View Full Version : general question about beta reading/expectations

06-12-2010, 07:32 AM
i'm fairly new to the beta/crit thing, and i have a question (i didn't want to post this in the beta forum, since it's mostly for requests, and this is more of a discussion topic)

when someone offers/asks to be a beta reader, and you send off chapters, do you expect to hear back from them one way or another? i mean, i've send off a few chapters to people who have asked (asked independent of any request from me, ftr) and i find myself wondering what's up if i don't hear anything back after several weeks. not even acknowledgment that it was received.

i have no illusions that i'm entitled to any crit, even if someone asks me if they can read my work. but the complete lack of response, i have to admit, is a little disconcerting.

if someone starts to read my work and they don't like it, i have no problem with them telling me so (in fact, it would be good to know, because if i have ten people who all can't make it through the first five chapters, that's a problem i should deal with, right?). if someone hasn't responded at all after several weeks, would you ever email them to check, or would you just let it go?

of course, people get busy, and that's understandable. but my (active) betas, when they get busy, let me know that they're busy, and that's comforting, you know? and if i get hung up when beta-ing for someone else, i'll let them know, so they're not left wondering.

is there any sort of beta etiquette regarding this kind of thing? am i expecting too much?

Chris P
06-12-2010, 07:56 AM
Boy, do I hear you! My novel has had -- what? six betas, I think, aside from my wife and my parents. The first four vanished off the face of the earth, including the one I found here and who I critted his first chapter. Did I piss them off THAT bad? :) The fifth is the only one who has kept in touch with me, but he's reading it to read it rather than provide crits. The sixth just got the first two chapters a couple days ago, so the jury's out.

Finding a good beta is refreshing. When you find one try to hold on (*wink* Thanks for your help on the short story)

Chris P
06-12-2010, 08:13 AM
Rather than simply moaning about this, I'll try to provide some helpful hints. I think you will overall have better luck by looking for other writers, such as here in the beta request forum (although this is no guarantee) than through friends or elsewhere. People interested in the genre or subject matter are another good bet. The beta who's sticking with the novel is interested in the subject, and I know him personally. There are no writer's groups that I could find closer than an hour's drive, but a lot of people have good experiences with them. My best beta experience so far was a short story swap with someone I knew nothing about and hasn't been here long. So sometimes a shot in the dark pays off.

06-12-2010, 08:36 AM
(*wink* Thanks for your help on the short story)
you're more than welcome.

(i still don't have a dang ending...)

i have found almost all of my betas through here, even one who lives in the same city as me. it's been a great resource. i guess you just have to take the good with the bad :)