Perhaps I am confused or misread the suggestions. In the SYW it is suggested I thought, that you limit the post to 1000 words. My chapters are fairly short, and several of them including my first exceed the 1000 word limit for SYWI think that even with a finished, polished work, that someone seeking a beta reader should perhaps post the first chapter *somewhere* when they are seeking a beta reader.
I'd like to second the recommendation for posting work at the appropriate Share Your work board. While beginners can learn a great deal from the Advice for Newbies post, they'll learn more from feedback--and so do many of us who are not at all new to writing.
Besides valuable input about a particular chapter or story, I've found SYW a great place to identify potential beta readers. By cruising my genres' boards (not just my own posts' replies), I can determine who's in sync with me, who just doesn't seem to get it, whose advice is vague, who's got great suggestions for improvement, who's good on overview, who's the nitpicker to die for, and so on.
Depending on what I think my work most needs, that's the pool from which I hope I can draw betas. I PM a few. Even when someone has to refuse due to time constraints or other commitments, most are pleased to have been asked, especially when I tell them which of their critiques led to my request. Who doesn't like to hear his or her efforts praised?
In my own experience, this works a whole lot better than a writer who's never posted work (or posted much on any of the writing boards) seeking beta readers at that board. Few people are able to commit to beta-ing a whole novel without having seen enough of a person's writing to determine whether they're a good fit, you know?
Maryn, able to get betas
I've been reading through this thread to learn what other users think a "beta reader" is. I've written two novel length works, neither of them published, and now working on a third. I belonged to non-virtual writing groups when I was working on the earlier two projects. What I found was that writing groups were willing to give detailed feedback on individual chapters, but that it was really hard to recruit someone to read the whole thing. It was a little unnerving, because it made me think my chapters themselves were not engaging enough to recruit a reader. But an author of long-form fiction or nonfiction would also like to know if the whole thing holds together, if the story arc is well designed, if the character evolution is well done.
I don't have 50 posts yet, so I can't post in SYW, but I'm a little concerned I'll have the same issue. I'll receive good feedback on individual chapters, but no one to read the whole thing.