basis, it was important to me to make the survey easy for them to fill out. To that end, even though essay answers would probably be more revealing, I made the questions answerable by numeric ratings, though I did instruct them to feel free to elaborate.
The first question is the most important. My marketing strategy is based on having a product that is so good most readers will recommend it to others, so I needed to know if the beta reader thinks the book is worth recommending.
Question 1: Would you recommend this book to others? Choose an answer from the following list:
a. Absolutely. I loved it and will proclaim its awesomeness from the rooftops.
b. Probably. I liked it and will tell friends about it if I think they’ll enjoy the content/story.
c. Maybe. It was okay, but nothing to write home about. If one of my friends is a hardcore fantasy fan, I’ll tell him about it.
d. Unlikely. It just wasn’t that good.
e. No. Your writing sucks.
I consider myself an author who writes character driven stories. Thus, it’s important to me to learn how my readers feel about my characters. Note that the reader loving or hating a character doesn’t matter to me as much as them feeling something strongly. Even if I want them to love the protagonist, I’d accept a “1” as being a good thing while feeling that a 5 or 6 is a failure.
Question 2: Please rank the likeability of the following characters on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 means you hate that character. 10 means you love that character. 5.5 means you are completely apathetic about, or can’t really remember, the character.
I then listed each of the 7 major characters, the antagonist, and 4 minor characters.
For my final two questions, I wanted to find out how the readers felt about certain character and story arcs, both if they liked the story line in general and if they felt I depicted it consistently.
Question 3: On a scale of 1 to 10, please rank the following story and character arcs in regards to how much you enjoyed them. 1 means you hated the story/character arc. 10 means you loved the story/character arc. 5.5 means you are completely apathetic about, or can’t really remember, the character/story arc.
I listed the major character arcs, plots, and conflicts between characters — 17 in all.
Question 4: On a scale of 1 to 10, please rank the following story and character arcs in regards to how consistently you feel they were represented in the book. 1 means it was confusing and all over the map. 10 means it flowed logically from beginning to end. 5.5 means you really didn’t notice that particular story element.
I listed the same items as for Question 3.
Once I get the results back, I’ll compile them and do a post about the results.
Have any of you done anything like this? How’d it go? Are there other questions I should have asked?