Help Wanted: Beta Readers, Publishing Advice and Sleuthing Skills

Dear Wonderful, Fabulous Reader:

All right, you guessed it. Even though you are wonderful and fabulous, we’re going to ask you a favour. Or two. Or three.

Now, we realize this is a busy time of year and nobody is ever short of Things To Do. Please do not feel obligated to volunteer your services.

However! In case you’re looking for a diversion on a long road trip or plane ride, we may have something of interest.

1. Help Wanted: Beta Readers
Image: Sound and Vision LABS

We participated in NaNoWriMo in 2016, and we managed to finish a young adult novel. We are seeking a couple of beta readers to give an objective opinion. We created a short checklist of things to keep in mind while reading, and we’ll provide a PDF format of the manuscript.

If you’re interested, please leave a comment below or message us on Twitter: @925screenings.

2. Self-Publishing Advice
Image: Warner Archive

We’re toying with the idea of self-publishing our novel if it Passes Muster with the aforementioned beta readers. However, the prospect of self publishing is, frankly, overwhelming.

We want to be clear: We have no expectations of becoming Rich And Famous with this novel. We’re merely checking it off our Bucket List.

Have you self-published? If so, what has been your experience?

3. What is this Book?
Image: Reddit

We recently received an unusual book (see below). It appears to be a Warner Bros. promotional item geared to theatre owners (distributors?) for films to be released in 1946. We just can’t seem to find much information on it.

Here’s what we know:

  • Martin Macall is credited as the author.
  • Published by Hollywood Publications Ltd. of Premier House, Hatton Garden, London. Wikipedia says Hatton Garden was once in London’s “jewellery quarter” in the 1800s, but is now home to media outlets.
  • Hardcover, 96 pages.

Here are some photos:

Front Cover
Title Page
Look! Three of our fave actors.
The article everyone reads first.

Have you come across a similar book? If so, what have you discovered about it?

4. To Conclude

Summer has arrived in our part of Canada (finally). May your summer be as groovy as a 1960s beach party.

Image: Giphy


  1. Dear Ruth,

    Congratulations on having written a book! I would love to read it and give you my opinion, and my sister can read it, too. Our email address is After I read it, perhaps I can tell you what I think about publication.

    By the way, I just launched a new website, the L. A. Soprani Sisters ( You can also read a couple articles about it on our website.

    Yours Hopefully,

    Tiffany Brannan

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations on finishing the book!! I would LOVE to beta read it for you!

    Also, I have self-published a couple of books in the past, and it can actually be quite easy to do these days especially with websites like CreateSpace (which I haven’t used myself before, but I can’t for the life of me remember the names of the two I did use, sorry!) – the one thing is that you really have to be up to promoting yourself and your work to sell copies, which was something I struggled with (promote the work of others? No problem! Promote myself? Not so much!). I know you don’t want to sell a million copies, but it does feel really good to sell some! πŸ™‚ One tip/piece of advice I can give you is to make sure you have a visually appealing cover – even though they say not to judge a book by its cover, people do and a really well thought out, visually appealing cover will help attract readers. πŸ™‚

    Oh, and speaking of promoting others – when you do publish the book, I would be more than happy to also write a review for it, either on my blog, Goodreads or both. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You seem to have a number of eager volunteers to read your book. If you still need more hands and eyes, I’ll be happy to pitch in. I’ve done a fair amount of writing and editing in my time. My current blog is also done in WordPress.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve self-published four books, made a lot of mistakes, have learned a lot and would be happy to share that information. Caveat: I’m not an expert, I fall more into the “one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind” category, but I do know enough to steer you away from pitfalls. You can take a look at my website to see what I’ve done, in order to decide if what I know would be helpful to you. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations on finishing a book. That is fabulous. I’m afraid between travel, family visitors and writing, my summer is a little crammed and I might not have time to read it for you. However – if you’d like to email me (contact me tab on my page) I’d be happy to recommend to you some great books that I read about publishing and getting a literary agent (should you decide to seek that path in the end). Let me know! And best of luck to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey Ruth,

    I’ve self-published my novels, short stories, and my film review books since 2009. I’ve also learned a lot through the Hit-or-Miss Method. πŸ™‚

    FWIW, I give the occasional advice for writers and indie authors (i.e., self-published authors) on my YouTube channel:

    I also teach a course on self-publishing on Udemy:, which frankly could use an update, because I’ve learned even more since I put the course up. I really should break that course down into three separate courses on ebook, print, and audiobook publishing.

    There are all sorts of books about self-publishing, too, FWIW.

    Unfortunately, I make a policy of not reading unpublished manuscripts. However, if you do self-publish, I am a fan of many types of young adult fiction (not all, but many). Depending on whether your book is the type I read, I’d be willing to take a look at a review copy for purposes of doing an early review.

    That’s the second-most important thing after getting a great cover. Getting early reviews. Word of mouth!

    In fact, I’d start developing a mailing list now. That’s another thing–marketing. I could go on, but I should stop here.

    If nothing else, check out my YouTube videos for indie authors and writers. I should really put up more tutorials about self-publishing specifically.

    Hope any of this helps! πŸ™‚



    • Thanks, Debbi – and thanks for the links. I’d often wondered if you were self-published or not, and I should have just asked you. Your course sounds valuable, so I’ll be checking into that.

      Also, thank you for offering to do an early review, if the novel is something you normally read. If I do go ahead and publish, I’ll be sure to take you up on that! πŸ˜‰

      Honestly, I am not keen on the marketing aspect, but I’ve already gotten a lot of resources just here in the comments, so I’ll be able to find a place to start.

      Hopefully, all these comments will be helpful to other writers thinking of publishing. Thanks again for stopping by and for all your advice.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Congrats on your book! I don’t know how I just saw this post. Where have I been and what have I been doing? Apparently not paying attention. Big round of applause for you. How exciting!

    I sympathize with you about #3. I, too, have put on my detective hat to find out things about a “mysterious” movie book that I recently bought (it’s part of my bookstore series). Here’s hoping that we both come to the bottom of things!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I publish with small presses. My advice is to get a beta reader (I hire mine), then try agents (unless you are impatient as I am.). I have found some publishers through They also list agents now. There are also things on Twitter called PitchWars but the timing hasn’t worked out for me to try one of those.

    Liked by 2 people

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