Monday, September 17, 2007

I should have known ...

Now here's what ought to be one of the great advantages of reading while growing up. After reading about all the tragic mistakes people make in works of fiction, you'll know better, you'll never repeat them in your own life, right?


I wish. Despite reading much wonderful fiction in which the conflict turns on a father's expectations that his children will share his interests, I still expected my children to gravitate quickly to my own interests. The good news is that my disappointments were not the stuff of great, tragic fiction. And at least, I've relearned that lesson, right? I know better than to let my own expectations override my own experience.


I wish. Which brings us to: beta testing.


I know a lot about beta testing. I've been closely involved in many product tests. I have a pretty good idea of what you have to do to get adequate comments about a nearly complete product. One important matter is the size of your beta test: many of the people who agree to test a product will never be heard from again. Many of them will give you such vague comments that you'll have no idea how much they used it, whether they liked it, and whether it works. Some of your beta testers will have chillingly horrible experiences, but give you too little information, so that you will wonder whether your product contains a horrible bomb that's going to blow up right and left, or whether that tester was very unlucky. I could go on. But the point is, I KNOW this stuff, right?


I wish. Which brings me to the fantasy novel I'm writing. I've found more than a dozen people to read it. And that means that it's in beta testing right now. And I fancied that getting it into the hands of so few people would give me plenty of good feedback. Why didn't I realize that this beta test would be like all the others?


Hey, thanks for listening. I feel better already.
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