THE DEEP LINK is finally ready for betas! Champagne for everyone!

*corks fly through the roof*

My first science-fiction novel is finally DONE!


This is where I tap dance and jump through burning hoops to impress you — because I need your help.

I need willing and able beta-readers to give me honest feedback, so I can trim and polish this novel to near perfection. And then –> self-publish the hell out of it.

That’s right: SELF-PUBLISH.

Because I decided that I really don’t want to be tied up in a contract for this trilogy, adding external pressure to my own sado-masochistic approach, and loading me up with additional obligations. So I won’t even begin querying agents, and focus on polishing the hell out of this novel straight for publication instead. The next project I’m working on is a standalone novel set in a different storyworld, and I will very likely send that one through the trad pub channel. Taking a hybrid approach to the business side of writing is absolutely the best choice, IMO.

But first things first.

Now, I need awesome betas to whip me this novel into shape.

And because I value your time and opinion, I will query you! This way, you get to request a partial or a full, or even say “I regret to inform you that I cannot take any new clients at the time.”  Over the bridge of your nose, of course, sipping Earl Grey and looking all professionaly bored.

Now to the hoop jumping and pin juggling part!

Dear Reader,

After screwing up a first contact mission, TARYN finds herself mentally linked to a ruthless alien warlord. AMHARR uncontrollably invades her mind, and a terrible struggle begins that shakes the core of her entire being.

In her desperate attempts to break free of him, Taryn wrecks both their lives and of everyone around them, igniting century old conflicts on both sides.

Caught in a maelstrom of violence, she must take charge of much more than her own life, while Amharr faces a choice no one has ever dared to make before.

As the stakes escalate, their link could become their downfall, or their greatest weapon.

THE DEEP LINK is a science-fiction novel of about 155.000 words. It is book #1 in the ASCENDANCY TRILOGY, and my first completed novel.

Thank you very much for your time,
Yours Truly


If you want to beta read this novel (YAY!), here is what I need from you, and what I can offer in return.

What I need from you

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Either of the following types of feedback:

  • Gut-Response Feedback
    • Tell me what goes on through your mind while you read certain things; give me immediate emotional feedback wherever you feel like it. I find these stream-of-consciousness responses the most revealing.
    • Note anything that rips you out of the story, makes you scratch your head or scroll back to a previous chapter to clarify something.
    • Don’t be afraid to be direct, even if it’s not particularly “professional”,  but please don’t be unnecessarily rude. I got feels too. Note: I don’t consider foul language to be rude as long as the actual message is useful.
  • Linguistic feedback
    • I am not a native English speaker, so I’m very thankful for any feedback related to my linguistic dexterity. Let me know if you feel that certain words or phrases sound “off” for whatever reason, or if you like the way I smashed words together for special effects.
  • Structural feedback
    • Anything related to plot and character arcs. This is more writerly feedback, but if it comes natural to you, I definitely welcome it.
  • Worldbuilding feedback
    • Any science-fiction elements that draw your attention, either positively or negatively, and why; any unaswered questions about the setting that are bugging you throughout the story.

I also need you to agree to following things:

  • Timely delivery
    • This might sound a bit presumptuous, but even though your time is very precious indeed, so are my nerves; hence I would appreciate it if you could deliver the beta reading feedback within four weeks (tops) from the reception of the manuscript.
  • Confidentiality
    • While telling everyone online that you’ve just beta-read an awesome novel is welcome (duh), I would appreciate it if you would not blurt out any spoilers to everyone. Equally, bashing it (or me) publicly for any silly mistakes you find is not cool. I’m sure you understand.


What I can offer in return

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Either of the following things:

  • I can beta read a novel for you
    • preferably science-fiction, but thrillers, horror, romance and urban fantasy are also okay (just no high fantasy, erotica or historical fiction please, I suck at evaluating those).
    • with “beta reading” I mean offering the same kind of feedback I ask for above, and not free editing services or writing technique training.
  • I can critique a short story for you
    • that means I will read several versions of a story (anything up to 5K) and grind it down word for word, technique by technique, until you feel it’s as shiny as it can be.
  • I can help you plan or outline a novel
    • I know I’m not a famous author or writing coach, but I’m fantastically well organized, and I’ve amassed the knowledge of over two dozen writing books and countless blogs. You can run your story plan or outline by me, and I will mark your plot holes, help you push your characters to the next level, or help you even out any logistic bumps you’re struggling with.


How this exchange will likely go down

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If you’re interested, please email me at veronica dot sicoe at gmail dot com, or state your explicit interest in the comments and I will email you.

I will send you the first chapter of my novel for your perusal, and you can then decide if you really want to go through with this or not.

Why so cautious? Because beta reading a novel of 155K is no easy task, and nothing is more valuable than your time. I don’t want you to hate me for those four weeks, just because you feel you can’t back out of your initial offer. Why would you? For example because the novel is written in present tense, and you realize you can’t read more than 3 pages of that. Or maybe you hate the protagonist’s voice. Dunno. There could be plenty of reasons of personal taste, and I will NOT begrudge you any of them — that’s why I want you to commit only after you get to sample the manuscript. Cool? Cool.

If you ask for the whole thing, I will email you an MS Word document which you can work on by using Word’s track changes function. If you don’t have MS Word or Open Office Writer, we’ll figure out an alternative together.

Like I mentioned above, your deadline for giving me the full feedback is four weeks. The novel is long, but it’s not a whole series, so I think that’s a fairly reasonable deadline for everyone, and it can accommodate the unpredictability of life.

After you send me the feedback, I will NOT defend my work and attack your observations; I will NOT unfriend you or boo you or anything, but neither will I sacrifice goats in your name for loving my story. I’ll try to keep as much of my sanity dignity throughout this process as possible.

You can then ask for a return service from me, as listed above, which will be quid-pro-quo, meaning that if you read one novel of mine, I will read one novel of yours, or I can do any one of those other things for you.

As a result of this exchange, we might find out we work well together (and for one another), and develop a fruitful beta-buddy relationship. Or we may not, which is perfectly fine too. We might not have the same tastes, same skills or direction in our careers. No problem. That doesn’t mean we can’t be writer friends who support each other through the various hardships of this writing journey. 🙂



Any suggestions?

Since I have no real experience with the beta reading process (especially not from the receiving end), please feel free to make any suggestions you think might help me.


*nose dives from the trapeze*

*lands on Bozo The Clown*

*is chased out of the circus tent under threat of murder by pie*

Published by Veronica Sicoe

Science Fiction Author — I deliver the aliens.

2 thoughts on “THE DEEP LINK is finally ready for betas! Champagne for everyone!

  1. Hi – I am just putting a bow on my sci-fi story and would love to have honest feedback from someone who isn’t afraid to honestly speak their thoughts.

    …Also, I’d love to read “The Deep Link” and give you my opinion – I am constantly reading and trying to undestand the authors writting style and grammer methods…

    So, if you have another spot for a cool dude from southern California to read your masterpiece, then please reach out.

    I also read your requirements and will try and read within 4-weeks…

    Anyway, I am starving to make contact with other writters, if only to exchange ideas.
    donaldpz at cox dot net
    thanks, Donald Piazza


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