Sign up for the Human Legion Recon Team here…

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April 26, 2015
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May 1, 2015
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Sign up for the Human Legion Recon Team here…

RenegadeLegion04The Human Legion Recon Team is recruiting now…

[Update: the Recon Team is now operational and closed to new members for this book, but if you add your name below, I’ll add you to the list of interested people for the next book. Thanks.]

Renegade Legion, the third Human Legion book is nearly ready for beta readers. Because I spent twenty years arranging beta teams for (relatively) dull corporate database software, I’ve decided it would be more fun to call this a Recon Team. What’s it all about? Recon Team volunteers help by scouting ahead for hazards and highlighting dangers in an early draft of the forthcoming book. If you read a passage and it makes you whistle, curse, or throw your book (and the device you’re reading it on) across the room because something isn’t right, then I would like you to tell me about it. I ran a score of beta teams at Greyhart Press and had several repeat volunteers who said they kept coming back because they got a kick out of getting involved in a book project. I’m hoping you will get a similar buzz from getting involved in the first Human Legion Recon Team. Here’s how it works in outline:

  • I have up to thirty places in the team. If I get more volunteers than that, I’ll give priority to those who asked to join up first (and that includes those who kindly volunteered before today).
  • If you’ve already volunteered, you don’t need to do anything; I’ll be on touch soon. If you haven’t, you can sign up by adding a comment to this post, and I will contact you via email.
  • I’ll get you a first draft of the book as soon as it is available. I can provide Kindle and ePUB electronic versions. I am also happy to provide paperbacks, but the time taken to print and post will mean you will have less time to read, and realistically, delivery times mean I can only post paperbacks to US and UK addresses.
  • By first draft, I mean the book will be complete, but I haven’t sent it to any proof readers, and I will expect to go over it a few more times to tune up some of the words and sentences.
  • What I’m asking volunteers to do is to read Renegade Legion as if you were reading any other book (rather than as an insider) and make a note of anything that strikes you as wrong. This could be characters acting in a way that doesn’t make sense, passages that are confusing or have spelling mistakes, sex scenes that make you cringe, combat scenes that don’t ring true, or anything else that feels wrong. (I’ll give instructions on how to pass me your notes when you sign up).
  • There is a military backdrop to this novel, but I haven’t myself served my country in the armed services, and so I am particularly grateful to advice from those who have. I know Marine Cadet is a better book for having some of my movie-inspired nonsense pointed out by a former RAF serviceman.
  • I promise to read and take your comments seriously. I can’t promise to act on every suggestion. It’s possible that I do agree with an issue you raise, but choose not to do anything about it because doing so would mean months of rework, and I judge the issue relatively minor. It’s a strange truth about reworking books: rewriting takes longer and is more prone to errors than writing in the first place. Reworking software code is exactly the same.
  • Like I said, the reward (hopefully) is that you have some fun getting involved. To show my appreciation, I’ll send you paperback and eBook editions of the finished book, and there will be a page at the front of all editions where I will thank all the Recon Team members by name.
  • In terms of the timetable, it is going to change on the basis of when I’m ready and how much and what kind of feedback I receive. But here’s an initial outline.
    • With luck, I hope to finish the first draft this Friday (1st May). However, I seem to be having some health problems at the moment, so I may choose to push that into the following week in preference to keeling over dead from overwork.
    • I want the book to be in a pre-release state on Amazon by w/b May 25th. However, I would far rather delay that if the book could be improved by holding off..
    • That gives you 2-3 weeks to read, pass on your comments, and for me to implement them.

Hopefully I haven’t put you off yet! If you’re interested, please sign up by commenting below. Many thanks in advance, Tim

90 Comments

  1. Chris Browne says:

    I would be interested in being involved in the recon team

  2. Matt Dungan says:

    Sign me up for Recon Team please

  3. Ray Steele says:

    I would be interested in helping. I Volunteer to be a member of your Recon Team

  4. Edward Rydbeck says:

    I would love to assist you.

  5. Gareth Leadbetter says:

    Hi.

    I interested in being on the recon team. Given your time frame I will be able to read through the book a couple of times. I’ve not previously proof read any book, but am widely read.

  6. timctaylor says:

    Dear Chris, Matt, Ray, Edward, and Gareth. Thank you very much for your support. Welcome to the Recon Team! I’ll be in touch later this week.

  7. Jonathan Tuck says:

    Love series and would love to sign up

  8. David Lambert says:

    Please sign me up for the Recon Team.

  9. Andrew MacElhinney says:

    Please consider me for one of the beta spots. I really enjoy the ones I have read so far and would live to be included in the process. Thanks

  10. Gints says:

    I would like to volunteer for Recon Team.

  11. Dave boxmeyer says:

    I very much enjoyed the first two and would like to be one of your
    Beta readers for the next ones. I have 23 yrs military background since you mentioned the experience was helpful from a previous beta reader. Thnx

  12. Larry Payton says:

    Hello Tim,

    I would like to volunteer I beta read for Jamie McFarlane who writes the Privateer tales.

    Thanks! Larry

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  13. Kim Golden says:

    I would like to join the recon team.

  14. I’d like to be part of a Force Recon please.

  15. Cliff Gray says:

    great series and I volunteer to be part of it

  16. Connor Benson says:

    I’ll happily beta for you, I think we talked about this a while back.

    All the best!

    Connor.

  17. Rob Robertson says:

    Love to be part of the team. Count me in!

  18. I am interested in being on your Beta team for your upcoming book

  19. timctaylor says:

    Thanks for everyone who has responded so far. I’m overwhelmed by the response. I need to head off now to catch my bus into town to finish this first draft, so I’ll just say a general thank you and welcome everyone who has replied so far into the team. There are still some slots free. If you reply past the cutoff, I’ll put you in contention for the next book. Thanks.

  20. Karume T. Hickman says:

    I would be honored to help. I love this series and the possibility of being drawn in even deeper is amazing!!!

  21. Simon says:

    Yep sign me up !!! happy to join the team

  22. Gordon Taylor says:

    If you want the views of an octogenarian irascible old man I am always willing to help. I have read every story you have published so far and admire your talent.

  23. robin barayuga says:

    I’m very interested in joining the team

  24. Maribeth Pragid says:

    Have been surprised in the past by the number of errors after printing. The reader shouldn’t be distracted from a good read by careless editing. Be glad to help.

  25. Dave boxmeyer says:

    Tim,
    Thought I had signed up to volunteer but I didn’t see my comment posted so don’t know if it went through?

  26. timctaylor says:

    Many thanks to everyone who has volunteered so far. Congratulations, you’re in the legion now -:). Still a few slots free.

  27. Bernard Chia says:

    Hi Tim,
    I’m interested in signing up for your beta team.

    Bernard

  28. John Morris says:

    Would be happy to continue being involved in your work, thank you for the chance. John Morris

  29. Hyrum Savage says:

    If there are still open slots, please sign me up!

  30. timctaylor says:

    Thanks once again for everyone offering to sign up. There is one slot left for the team on this book. If you miss the cut-off but are still interested in joining up, I can still add you to the list of readers interested in the recon team for book 4. Next time, I’ll announce earlier and randomized the selection.

  31. paul says:

    if the last slot is still open I’m in….
    Paul

  32. timctaylor says:

    I’m now closing the Recon Team for book 3. Thank you very much to everyone who has offered to help. And if you didn’t get in but wanted to mark your interest in the fourth book, then please comment below.

  33. SGT MIKE says:

    Sweet, now you can piously say things like “Seat taken” when people ask to join!! Hope my email awhile back still counts!! Glad to see how the British military travels!! I will post a quick link to what my days in the US Army light infantry looked like!! If I knew how to include a picture that I was actually in I would, but the ladies might not be able to handle it! LOL!!

    http://i.imgur.com/2mAUSF6.jpg

    • timctaylor says:

      !! Be interested to see that. And, yes, you’re definitely in the team. Counting on it 🙂

    • Gordon Taylor says:

      Your sharp Mike to pick up we had two I.H. Half tracks. I was in a Royal Engineers independent assault squadron (Desert Rats) in Germany. We probably picked up the half tracks in the desert when the USA owners were not looking. Neither one needed any repairs in the 2yrs I was in charge of the vehicle workshops! Eventually I went down to the USA sector to collect a dozen White Half Tracks in 1956 when we prepared for Suez.

      • SGT MIKE says:

        Gordon,

        Yes, I did notice the half track!! In addition to being your typical angry, self important infantry sergeant I was a history major at a military academy here in The States. While I was in Iraq I worked on several missions with you Brits so I have some familiarity with your military and their gear and traditions. Further, after spending two years in Mesopotamia I can appreciate the intricacies of desert life and desert warfare more than most. As for “acquiring” gear, well our Marine counterparts had an expression that was apt for these situations.. “Gear adrift is a gift.” :p Glad to see such a sentiment is international. And hypothetically, I might have “acquired” a few pieces of Royal British Military kit while I was there for souvenirs.

        Respectfully,
        SGT MIKE

        PS: What is it about you Brits, drinking hot tea in the middle of the desert when its 100 degrees fahrenheit outside?

    • timctaylor says:

      SGT Mike, this will sound like a dumb question but… how did you manage to put a picture into my comments list!!!????

  34. Brian Berg says:

    Hey Tim. I am from Denmark and will like to be om Recon Team for book 4. I am not that good at spelling in english but I can read it, and I can see if something is out af place. Hope you can use me. If not I will read the book when it come out.
    Good luck to Recon Team 3.

    • timctaylor says:

      Thanks, Brian. I’ll mark you down for the next book. Don’t worry about the spellings because there are plenty of other perspectives I would appreciate being applied to my recon draft. I am always in awe of anyone who reads books for pleasure in a language other than their first. I almost read a book in French once, but to be honest it had lovely pictures to help 🙂

  35. Brian Berg says:

    Great. I wil be glad to help. Now I m just looking forward to “Renegate Legion”.
    I love reading books like Human Legion, and I can only get most af them in english. And many books lose something in translation.
    I have learned many new words in english. ;-))

    • timctaylor says:

      I’m still learning new words in English… Every day my son comes home from school 😃

    • ruopp says:

      Brian you’re absolutely right. Translation sucks and I also read all the books on their original languages. 🙂

      Tim,

      I received your mail inviting us to be your Recon Team but as my English is poor I thought I was a poor choice, except for space combat (3D) and some other areas as planets and moons combats.

      I’m not talking about tactics as you already have experts on that matter (Sgt. Mike and others) but possibilities of what can be done or not with the tech available.

      If you think I can help you… Count me in.

      H

      • timctaylor says:

        Thanks, Brian. If you’re up for it, I would like to bring you in for some tech and space combat consultation for the fourth book. We’re going to have more fleet engagements in space. And the tech war is going to be significant. 🙂

      • ruopp says:

        Tim,

        I’m not Brian but Hans. 🙂 I’ll be glad to help you. 😀

    • SGT MIKE says:

      Still, I am impressed with reading anything in your non native tongue! In college I had to read a novel in German, “Im Westen Nichts Neues” (All Quiet on the Western Front), and it was brutal. I carried my German-English Dictionary with me so much people mistook it for my bible! LOL!!! Keep up the good work and ask here if any of the expressions don’t quit make sense or don’t translate well…. I am sure we would all be glad to help!

      • Brian Berg says:

        Thanks SGT MIKE. If I need help for some words, I will ask. Some times I think I know what it is. But it will be great too have some one too ask if I am right.

  36. timctaylor says:

    🙂 Sorry, Hans. I know who you are, really!

    • ruopp says:

      Tim, don’t worry, I know you do. 😀

      I just made the point ’cause others don’t know we already have exchanged some thoughts about space combat possibilities on your site.

      Have a nice weekend.

      BTW, why don’t you put your book to pre-order purchase? That way I can buy it in advance and receive it when you publish it on Amazon.

      • timctaylor says:

        Hans, you have yourself a good weekend too. I intend to put the book on pre-release, but I will wait for reports from the Recon Team before setting the timing. Thanks.

  37. SGT MIKE says:

    Might I suggest a chat feature or open section where your foreign readers can ask for and get explanations of the various idioms and colloquial expressions that might be lost in translation?

  38. Gordon Taylor says:

    Good idea SGT Mike, Tim must have many readers with military experience and we could share some of that experience with those who haven’t any. Those who haven’t experienced military life will not have a clue what it is really like. I am talking about the human side and not the active service job. Most service people have more tails than a herd of monkeys to tell. A general chat room would provide an outlet for contributions from all human legion enthusiasts.

    • timctaylor says:

      Thanks for your suggestions. I’m concentrating on getting the third book done for now, but forums would definitely be better as comments get unwieldy v quickly. I may add an ‘ask your questions here’ section if I can’t find a neater way to implement quickly.

    • SGT MIKE says:

      Gordon,

      Your point about the tales of military veterans is absolutely true, though most of our stories might not be!! LOL!!!

  39. SGT MIKE says:

    Just finished reading book 3, I will definitely order it on Amazon so I can see the final polished version! Well done sir, well done!

    Gordon, I sent Tim some vehicular pictures for you to take a peek at as well! Hope you enjoy seeing what I played with.

  40. ruopp says:

    Sgt Mike, Tim,

    I agree that a forum would be a great addition to your site and it would also give you, Tim, lots of information while we, fans discuss about tactics, Sci-fi technologies, etc..

    One author I really like, Ryk Brown, is writing a series that he expects to have 75 books divided in 5 parts. Right now he’s written EP 13 of part one and expect to finish part one this year.

    On his site (http://www.frontierssaga.com) he created different topics and one of them is a forum where his fans can discuss about a lot of things concerning technology as well as sci-fi techs.

    He already said that he sometimes like the insights of their participants and add it to the books and that only make people keep sharing thoughts about what they expect to happen or the possibilities the existing tech can achieve. In my opinion this is really cool, it’s almost as an interactive sci-fi book.

    Back to the forum, unfortunately Tim will not be able to do that where he hosts the site now (WordPress.com). They have strict policies about third party plugins due to security reasons and as far as I know they don’t have a forum plugin.

    The only solution is to move the site to a host like godaddy or Dreamhost.

    I personally like godaddy because they are serious and for us that live outside US they have a support team in our country. In Europe, as far as I know they have support in UK, France, Switzerland — in 3 languages, my country 🙂 — Germany, etc.

    Tim, If you decide that it’s a good idea to start changing things like change hosts and add forums to your site, I think that I can help you. The last 10 years I have been managing Web servers that hosted some heavy traffic sites as well as some embedding programming (microprocessors). If you want I can share my experience with you so you can make your decision.

    Stay safe,

    H

    • timctaylor says:

      Hi Hans, I hadn’t seen Ryk’s website. Oh, yes, I am envious! (Although I’m sure that slick a design has been… well, *designed*. There’s been some skilled work gone into it.) Ryk’s sales are doing well for him, and I think his excellent website will have helped him. (I have to say I would hesitate before setting myself a 75-book target, though. That guy’s brave.)
      You are absolutely right that WordPress.com sometimes holds me back from doing what I would like. I might take you up on your offer of help in the future, but I’m going to slum it in WordPress.com for now, and I’ll tell you why. To be frank with you and share some financials, the first two Human Legion books sold so well earlier in the year that so long as I keep expenses under control, and don’t get distracted, they have funded me enough to pay the bills while I write books 3 and 4. But sales at the moment are a fraction of what they were. A great deal depends on whether book 3 is successful or not when it gets released (hopefully) at the end of this month. If it sells anything like as well as the first two books, then I can relax a little and look at things such as new websites, professionally drawn starmaps, and adding more to the Classified Military Data section. On the other hand, if only the hardcore fans on humanlegion.com buy book3, then I’m going to be looking to simplify my Human Legion life as much as possible, as I race to do a good job of completing the series before I run out of money.]
      LOL! I feel like I’m reverting to type. We’ve mentioned before how we both have an IT background. It was my role to go to check up on all the software development teams and tell them when I didn’t believe their project schedule forecasts, or that their defect rates were too high and had to stabilize code rather than add more features. So I was the guy that made them de-scope functionality until a future release. I wasn’t always Mr. Popular!
      Thanks for pointing me to Ryk’s site. I was impressed by the star chart, although it did look very two-dimensional to me. I have been thinking about how to represent three-dimensional stellar geography on a two-dimensional map surface without blowing the minds of my readers (or mine!).
      T

      • ruopp says:

        Tim,

        Thanks for your reply and for sharing all your concerns about finances.

        Some time ago I told you two things: First: You’re writing a real good sci-fi series and asking almost nothing for it. In the last ten days I read about 10+ books.

        Just to tell you how other authors do things: One author that I’m actually reading the 8th book of 2 different and connected plots uses to write books with an average of 220 pages, But guess what: when you read his books as I’m reading, one after another and that means that, at least 20 pages are just repetition from the previous book or even repetition from the same book. He’s asking for each of these books about 6.- USD, His plot is interesting and I like it but I think you do a hell of job our books are far better then his and you ask almost nothing for them.

        Remember that psychology plays a hole in peoples mind. When they see something with a little price they tend to think that the product is not worth to take a look and this is not always true, specially in the indies market.

        The second thing I told you was the you should add a “tip button” on your site and that I’ll be glad to be the first one to click and tip the can. 🙂

        A hosting at Godaddy is not that expensive. I paid more or less 40 USD for a year hosting. What I propose you and that with a lot of witness is that you send me a message with a paypal account and I’ll be glad to pay, at least 2 years for hosting your site.

        Oh and don’t even think to do anything for me. What I want to do is help a new writer to make success. When you get rich writing your series,, come to visit me in Switzerland and invite me for a dinner. That’s all I ask.

        About development teams…. Well I’ve been on both sides… the one that receive all the rage from the management and fought back because the client never knew what they wanted and the one to control quality from the different teams. I can say that I’ve made very few friends. One of the reasons I decided to be a consultant instead of a developer.

        Take care.

        • timctaylor says:

          Hi Hans, let’s hope that Swiss dinner is coming soon. Six dollars for 220 pages! Wow. You’re right, of course, about a low price making a product look cheap for a reason. The opening book is cheap as a invitation to try out the range, but I intend to be raising the third an subsequent books to $3,99 after an initial launch period. It would be silly to give up because I didn’t charge enough. What I need to know next before changing prices is whether I have enough of a following to get Renegade Legion high in the charts. We shall soon find out!
          Thanks for your Godaddy offer. I’m fully concentrating on the next book for now. But if it’s a success… I will look into this very closely.
          Thanks
          T

      • SGT MIKE says:

        I will make you a deal Tim, I will buy them as fast as you can write them! About all I can do to help though, sadly. 🙁

    • SGT MIKE says:

      Wow, that is a seriously generous offer! I hope Tim takes you up on it and all of his fans end up with a better webpage!

      • ruopp says:

        Sgt. Mike,

        I wish it was a really generous offer but in my reality, it will just cost me a dinner (for one person) with a bottle of wine nothing more. My country is probably the most expensive country in the world. I think I can pass a dinner out.

        But the most important thing is that I believe in retribution, not in a linear way but in my past some people helped me without any interest behind it.

        What I’m offering is just a way of retribution to the help I received once. I’m sure that in the future if the opportunity comes Tim will do the same for someone else. Imagine if he helps another indie author that will provide us with fantastic sci-fi stories. 😀

        BTW, don’t feel yourself bad because you can only buy his books. I think this is much more important than offering host or something else. Buying his books and writing a good reviews is much more than you can think (except if you decide to donate him a small fortune 🙂 ). Well there is also the spread the word within your friends about the great authors you have been reading.

  41. ruopp says:

    Tim, you say:

    “Thanks for pointing me to Ryk’s site. I was impressed by the star chart, although it did look very two-dimensional to me. I have been thinking about how to represent three-dimensional stellar geography on a two-dimensional map surface without blowing the minds of my readers (or mine!).”

    Check out this page, they have lots of interesting softwares to represent the universe in 3D or 2D.

    I use 2 of them: AstroSynthesis that I bought and let me create any kind of universe I want and Celestia that is a very sophisticate software. Both uses real data that can be imported.

    http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/starmaps/software.php

    • timctaylor says:

      Oh, yes! That is what I’m after. With AstroSynthesis, can you import the real star maps and then edit the names?

      • ruopp says:

        Hi Tim,

        Yes you can import real data (http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/starmaps/catalogues.php) and then edit and rename star systems. You can also add bodies to each system with the name you want. AstroSynthesis was basically developed for RPG games so it’s very flexible.

        I think you can download and try the software (probably with some limitations)

        BTW, you can also add .3ds files as a body in any given system. So if someone creates a 3d model of space station you can just add it in orbit of a planet. It’s really cool. Another interesting thing is that you can create routes between stars for using them as pre-existing wormholes.

        Also check at Astrosynthesis site (http://www.nbos.com/) a program called Inspiration Pad Pro. It’s free and I’m sure it’ll help you create names for people planets and everything else you want.

        Back to Ryk’s site, I should agree with you that it had some design done but far less than you can imagine. Most was done by configuration or tweaking the css theme file and of course plugins. I think I can help you with that.

  42. Bob Sagoes says:

    Since you did not serve in the armed forces, I would recommend that you read some field manuals which will give you a feel on how they operate I the field. We called it doctrine, how we do things. Priority of work, in a base camp. Ranger Handbook, or Sapper HB will give you some ideas. Combat operations, air drops, airborne operations these are just a few, and some of the best books.
    One thing I would leave you with is read, Standing orders, Roger’s Rangers.

  43. Ande says:

    Sign me up, please. Can’t wait!

  44. […] More to the point, we’re ready to start recruiting a Force Recon Team for the new novel.  For those on the squad last time, once again I thank you for your input, and we will assume you would like to be involved with the Human Empire team unless you tell us otherwise.  For those who weren’t, the Recon Team scanned the draft version of Renegade Legion for booby-traps: inconsistencies, clumsy or confusing wording, heathen Britishness, contrived characters, and any sign of dullness.  (see this post from last time for more details). […]

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