How Does an Aspiring Author Find a Beta Reader or Critique Partner?
I am my own worst critic. We all know that a fresh brain and a fresh pair of eyes critiquing our manuscript will find errors that we overlooked. We are too close to our own work to objectively review it and give ourselves constructive criticism and productive advice. We can read another author's work and immediately find areas that are filled with information dump or that need more action or suspense. We just don't see it in our own work. We can't, we have far too much invested in it.
I have read so many blog post where one author raves about their beta reader or their critique partner and I love reading the post filled with gratitude from one writer to another for helping them on their long and rough journey toward publication.
I am constantly searching the Internet for writing tips, query tips and other useful advice. I am pretty sure that I am going to retain the services of a professional to review and edit my manuscript before I send it to an agent, and this is all assuming that my dreaded query letter even piques the interest of a literary agent and they request more of my manuscript. I have not thoroughly researched the cost of this service, but I am sure it is expensive. To me it is a cost I can justify.
To be honest, I am not even sure I know what a beta reader is? I have been able to deduce from the articles and post that I read, and I have a general idea. I know this much. I want one!
How Do You Find a Beta Reader? How Do You Find a Critique Partner?
Assuming you know where to look for a beta reader or a critique partner, then what? How do you choose one? Or better yet, how do they choose you? How do you find the right match? What assurances do you have that this person will read what you send them and actually critique it? What guarantees do you have that you will be compatible?
Too bad we cannot just go to an on-line data base and search through the ads. You know like a person does when they are looking to buy a home or a car. Data bases exist for everything else. We search data bases filled with pertinent information when looking for employees, housekeepers, dog walkers, babysitters and roommates. We can even access data basis, if we wanted to, to search for egg, sperm or embryo donors.
We can access a plethora of on-line data basis to find our significant other or spouse. If a data base can successfully match hundreds of thousands of happily ever after couples based on questionnaires designed to find that perfect compatible person out there who shares your unique likes, dislikes, interest, hobbies, morals, and lifelong goals, surely there could be a data base to match like minded writers to one another.
I did a basic Internet search and found someone else who is interested in creating just such a matching service Read her article here. Sarah E. Olsen.
I turned cartwheels in my living room until I read the first comment. It just happened to be from someone who had already attempted such to create a similar place. Crit Partner Match, was created by Kait Nolan. It was then that I realized just how much work, effort, computer skills, software skills and money it would take to create a successful data base designed to match readers and writers in an effective and successful "Critique Partner and Beta Reader Matching Service."
This is what Kait Nolan said it would take to develop a Critique Partner and Beta Reader Matching Service:
What’s needed is some kind of database set up that would allow writers to search based on those various parameters to narrow down the list–obviously without a programming degree, this isn’t something that would be easy or free to do.
What do you think? How hard would this be to generate? I would love to hear from those of you who have beta readers and or critique partners. How did you find them? Does anyone have a particularly good story to share? Any horror storied you want to share with us?