I've written quite a bit aboutmy latest project, but now I have an issue, a sort of strange one.  I kinda want to beta the setting and the story...

I love my readers!  You are very helpful and supportive, and I miss the closeness we developed when I was writing for Amazon Shorts.  The immediacy of the medium helped to keep me motivated, and got you all involved in my creative process.  We knitted together in a special and meaningful way.  I miss that, and want to bring it back.

Thailand - Ayuthaya 5 - Buddha head by mckaysavage

I have a problem here.  I honestly don't want to make this special content open to everyone.  That might sound horrible, but one of the elements that added to my Amazon Shorts experience was low-cost of entry.  The low-cost of the shorts provided a barrier to readers, weeding out the casual readers.  This elite group really loved the setting and the stories, so they paid the entry fee.

While I might be wrong, I feel like we were able to connect and work together to make each story better.

I don't want comments from random readers.  I'll get those when the finished stories come out.  I release my books and stories free and paid, so I hear from random readers then.  For me, the purpose of a beta is to engage readers who love the work and really want to make it better.

Building a Member Site

I feel like I have to make it clear, I am not talking about turning all the dashPunk blogs into exclusive members sites.  I am thinking about setting up special member sites for the settings I am developing.  Those new sites will have some free and some members only content.

Would a small membership fee help or hurt?  Well, since I've decided to forgo mainstream publishers because I don't see the benefit of giving 75% of the money I make to a company that doesn't provide much of a benefit, I need to ensure that I have the money to submit the books to online stores.  Member fees would help with that.  It would also be a better way to tally the seriousness of votes.

For example, I am torn between two setting right now, I could (theoretically) use member counts to find out which setting you all want to see my next book in... or I could add a members only section to Blade Opera and post on both settings.  I could take the feedback more seriously because I know I am dealing with my core audience.

It might be stupid, but I am not sure what would work better.

Pay Wall as Social Proof?

Perhaps I have become too much of a capitalist over the years, but I want to make this beta site something very special for my readers.  A place for us to refine and perfect the stories.  I have noticed a marked difference in the level of setting knowledge exhibited by those who have bought a copy of one of my books compared to those who have read a free copy online.

Those of you who bought the books have asked me questions about things I didn't think anyone would notice.  Admittedly, this data is skewed, because you are the same readers that make it out to convention appearances, which makes you a special breed unto yourselves, but it is something I have noticed.

To me, anyone who is willing to spend a couple bucks a month to participate has a greater level of passion about the subject than those who are just willing to sit around and wait for the next book to come out.  It's that passion I want to harness for the betterment of the work.

Beta Testing

Most beta tests are a lottery.  Testers sign up and submit their system details, and are randomly selected based on what is needed for the test.

The only requirement I have is that you love my writing and sincerely want to help.  How can I check for those credentials?

I have posted stories to Authonomy and WeBooks, and often received unwanted comments about my sexuality and spam.  Not helpful.  If someone wants to give me money to call me a faggot, then more power to them.  A small pay wall feels like a good way to weed those people out of the garden.

Please Comment

Whether you love or hate the idea, please leave a comment.  I am not trying to hide the content I already post, I am desperately looking for a way to share my creative process that is currently hidden away in my Scrivner and EverNote with my most passionate readers.

If you are against the idea of a pay wall, please tell me why.

If you think it is worth a try, how much should it cost and what content would you expect to find there?  Do you want one for each project, or should I add it to my personal site (Blade Opera)?

Do you know of any alternatives?  I am really open to suggestions.

My name is Charlie, but if your looking for my work, I go by C. E. Dorsett.  I write scifi, fantasy, and a touch of horror.  I like to play with gothic, steampunk, decopunk, epic fantasy, and wuxia.  I love to tell stories and talk about books, movies, series, and music.