Beta-readers are often considered some of the most important individuals in the writing business. They can provide some of the first impressions of a book as a reader before or even after editing has began taking place by a professional. Feedback, first impressions, or even small errors can be easily picked up by a beta-reader while they’re reading over the manuscript you’ve provided, but what are the risks?

  • Without trust you could easily find yourself in a sticky situation. If the beta-reader isn’t someone the author knows well and trusts fully they can find their manuscript leaked, pirated, or even straight plagiarized.
  • Dishonest feedback. Sometimes even those we trust the most may not provide the feedback we need choosing instead to be nice and sugar coat a situation to spare the writer’s feelings. It can even happen that a beta-reader may not even read the manuscript. Whether they forget or never cared, but wanted you to believe they did, sometimes a person calling themselves a beta-reader is posing as a professional. Wolves in sheep’s clothing.

How can one avoid things like the mentioned above? How can you trust anyone in the business? Naturally, many turn to trusted family, co-workers, and friends to be beta-readers. They’re close, you can talk to them most often easier than someone online or that’s a professional, but even this can be risky. It all boils down to trust and professionalism.

  • The truth can hurt, but if you know someone that will definitely give you the facts and not the phony they could be a good beta-reader for you.
  • Professionals, there is an entire industry of professional beta-readers for hire if you’re wishing to go that route.
  • Choosing someone in the genre of your manuscript can really make a difference. Picking someone that wouldn’t pick up a book about werewolves most likely wouldn’t enjoy your book about them either.
  • Choose wisely and with intelligence, this manuscript is important to you and don’t take all your hard work lightly by placing it in the hands of someone who wouldn’t either. You could find yourself waiting for weeks or even months only to find out it’s been a major waste of your time.
  • If your story isn’t making sense they can point that out.

Things you need to know going in or to remember are:

  • They’re not the same as a critiquing partner. A critiquing partner is often another writer that will give you feedback based on your requests. They will do this usually as an exchange. ‘You read mine and I’ll read yours’ situation.
  • Beta-readers often can be sensitive to some materials, you’ll have to give them a fair-warning for things that may upset them. Often times a beta-reader will not read material that could be offensive to them or genres they won’t enjoy.
  • Be clear about what you’re looking for, a timeline for them to get it back to you, and what your ultimate goal is. Remember they’re beta-readers. They will approach as a reader would.
  • Sometimes the term sensitivity reader comes into play with a beta-reader, they’re a type of beta-reader that will read a manuscript knowing that the material may offend and will point this out to you or any issues with offense that may arise.
  • Be firm on your deadlines, wants, and needs. Beta-readers are not editors and don’t let them be. Some may find things, that’s fine, but don’t ask for a full edit. I repeat, they are not editors.
  • Trust is everything.

Bachman: Tell us a bit about yourself, your work, what genre(s) you write in, and something you’d like to share about yourself that maybe isn’t well know.

Tann: My name is Bryan Tann. I’m a young kid in a near old fart’s body. I am the author of the Dark Lands universe and the John Baker Chronicles series. I am an author in the CHBB Publishing family. I don’t really have a “genre” that I write in. I enjoy a little bit of everything so I try to incorporate a little bit of everything in my writing. I am huge into collecting movies and tend to yell at the TV at characters that annoy me. Like Dudley Dursley. Selfish, spoiled little prick!

Bachman: Is being a writer a gift or a curse? It is a little bit of both, to be honest. I love being able to find the words to express myself.

Tann: I love the story ideas that I can come up with, but when the muse isn’t there and I NEED to write and can’t it is emotionally painful.

Bachman: What’s your writing process look like? What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Tann: My writing process isn’t really all that special. I tend to research as I go along because my writing process is very chaotic. I get an idea and I start writing. When I come up to something that I do not know about, then I look it up. I find a few different sources and if they come together, there you go. My muse comes and goes so sporadically that I never want to lose it when it comes.

Bachman: If you were deserted on an island, which three people would you want to have with you? Why? Criteria: One fictional character from your book.

Tann: I’m honestly not sure. Most of my characters are aspects of me, so they live in my brain anyway. If I was forced to pick one, it would probably be Enya Blake. Who wouldn’t want to be stranded on an island with a beautiful woman?

Bachman: One fictional character from any other book.

Tann: From any book? Hmmm that is a tough one. Maybe Hermione Granger. If I can’t have Enya there, why not have a crafty, genius level witch on my side?

Bachman: One famous person that is not a family member or friend.

Tann: Hmm famous person that isn’t a family member or friend…wow. That’s hard. I would say Ronda Rousey. If someone tried to beat me up, she would have my back.

Bachman: What about the genre(s) you write in attracted you to them?

Tann: I love vampires. Period. Vampires, Werewolves, Witches, Wizards, any of that. I love them. The power, the frightening world, I love it all.

Bachman: What’s your latest release about?

Tann: So the first book in the Dark Lands universe, The Enforcer is a story of a bad ass vampire Enforcer named Bryce Kreed. He has had his job as the judge, jury, and executioner of the vampire world, but the power went to his head and he began to enjoy killing too much. After having a…an epiphany…he realizes that he needs to change. So he wants forgiveness, but forgiveness for a vampire isn’t easy. Fast forward a century and he’s stuck in a rut, until Enya Blake, a Mistress Vampire three thousand miles away, needs his help. He first decides to help her just to piss off his “boss” in his hometown until he falls in love with her and decides her safety is his top priority.

Bachman: Do consider yourself to be a successful writer? If so, why? If not, what would make you successful?

Tann: I don’t know really. I mean, how does one define success? Am I doing better than I was when I first started writing ten years ago? Absolutely. I had to learn A LOT of the ups and downs of this business. I needed to meet good people in this business. I have done more in the last year than I did in the nine years previous. So in that regard I’m doing a lot better. Let’s see if it translates into my sales in March HAHAHAHAHA

Bachman: A brilliant idea hits you, what do you do first?

Tann: I try to find a piece of scrap paper and I start writing the idea out.

What one thing would you give up to become a better writer? Hahahaha working a day job! But seriously, I would probably get rid of gaming systems. Get me a Blu-Ray player and I don’t really need anything else.

Bachman: Do you believe in writer’s block?

Tann: Oh God yes. It hits me all the time.

Bachman: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

Tann: I have only had a few since my first release of The Enforcer and its sequel, The Hunted, didn’t really do that well. I didn’t really get any negative critiques because it was people that knew me that reviewed.

Bachman: How did publishing your first book change your process of writing? How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

Tann: Which time? HAHAHA. Honestly I just needed to become a stronger writer. I needed to write in a way that was easier for the reader. I needed to grow and I think I am a much better writer than I was even a year ago.

Bachman: Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

Tann: I think it hurts. When you’re a blatant jerk, you rub people the wrong way. Although you need to have a good balance of being a good person but setting boundaries and expressing confidence. When I think ‘big ego’ I think massive asshole.

What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry? I hate the people that ‘troll’ writers and negatively review them. Or steal their work and try to pass it off as their own. If you can’t create your own shit then don’t. If you steal someone else’s, you should have some serious consequences come your way. Like launched into the sun.

Bachman: Does your family support your career as a writer?

Tann: I am a firm believer that blood makes you related, loyalty makes you family. Those that I am related to that are family are supportive as best they can be. Those that are just related, I could care less what they think. Those that are straight family, they do what they can. Honestly, though, I’ve never had anyone make a fuss over things that I do. You know? In some instances, I think that, as a kid, so long as I stayed out of trouble with the law they were satisfied.

Bachman: How do you balance making demands on the reader with taking care of the reader?

Tann: I don’t know yet. I haven’t really been in that situation. I just want to give the reader something great to read and get into. I want their emotions to be hit in all directions. If they hate me for what I did, I hope that they were so into it that I took it into a direction they weren’t emotionally ready for, so they’re like “DAMN YOU!” sort of how people were toward JK Rowling when she killed Dobby and Fred Weasley. It’s because we fell in love with those characters and then BAM! GONE! I want to have that same kind of reaction.

Check out more from Bryan here:

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I was lucky to get a few of Richard Pruitt’s time. He’s the mastermind behind the website The Buzzkill Magazine. If you’ve dug deep into the website you will see, for some time, I wrote for this magazine and it spawned the series here on the website called The Veil, formerly known as WTF Cryptos when it lived on Richard’s website.

So, what does a former writer of a magazine ask their former boss who doubles as a comedian? I had several questions and he actually answered them! Below is just that interaction.


For those that don’t know you or what you do in the publishing industry, please take a few moments to explain.

A loaded question right out of the gate. My name is Richard Pruitt and I am the president of Random Evolved Media LLC. Under our umbrella, we publish books, create podcasts, and create content for our online publication TBK Magazine.    

How do you do all that you do?

Coffee with a side of more coffee. I always feel the days are not long enough. 

From an informational and interesting website to most recently the publishing side of the business, how has the transition been for you?

Adding book publishing to our list of things just seemed perfect. Almost like Peanut Butter and Chocolate. Yes, there are days I want to rip out every hair on my head. At the same time, having the honor of getting to help authors go after their dreams is worth it. Getting to walk through each step of the process with each author is something I never knew I wanted to do with life until I did it.

One glance at your work and one could easily think you’re overworked, what would you have to say to someone wondering how you do it all?

I have always heard the old adage,“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Somedays are bad and frustration rears its three heads. If anyone did not know, frustration looks a lot like King Ghidorah from the Godzilla franchise. By the end of the day, if we made one person smile or think or cry or scared, it’s worth everything.

What’s the first thing you plan on doing when the pandemic is over?

I have thought about this extensively. And when the time comes, I will be taking a trip to my favorite place on the planet, Medieval Times. I wish I was kidding but I walk through the castle doors and I automatically just have a smile on my face. Plus, you can drink beer out of a horn.

With your fingers in so many pots, what’s one thing you haven’t done yet that you’re planning on doing?

Sketch Comedy or creating our own independent movie.

How did you start your career? When did you get the idea and how did you begin your website that has now branched out so greatly?

In high school, I joined the International Thespian Society. During one of our state conventions, I discovered improv. And I jumped on stage when they asked for volunteers, I think I was on that stage for a solid 15 minutes. That is the moment that I decided I wanted to do something to entertain people. I did improv for a little bit, I transitioned to stand up comedy and radio DJ.

The start of TBK Magazine is bittersweet. In 2009, my mom had a stroke. She had to be rushed to the ER and her doctor sat down with me. Someone needed to take care of her. I gave up everything because that is my mother. During that time, I wanted to do something creatively but nothing crossed my mind. YouTube is still in its infancy stages at the time. So, I decided to just write silly stuff. Numbers started out small. I remember being so excited the first time I hit 100 reader for a month. In 2015, we covered a comic convention. And my mind was blown. I remember getting that email and just busting out in tears. I never thought anything like that would happen. It’s still surreal and humbling to me to this day.

Do you ever Google yourself?

Occasionally. I like to do so in private….browsers.

Is there anything you are always on the lookout for? New staffers? New submissions for the publishing company?

We are always looking for new staff members for TBK Magazine. If you have an idea, we would love to hear it. And the same with books. At first, we considered just publishing certain genres, but it just does not fit our company. There is a reason I love the motto “We are Random Evolved.” You can look towards any direction and hopefully find something. Over the next few years, we have books that fall under romance, humor, horror, science fiction, religion being released. As far as submissions, we are open to all genres. Of course, we have to read those submissions.

Also, we are working on our first anthology. The anthology will be coming out stories from members of the LGBTQ+ community. All proceeds from this book will be donated to The Glo Center in Springfield Mo. The center gives LGBTQ+ youth of SW Missouri and the Ozarks a place to be themselves.

Our book submission link can be found at https://randomevolvedmedia.com

Our magazine staff addition page can be found https://tbkmagazine.com/join-staff/ which apparently also has the Uncle Sam I Want You Poster except Uncle Sam is replaced by Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony.

 What are your plans for the next five years? Expansion?

I love this question. As a company the main thing is growth. Comic Books and Graphic Novels is something that is being talked about for later down the road. Hard Back Covers for each release. The Podcast Network is growing, next logical progression is adding video with the episodes. One of the reasons I am losing weight. No one wants to see Great Value Josh Gad.


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