A friend of mine was recently rooting around for beta readers. I’ve been a beta reader for a few friends, and have had friends be my beta readers as well. But it seems as if finding fresh beta reader eyes (in case I haven’t mentioned beta reader often enough in this post) is difficult to do. In part because I want an experienced writer to look over my work. I want someone who can ask the important questions and pull out even the mildest inconsistencies. I don’t want someone to tell me they like it because they’re afraid of hurting my feelings, but I also don’t want someone to rip it to shreds because they want to feel like the Voice of Literature Authority. The beta reader in question must understand the genre in which I write. They must enjoy that genre and read it often. They must be able to have the time to read the entire manuscript over the course of a few weeks.
I’m curious, does anyone else feel this way? Where do you find your beta readers? What do you want from them, and what would you be willing to give back? (A friend once gave me chocolates as a thank you. Very touching.) I’d love to hear everyone’s answers!