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View Full Version : Doing a beta read - and no response!



Sargentodiaz
09-17-2010, 10:03 PM
Someone ask you to review their work - and you do. You try very hard to give them an honest, helpful critique.
AND THEY DON'T EVEN BOTHER TO ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR EFFORT!

Makes you want to not do it anymore!!!!! :tongue

ether
09-17-2010, 10:14 PM
Is it better or worse than having them bite your head off for the crit you offered? I ask because this happened on another forum to me yesterday. :(

I'd suggest not beta'ing for that person anymore if they can't give you the twenty seconds for a 'thank you.'

Maryn
09-17-2010, 10:15 PM
Let me guess. This was not a person who you'd seen around AW for months and months, who you knew slightly from his/her posts on the genre's or general writing boards, who you still see around, right?

I consider it horrifically bad manners not to acknowledge the level of effort that goes into a critique or a beta read, even if I disagree with it strongly, but it happens. This atrocity can usually be chalked up to hurt feelings because the beta didn't consider the work perfect in every possible way, or to someone who's here only to suck out all the benefit they can without giving back one damned thing.

I won't critique or beta for strangers. Burned too many times.

Maryn, working her way up to curmudgeon

dpaterso
09-17-2010, 10:47 PM
Bad luck, lvcabbie.

Mind you, you're talking about just one individual -- not everyone who's hoping to find a beta reader.

And who knows what happened in real life that might have held up their response and/or grateful acknowledgment of your efforts?

But yeah, there's an element of stranger danger when it comes to crits and betas. Choose wisely, use the Force, etc.

-Derek

CheyElizabeth
09-17-2010, 10:47 PM
I once beta'd and didn't get an immediate thank you. But then, months later when I had totally forgotten it, I got a huge thank you email, telling me that they'd had a lot of life stuff happen and they never got back to writing until that moment, at which point they read my comments and found them very valuable.

So maybe you haven't waited long enough?

thothguard51
09-17-2010, 11:04 PM
Maryn,

Love the new look. If you need, I will chisel your hair back in place...

leahzero
09-18-2010, 12:13 AM
Did you start small? Trade a chapter with each other and see if it clicks, etc.?

The lack of response could be for all sorts of reasons.

AyJay
09-18-2010, 07:33 AM
lvcabbie - I had a similar experience, well two similar experiences actually, but one really great experience on the beta reader end. It sucks not getting recognition for the work you put in. But this happens in face-to-face critique relationships as well so I wouldn't give up on beta reading here or other on-line forums.

KasonndraLeigh
09-18-2010, 09:57 PM
Just to help you feel better about Betas, I have found four very helpful betas since joining. I'm returning their reads for them after taking this break. I saw this thread and wanted to respond. I feel very fortunate to have found these readers. They've already helped my work tremendously!

Kay
:)

stephenf
09-18-2010, 10:22 PM
Someone ask you to review their work - and you do. You try very hard to give them an honest, helpful critique.
AND THEY DON'T EVEN BOTHER TO ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR EFFORT!

Makes you want to not do it anymore!!!!! :tongue

Unfortunately, it's not a uncommon response.There are lots of reasons, but the main one is a lack of sensitivity of other people. Or to put it another way, bloody rude.It is useful to read and critique other peoples work ,even if it only helps to develop a thick skin.

Sargentodiaz
09-18-2010, 11:18 PM
Bad luck, lvcabbie.

Mind you, you're talking about just one individual -- not everyone who's hoping to find a beta reader.

And who knows what happened in real life that might have held up their response and/or grateful acknowledgment of your efforts?

But yeah, there's an element of stranger danger when it comes to crits and betas. Choose wisely, use the Force, etc.

-Derek

It was actually more than one on here!
And yes, they're not regular posters.

Mr Flibble
09-18-2010, 11:44 PM
I had a beta reader who thought I wasn't talking to them because they didn't receive my 'Wow, harsh but fair, cheers very much, especially about points X, Y, Z. This will help loads. You've been a doll' e-mail. They tentatively mailed me a while later, asking if I was still speaking to them. Maybe you just never got the mail. It happens.

Karen Junker
09-18-2010, 11:51 PM
I've done a lot of crits and beta reading for folks on here. Most of them never respond after they get their first chapter back with my comments.

What I've discovered over the years is that a lot of writers just want to be validated. When they receive any crit that doesn't simply tell them how awesome they are, they are hurt.

But I swear, if I read one more opening dream sequence, waking up from the nightmare, staring into the mirror so the MC can describe her/himself to the reader, I think I will puke.

Maryn
09-19-2010, 01:17 AM
I will hold your hair out of the way if you'll do the same for me.

Maryn, good neighbor

Rowan
09-19-2010, 01:32 AM
It's happened to me too, lvcabbie. Thankfully I've had enough positive experiences to offset the negative. It's just plain rude not to acknowledge a critique, even if it's just to say "thanks, I'll take it from here" should you feel the input isn't helpful, etc. Not sure why that's so difficult?!?!?

FOTSGreg
09-19-2010, 02:25 AM
There are many reasons why a beta reader sometimes cannot complete or critique a work. Most often, in my experience, it stems from the beta's real life which can be a real bitch sometimes.

However, there are times when a beta simply chooses not to respond with a critique because,

1) They suddenly realize what it is they've gotten themselves into and how much time it's going to take,
2) They read the work and realize they simply don't have the heart to tell the author how bad the work really is,
3) The author sends them a work that simply is not the beta's "cup of tea" or seriously misrepresented the work as something it was not (romance masquerading as fantasy or SF, romance masquerading as horror, fantasy masquerading as SF, etc., etc.),

I've experienced all of these BTW and there are times when, despite the fact I can usually tell someone straight out what the problem with their work in SYW is (to me) in a brutally straightforward fashion, there are times when I simply cannot do this to someone behind the scenes one-on-one.

Sorry...

Chase
09-19-2010, 02:34 AM
Sorry for your bad experience, Vegas cab-driver. I just completed my first beta-read (where it's not a trade of chapters) of a short story. The writing was better than good and the writer more than grateful. I might do it again after another three years go by.

Or not, after the puke warnings. I see Karen's hair is tied tastefully back to avoid damage from purgings. Ugh! Looks like barf has solidified Maryn's locks.

I've never had hair long enough to puke on, but my mustache sure catches the bigger chunks. Next time, I'll look in the mirror and describe 'em for Karen.

Karen Junker
09-19-2010, 03:13 AM
You are too kind!

Captcha
09-20-2010, 12:21 PM
You could do one of those 'I haven't heard from you so I just wanted to double-check and be sure you received my comments,' e-mails. It's pretty passive-aggressive if you're actually sure the comments WERE received, but with wonky e-mail addresses, spam filters, etc., there are lots of possible obstructions to clear communication...

KasonndraLeigh
09-21-2010, 05:14 PM
I've done a lot of crits and beta reading for folks on here. Most of them never respond after they get their first chapter back with my comments.

What I've discovered over the years is that a lot of writers just want to be validated. When they receive any crit that doesn't simply tell them how awesome they are, they are hurt.

But I swear, if I read one more opening dream sequence, waking up from the nightmare, staring into the mirror so the MC can describe her/himself to the reader, I think I will puke.


Funny you mentioned these things. Any agent's blog, writing book, or anything designed to keep us from losing valuable writer's credibility tells us to stay away from those very things. BUT I've even seen some very popular best sellers start with these no nos too. Hmm.

elindsen
09-22-2010, 07:50 AM
I had a beta that I thought was perfect. My novel could be considered paranormal romance and her's was cat romance. We exchanged first chapters and promised to have them done in 2 days. Our chapter lengths were about the same (about 2,300words) and I talked to the beta extensively before sending chapters. We are about the same age, both married, love the same movies and TV shows. I told her my novel was along the lines of Dawn of the Dead. She said she loved that movie. All engines were go.

2 days later I sent her the critted first chapter. Have never heard back from her. I think the problem came in where he MC's mom was hospitalized for suicide. She wrote "commited" and I explained, in about a paragraph, why commited in the wrong terminology. I have been hospitalized in the psych ward and how she presented it was offensive, especially since the love story starts between MC and psych doc. She wrote the doc saying the mom wasn't crazy, but permanetly sick. We, with mental disorders, are the same as people with diabetes, or cancer. We HAVE an illness, not we ARE an illness, which she wrote.

I have her on my yahoo messenger and since I sent her the chapter she has never said two words to me. I emailed her about mine and she said it wasn't recived, and send it again. I sent it three times, but no response.

Sometimes you think you know a beta and think they are perfect for your work. That's not always the case. The beta I have now is awesome. He writes military, so nothing like mine, but really enjoys it, or at least he tells me he does.

Good luck finding a good beta. But as a word of caution, only send one chapter at a time until you know for sure if all is well. Only accept one chapter the same. Keep track of every message and email send just in case. You first and formost have to protect your work.