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View Full Version : Would I be an a-hole to do this to a beta?



Prawn
07-11-2008, 05:37 AM
I was thinking about posting and asking to swap beta reading with another novelist. But....

I am a jerk, I guess, but I don't want to beta for people who just showed up here on AW. I would rather beta for an AW regular. If somebody responds to my post and they've got 10 posts, I'd say no. Maybe even to someone who has a hundred posts if they have joined recently. I think someone who has been an AW member for at least a year and had made 500 or 1000 posts or more has maybe more of an idea of what writing is about.

Are my assumptions wrong? Am I full of crap? Would I be an a-hole to post for a beta and say I want someone who has been around AW at least a year and has a least a 1000 posts?

czjaba
07-11-2008, 05:41 AM
Personally, I don't think there is anything wrong with the idea. I do beta reads from time to time and I strongly prefer people who are regulars here, rather than fly-bys that stop in, ask for a reader, then never show back up again until they have something else that is ready for another beta.

C.bronco
07-11-2008, 05:45 AM
I'd beta anyone who asked. That's just me. But if this is an invitation, Dear Prawn, I might take you up on it!
;)

Fenika
07-11-2008, 06:04 AM
Same.

I'm thinking of finding another beta in a few weeks, and plan on refusing or screening the newbies. I totally understand wanting someone who has been around the block.

Silver King
07-11-2008, 06:49 AM
...Would I be an a-hole to post for a beta and say I want someone who has been around AW at least a year and has a least a 1000 posts?
That's a tough one. In doing so, you might turn away a newer member who could offer help but who doesn't have the requisite number of posts or time here you called for.

Also, it might appear that you want help only from experienced hands, like anyone else's input would not be appreciated.

(The best help I've ever received here came from newer members who happened along without any resume to speak of; they just offered advice, some of it life altering.)

MoonWriter
07-11-2008, 06:52 AM
I'm a newbie and I can understand your feelings. I had 4 readers look at what I thought was a polished MS. Their comments led to a major revision. Four more readers helped me to improve it even further. Of the 8 betas, I read returned the "favor" for six. I'm sure I benefited more from their critiques than they did from mine.

I don't know how well this will work now that it's out, but you could request betas, and if you get an offer from a member whose qualifications don't match your criteria, simply respond by saying that you've met your quota - which wouldn't be a lie, because your quota for newbies is zero!

Cassiopeia
07-11-2008, 06:53 AM
Well, hmmm...I guess you could turn that around and ask how you would feel if someone, for example, such as myself with three times the posts you do said, "eh, not so much, I won't beta read for anyone with fewer posts than myself."

Just a thought ;)

MoonWriter
07-11-2008, 06:54 AM
snipped
(The best help I've ever received here came from newer members who happened along without any resume to speak of; they just offered advice, some of it life altering.)

Glad I could help, SK! :)

Matera the Mad
07-11-2008, 07:06 AM
It is rather arbitrary to judge by numbers of posts. I would be more interested in quality of posts and where, and the tone of the contact. I've learned not to be too eager to be helpful without checking out a little. I also know that those who are new to this Board may be well experienced and respected elsewhere.

So where do I fit in, with over 1600 posts in six months? :D

MoonWriter
07-11-2008, 07:09 AM
It is rather arbitrary to judge by numbers of posts. I would be more interested in quality of posts and where, and the tone of the contact. I've learned not to be too eager to be helpful without checking out a little. I also know that those who are new to this Board may be well experienced and respected elsewhere.

So where do I fit in, with over 1600 posts in six months? :D

At the very top!

Silver King
07-11-2008, 07:14 AM
Glad I could help, SK! :)
Now I can finally acknowledge your help. Thank you. :Thumbs:

Matera the Mad
07-11-2008, 08:16 AM
Nothin' fishy about that.



As for me . . . too much time to waste posting, that's all :tongue

willfulone
07-11-2008, 10:22 AM
I was thinking about posting and asking to swap beta reading with another novelist. But....

I am a jerk, I guess, but I don't want to beta for people who just showed up here on AW. I would rather beta for an AW regular. If somebody responds to my post and they've got 10 posts, I'd say no. Maybe even to someone who has a hundred posts if they have joined recently. I think someone who has been an AW member for at least a year and had made 500 or 1000 posts or more has maybe more of an idea of what writing is about.

Are my assumptions wrong? Am I full of crap? Would I be an a-hole to post for a beta and say I want someone who has been around AW at least a year and has a least a 1000 posts?

There is nothing wrong in wanting what you want. It just may be that you want to caution how you state what you want so that you do not offend.

I say this only because someone may remember the way you stated they were not worthy of your book for reading based on some numbers (not their qualifications). Later, when they meet your requirements, they may reject you. And, that may be the person you most want to respond based on what you have seen them do with/for others here.

It is always good to remember, that people come to this site with all sort of experience and insight (regardless of post count or length of time joined). They may have just stumbled on this site after years of experience writing, editing, publishing. But, for one reason or another, they never had enough free time to devote to joining a site and offering their free assistance. Is that really someone you want to reject for a number? Maybe, but maybe not. Really, if the Ask an Agent on site here (with less than 1000 posts) offered to beta read, would you reject his offer? I doubt it.

You may want to consider reviewing posts (as someone suggested above) to find out about a member, rather than summarily dismissing based on numbers.

Whatever you do - good luck!

Christine

SpookyWriter
07-11-2008, 12:54 PM
Would I be an a-hole to post for a beta and say I want someone who has been around AW at least a year and has a least a 1000 posts?I don't know if post count is a good indicator because I can think of a few people who rarely venture outside of SYW who I would consider top notch beta potential. One such person is Flapdoodle who has a mere 677 posts, but is one of the premiere readers in my opinion.

JimmyB27
07-11-2008, 01:24 PM
I was thinking about posting and asking to swap beta reading with another novelist. But....

I am a jerk, I guess, but I don't want to beta for people who just showed up here on AW. I would rather beta for an AW regular. If somebody responds to my post and they've got 10 posts, I'd say no. Maybe even to someone who has a hundred posts if they have joined recently. I think someone who has been an AW member for at least a year and had made 500 or 1000 posts or more has maybe more of an idea of what writing is about.

Are my assumptions wrong? Am I full of crap? Would I be an a-hole to post for a beta and say I want someone who has been around AW at least a year and has a least a 1000 posts?
Your book, your choice. If you don't want them as a beta, then you don't want them. It's totally your call, and if this is how you feel about it, then that's the way it is.

However.

Maybe you could PM anyone who responds, talk to them a bit - maybe explain your concerns. If they come back and say 'I've been published here, here, here and here...' then maybe you can rethink your requirements. If they come back and say 'I haz teh mad critin skilz', then maybe you were right all along. ;)

heyjude
07-11-2008, 03:47 PM
If it's someone you're unsure of, why not ask them to do a chapter or a couple pages as a test? I do this for people--one chapter, and then if it's a good fit we'll do more.

If you don't like what you see, just say "Thanks, you've given me stuff to think about for the rest of the ms" and leave it at that.

JimmyB27
07-11-2008, 03:58 PM
If it's someone you're unsure of, why not ask them to do a chapter or a couple pages as a test? I do this for people--one chapter, and then if it's a good fit we'll do more.

If you don't like what you see, just say "Thanks, you've given me stuff to think about for the rest of the ms" and leave it at that.
You should have PMed this one. Now anyone who crits Prawn and gets this answer will know that he really means 'you're a rubbish critter.' ;)

Prawn
07-11-2008, 04:59 PM
Thanks for everyone's comments.

I completely agree that post count or time as a member may not be an accurate reflection of someone's quality as a writer, but until I commit to reading someone's book, how else am I to judge their skill as a writer?


I guess you could turn that around and ask how you would feel if someone, for example, such as myself with three times the posts you do said, "eh, not so much, I won't beta read for anyone with fewer posts than myself."


Good point. In a perfect world I would have Stephen King looking thru my ms and then introducing me to his agent. I am looking for someone with experience equal to (or perhaps greater than) mine. I am confident enough about my writing to say that I have found all the obvious problems and at this point another experienced writer is likely is more likely to help me out than a noob.

Maybe I need to be clearer in my post for a beta. The novel I need beta'd does not just need another set of eyes on it. I have had it beta'd by a half dozen friends, and then I revised it. But having a friend read it is not the same as having another writer look at it. I can't ask a friend about things like metaphor and theme and dialogue and charcter arc.

That is why I am looking for an experienced writer, preferably one who has written a few novels, to read it. I just hope I am able to do this in a tactful way without ending up looking like a total a-hole.

P

Perle_Rare
07-11-2008, 05:54 PM
Prawn,

Rather than finding reasons to discount potential beta readers such as too low a post count or too recently joined, why don't you simply state your ideal beta reader criteria exactly as you just did?

This way, it's like a job posting. I know I'm not qualified so I won't apply. But someone who knows they are qualified (regardless of number of posts, etc.) can tell you outright why they believe they're qualified and why they would like to help you out.

No ruffled feelings. No misunderstandings. And you haven't arbitrarily eliminated a slice of the population that could actually contain the exact person you're actually looking for.

Perle, who's more of an introverted lurker than an avid poster.

Toothpaste
07-11-2008, 06:12 PM
I think Perle has a great suggestion.

Here's the thing, while "knowing" someone on AW can certainly be a plus - you can trust them more, you have got to learn their quirks - there is nothing that states number of posts equals ability and success as a writer.

When I first came to AW I already had an agent and a publisher and was sold around the world. I'm not saying that having all that makes me a better writer than someone who hasn't (as we all know, that is SO not true), but it does suggest that there was something in my work that people liked. It also suggests I understand a bit about the industry etc. Even beyond that I have taken a lot of writing classes, am the daughter of two english teachers, have the teaching gene myself, and am pretty good at critiquing the works of others for all of those reasons. But because I was new to the board, would that have meant you wouldn't be interested in me as a beta?

Sure people are offering you their time, doing a favour for you, but you need to get the responses you are looking for. So ask for a resume as well. It isn't insulting to do that. Explain as Perle said what you are looking for. And then when someone offers himself as a beta, do a google search. You are within your rights to make sure you are compatible. But don't judge a poster on their number, shall we say.

MoonWriter
07-11-2008, 06:14 PM
Prawn - you might consider that the newest of AW members may be more qualified than friends who are not into writing. One of my best two critiques came from HeidiHole, and she only had about 8 posts at the time she read it.