Betas. They’re tricky to catch. Quick little buggers. They’re there and gone again in a flash, slipping between your fingers.
Sure, the first time you catch them it’s easy. They even seem eager for it. But when you have to catch them again? Oh, hell no. They’re on to you by then.
By now you’re probably wondering why the fuck I’m fishing for betas. Well, I’m not talking about actual fish betas. I’m talking about beta readers. Them things are hard to find, and it’s even worse after you’ve caught them the first time. Then they’ve got you figured out, and there is no end to the lengths they’ll go to avoid or distract you when it comes to requesting feedback on what they have–or maybe haven’t?–read.
There are a few people I’ve sent book 1 out to, maybe 4 or 5, and I’ve heard back from one. One person who has read it all the way through and gotten back to me in a reasonable time frame. 20% turnaround. Maybe 25. It sucks.
How am I supposed to know what Joe Reader might like or not like about the book? I’m not exactly objective. I might think it’s the most clever thing ever written, and until I hear back from third party eyes I might go on thinking that indefinitely.
Not that I think it’s the most clever thing ever written. In fact, I think a lot of it could use a lot of work. But where to start? Well, a critique would be nice. Something that clues me in to the weakest points so I can have a building block to start from. Like, okay, Plot Point A sucks, but if you tie X in with it or scrap it in favor of Plot Point B then it works.
I don’t even know what A and B are at this point.
Not hearing back from betas sucks, and it’s even worse when they go radio silent and you can’t even ask them if they’ve read anything.
Remind me to be a better beta next time I’m test-reading something for someone.