I realised yesterday that I'm going to need beta readers soon. I have no idea where I'm going to get them from. I haven't had the best luck with beta readers in the past. I seem to be inflicted with people who send me a two line email saying yeah, great story, you should be a writer - cue my head imploding. I feel like I'm begging to be criticised which probably doesn't do much for my self esteem at some level.
In case you aren't sure, beta readers are like guinea pigs and free slaves all rolled into one. You can test your manuscript on them, find out if the plot is believeable, get them to check for continuity, flat characters, scenes that drag. Some, and these I find amazing, even check for spelling errors and grammar mistakes. They have their own strengths and weaknesses so you tend to need a couple of a good, even assessment of your work.
I am jealous of people who have a perfect set of beta readers. You know those writers who have used the same group of people for years and have no worries? I want that to be me. But I'm starting to think there was a finite supply of beta readers and now they've all been taken. It's hard to get anyone willing to invest that kind of time into something. Aside from reading the story, they have to communicate their concerns about it. A lot of beta readers are also writers so finding them at a good (non-busy) time is next to impossible. That's hardly surprising, I'm constantly working on my own things, I would take forever to finish going over someone else's manuscript with a fine tooth comb. Finding people willing to read is no problem but for some reason, a lot of people seem to have a hard time being critical. Hard to believe when you read some Amazon reviews...
Expect to see me float around the Internet soon, begging people to tell me what's wrong with me. *sigh*